6 tips for the best online customer support

By Anneke Steenkamp

Published April 8, 2014
Last updated April 8, 2014

Efficient and effective online customer support is crucial to engaging prospective customers. Customers become loyal to a brand when their needs are consistently met, they’re guided in the right direction, and they perceive a good client to brand relationship. By adjusting the way your online customer support system is run, you can impact the overall success of your business.

1. Ensure consistent support
When you introduce another support channel you must ensure your brand has a consistent voice on every platform.

As a company, your support team should give the same answers and advice on every platform. Your online customer support team should have ample product/service knowledge and be taught how to diagnose and solve problems with ease. The customer should feel as though they are talking to the same person, even if the issue switches from one agent to another. They should and not be fed different information that might lead to more customer relation issues.

2. Time is of the essence
The most important feature of online customer support is that it gives the customer instant access to the support team. Don’t disappoint by not having someone informative and helpful on duty.The entire goal of live chat as a part of the customer support initiative is to allow the customer direct contact with the support team. In essence these queries are more pressing than those communicated via email and should therefore be addressed first.

You could always improve your response and overall chat performance by tracking live chat analytics or hiring more agents. Alternatively, you could create specific operating hours for when your agents will be available to speak to customers.

3. Be security conscious
Always explain to those engaging in correspondence that the live chat option isn’t a platform where security sensitive information should be shared. Give the customer the chance to share this information via telephone or a secured web form.

Alert them that they shouldn’t share personal information, account details, or even credit card numbers. Not only will it prevent their personal information from leaking, this will also show your customers that your agent can be trusted.

4. Don’t force the conversation
If you are using a call-to-action button or a trigger to start a chat, your client will be aware of the offered assistance. It usually helps to alert the visitor that you are available and ready to assist, should they need any help. But pushing the conversation instead of letting it develop organically could scare away the potential customer. The visitor should have the option to accept or decline the chat conversation.

5. Avoid jargon
When your agents communicate with a customer, they shouldn’t rely on jargon or technical terms. Educate your agents on how to communicate clearly with easy to understand phrases. Should a large chunk of information be shared, the agent should break it down into smaller sections.

Your agent should also constantly check whether the customer is grasping the concepts and being assisted in the most beneficial manner.

6. Equip your team with training and tools
It’s important to keep your customer service team educated and motivated. They should undergo regular training and be provided with tools to aid them in their service. For busy customer service channels it is advisable to have a ticketing system in place that allows your agent to organize and prioritize their replies.

The agent’s tone and attitude are also important. It takes more effort to come across friendly and helpful through live chat than over a telephone conversations.

These are just a few tips for efficient and effective online customer support service. If you’d like to learn more about making your live chat communications successful check out our 3 tips for effective live chat.

Interested in Zendesk Chat for your business? Learn more about how live chat can create a personal connection with customers and increase the bottom line.