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“Chat etiquette” for better digital customer service

Posted July 8, 2015

When it comes to training agents for chat, we think “etiquette” is a perfect word. It conveys a sense of politeness while describing the guidelines by which chat agents interact with customers.

In the real world, we all adhere to some sort of etiquette (or expected behavior) at some point during the day, whether it’s phone etiquette, office etiquette, or even dinner table etiquette.  So why not create a customer service etiquette too?

The clear benefits of chat etiquette

Etiquette makes interactions run more smoothly, reduces uneasiness and generally makes things more pleasant all around. But, since etiquette can change with each type of interaction, it’s important to define and train on exactly what your chat etiquette should look like.

For text-based conversations (e.g. email, chat or social media), the flow of information and mood are vital. In face-to-face communications, you have a host of non-verbal cues that help you gauge understanding, interest and overall receptiveness. For phone conversations, you are missing out on some of these but you still have inflection and pacing to help put context around spoken words. In the world of chat, you’re missing all of these elements.

This is where establishing chat etiquette can help to ensure that you’re not only communicating politely, but also that you’re responding in a fun and engaging way. Success can then be measured by post-chat surveys as well as quality audits on agent transcripts.

Top chat etiquette tips

Here are a few chat etiquette ideas to best serve your customers:

  1. Agent is polite and speaks positively about the company, products and competitors
  2. Agent offers empathy when appropriate
  3. Agent is energetic, engaged and upbeat with the customer
  4. If needed, agent asks permission to put customer on hold  (explains reason, sets time frame, thanks customer)
  5. If needed, agent asks permission to push URLs to the customer
  6. When transferring a chat, agent explains where chat will be transferred and why
  7. Agent responds to customer within 2 minutes of customer/agent last response
  8. Agent checks in with customer within 2 minutes if customer is unresponsive

Final word: be sure to establish a chat etiquette up front and then measure via transcripts. Your customers will thank you!

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