A live chat session: the perfect place to calm a storm in a teacup

We’ve all been frustrated by poor experiences with a brand. Whether the brand has lost your order, messed up your service or communicated poorly, we all know what it’s like to be that irritated customer at the end of an inefficient encounter. Unfortunately, that irritation often heats into anger.

This is the point where quick, quality customer service becomes imperative to minimise damage to the brand. If you act too slowly, you allow the customer to brew up a storm in a teacup. The head of steam they build can blister both your agents and your online reputation.

But, if you succeed in placating the customer and taking the right steps right away, you can calm that storm in a teacup and avoid a public scalding for your company. And the perfect place to do that is within a live chat session.

 

Handle with care

When you’re upset, it’s easy to see red and lash out. It’s harder to sit patiently and wait for email replies, to remain calm through a phone call or to let go of a problem that would normally seem trivial.

In these situations, customers demand immediate gratification. This instant alleviation can come in one of two forms:

  •      1. Venting about the issue publicly on social media, websites and forums
  •      2. Getting quick customer service that solves the problem and calms the storm

For brands to achieve the latter scenario, they need to use the right communication channel.

 

Social storms

When a customer is upset, the worst possible scenario sees them posting about their poor experience on social media. Regardless of how minor the complaint, annoyed customers can take to their social channels and stir up a hot barrage of slurs against your brand. Once live and immortalised online, this type of public assault can seriously damage your brand reputation.

The power of social media is its ability to share a message faster than almost any other medium. If, for instance, the annoyed customer has multiple followers, you could soon see the story of a bad customer experience spread far and wide in a mere matter of hours. The customer has the time and the platform to vent, and can post a flurry of messages before you’re even aware of the issue.

This can easily put off new potential customers, as well as repel current customers. So, social media is not the channel to tackle a storm in a teacup. Don’t you wish the customer would hack out their keyboard rage in a private live chat session, instead?

 

Email exasperation

Social media is a catalyst for angry customers.  The natural inclination for brands, then, is to fall back on the trusty old email for complaint management. After all, the repercussions of customers posting their issues in the public eye highlights the importance of a private space to handle escalated situations. Email is discreet, it’s good for providing privacy, and it’s a time-tested communication channel.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it works well for those storm in a teacup scenarios. Unfortunately, the formality of email makes it difficult for customers to vent their frustrations effectively. You can’t post a series of enraged emojis, for example, or use a GIF to demonstrate your anger.

Then there’s the fact that angry customers need to have their issues addressed quickly. Email is far too slow to suit this need. When you’re upset or stressed, you aren’t patient enough to wait for an email response, particularly as emails provide little certainty that someone will see the message on the other end.

Plus, email requires a high level of effort from the customer, and very little from the company. Customers must find the right email address, type out an essay on their cause of concern, proof-read it, hit send, and keep checking every two minutes for a response. This is effort that stressed and angry customers will not be willing to give.

Customers want your company to care when they’ve been left upset or displeased with your services and products. The slow responses of email don’t portray an attentive support system or any kind of care from the company. So, email might be private, but it’s far too slow to help the customers that are rapidly coming to a head of steam. They need a real-time solution, like a call or a live chat session.

 

Telephone trauma

Phone call support is more suitable than emails for those customers seeing red. As well as being a private space, customers can get the answers they need in real time, and know that someone is on the other end listening.

With the telephone, though, you have to take extra care not to aggravate the customer’s mood. Upset customers can find their frustration growing when they wade through IVR queues, sit through awkward transfers and re-explain their problem to different people. Plus, getting phone support is often disruptive to a busy day, causing customer inconvenience.

All this building frustration can come to a head when the stressed customer finally reaches a human agent. Emotions can easily get the better of anyone seeing red, and this can evolve into verbal shouting. This is unpleasant for everyone involved – agents and customer alike – and doesn’t help the customer with their issue. At best, they’re left stressed and upset with the way they’ve been made to feel by your company, even after the issue is resolved.

Finally, it can be difficult for the support agent to get help from a colleague with a tricky issue in a phone scenario, drawing the entire experience out longer for the already inconvenienced customer. This leaves one other real-time option: a live chat session.

 

The live chat session

When customers are brewing a storm in a teacup, they need immediate, efficient support in a private space. It’s this need for immediacy and efficiency that makes a live chat session the best possible option. A live chat session offers all the benefits of other channels, without any of the drawbacks.

The privacy of a chat window provides customers with a place to unleash frustration quickly and discreetly. They get real-time help instantly, from the person best-placed to handle the issue. They don’t have to endure frustrating phone trees or wonder if their message has been seen or not. If they do need to be transferred, this can be done seamlessly, without the need for the customer to repeat anything to agents.

Plus, a live chat session allows your support team to not only help each other, but also receive extra support to nip the problem in the bud. For example, features such as typing preview help the agent take pre-emptive action, and canned responses help them send large explanations quickly. Then there are customer service boons like sentiment analysis, language translation, CRM integration and ‘whisper’ messages from coaching supervisors.

All this means that the upset customer receives efficient, timely support with a personal touch that shows the company cares. This strong support experience will resolve the immediate issue, and encourage the customer to stay with you in the future. In short, that live chat session enables speed and competence that dissolves the storm in a teacup.

 

The better the experience…

Customers will always be tempted to badmouth your company after suffering a poor experience. But by ensuring swift follow-up support in private, real-time channels, you reduce the risk of lasting damage to your brand reputation.

When a customer is upset, a good experience comes from instant support and instant gratification – something that’s easier to provide discreetly by using a live chat session.

A live chat channel can reduce the dangers that angry, emotional customers pose. So why not try live chat software yourself, with a free trial of WhosOn.

 

Useful links

WhosOn 30-day free trial

Telephone decline: the battle between calls and chat

Accessible customer service: is your business open?