The most common live chat lies (and how to be more honest)

Have you ever been a victim of live chat lies? You’re in a live chat conversation online, and the customer service agent at the other end of the session is feeding you fibs.

Scripted half-truths, cliché phrases and fake enthusiasm all find their way into your chat session. You recognise the live chat lies for what they are right away: platitudes at best; plain untruths at worst. Knowing you’re being lied to scarcely makes for a great customer experience.

So, what are the most common live chat lies, and why do agents use them? We explore some all-too-familiar customer service insincerities and how to avoid them.

 

1.     “We value your business.”

This is a perhaps the most recognisable and generic of all live chat lies. At face value, ‘we value your business’ doesn’t seem like an offender. There’s no doubt that you recognise how important your customers are to business success, after all.

The problem is, it’s common to be disingenuous when using this phrase. ‘We value your business’ tends to be used after the company has demonstrated that the customer isn’t valued. (Either by causing them a problem, or being unable to come up with a suitable solution.)

Unfortunately, ‘We value your business’ is one of the common live chat lies parroted to placate the customer. It’s quite often a canned or robotic response with little thought put behind it.

The honest path around this is to show the customer that you care, instead of telling them. Actions speak louder than words, after all. So, drop the empty words and prove that the customer is valued with efficient, helpful service that solves their problem.

 

2.     “I’ll pass your comments onto our management team.”

The reason behind this making its way onto the live chat lies list is two-fold. First, you probably won’t be passing the comments of the customer onto management at all. You’re both busy people, and you might forget or choose not to.

Second, this phrase implies that the customer’s comments will elicit change. It suggests that management will hear the customer’s thoughts and do something about them in response. Let’s face it, this is unlikely.

This is another of the live chat lies that are spouted off to placate the customer and get rid of them. Using this phrase is a way to promise that someone is going to do something about their concerns, instead of fixing them yourself. Live chat lies like this one don’t fool anyone. A customer told that you’ll ‘pass their comments on’ is a customer that has had the door shut in their face.

Much of the time, customers just want to be heard. So, pay attention to the compliments and the concerns from customers, and address them yourself where needed.

 

3.     “Please wait a minute while I find that out for you.”

How often does your investigation into an issue or solution only take a minute? When you say this to a customer, you set an unrealistic expectation. When this expectation isn’t met, customer satisfaction takes a hit.

This phrase is usually used to keep the customer engaged and happy. No one likes to be kept waiting, after all, and you want to offer great, speedy service. Live chat lies like this are born of wishful thinking and a drive to keep customers happy.

There are two steps you can take to avoid this strain of live chat lies.

First, you can use live chat features to help you reduce the time it takes to gather needed information. Such features might include internal chat and whisper messages, for example. These allow you to ask your team members for help while you’re chatting with the customer. CRM integration is another handy tool, as it makes it easy to access important customer data. Chat transfers could also be useful, allowing you to transfer difficult chats to an agent with the needed expertise.

Second, be as honest as you can about how long something will take. Customers value their time, but they aren’t unreasonable. So, keep customers in the loop, and show that you are fixing their problem. If you do that, they’re unlikely to mind granting you the extra two minutes that you need.

 

4.     “I’m sorry, but…”

Not to get this confused – ‘I’m sorry’ can be completely sincere. Once you add ‘but’, it’s a different story. The statement becomes another of the common live chat lies that we habitually fall back on. ‘I’m sorry’ is an acceptance of responsibility. ‘I’m sorry, but…’, is not accepting responsibility, it’s a rationalisation that places blame on the customer.

‘I’m sorry, but’ tends to appear when customers are upset or angry. Agents know that they should apologise to appease the customer, but also want to defend the company or themselves.

The fix for this is simple: never follow ‘I’m sorry’ with ‘but’. Instead, use empathy statements to help keep chatting customers calm. When apologising, follow it up with a validation, ‘I’d feel that way too’, and either a solution or signal that you’ll help them find a solution, ‘I’ll do my best to get this solved for you today.’

Leave the blame behind and apologise sincerely. You aren’t accepting fault, you’re expressing empathy and understanding.

 

Ditch the live chat lies

Live chat lies are an easy way out of difficult customer service situations. While they’re almost never told with malicious intent, customers usually see right through them. Inevitably, this damages the customer experience.

So, ditch the live chat lies. Instead, follow the honest route and create a more open, transparent customer service interaction. Your customers value sincerity over a silver tongue.

 

Useful links

Beware the robotic response

3 simple steps to boost live chat customer satisfaction

A customer service Bill of Rights