An open letter to live chat agents, from customers


Dear live chat agents,

Hi. It’s the customers that reach out to you when we need help.

We know that things can sometimes get a bit dicey, so we’re writing to you to explain what we’d like from you.

You see, when we contact live chat agents, we don’t want to be grumpy. We don’t want to have a bad experience just so we can complain about it.

We want to be pleasantly surprised with quick, easy to understand service that shows you care.

With that in mind, we’ve put together some insights into what we want, why we want it, and how live chat agents can meet our expectations.

We hope it helps.

First, don’t ditch the formalities

Maybe you care. Maybe you don’t. But if we’ve tried to connect via *live* chat, it’s because we want human support. And we want it now.

Not tomorrow, or the day after via email, and especially not following three hours of excruciating hold music on the telephone.

We get that things can get busy, because we’re busy too. So we’re sorry if we seem like an impatient bunch, we just want to get our support experience handled.

But efficiency really doesn’t trump manners or formalities. We both want to get the question answered, the problem fixed, the feedback given, but we also want to feel like your company cares about us.

After all – we’re making an effort by contacting the company’s live chat agents.

So, please show us a little effort too and say hello. If we give you our name, use it.

We promise it’s not wasting time, it’s showing us that you’re listening, and that you and your business have time for us.

Second, show you care

We care about the reason we’ve contacted you. No matter what the reason is, we’ve cared enough to get in touch.

So, we implore all live chat agents to please show that you care about it too. When you show you care, you help us trust you, and we get to see the humans behind the business.

So, once we’ve settled into the chat, please ditch the overused robotic responses. We don’t want to talk to a computer with the flexibility of an iron rod.

We’re here to chat with live chat agents. Real people that know how to respond to our messages and work around problems.

We don’t want to have our time wasted by a bored human that can’t even be bothered to type relevant replies. Obviously, the occasional canned response is fine – just don’t make them obvious to us.

Also, sometimes, we need you to fix a problem or answer a complex question, and sometimes we’re stressed about this. So please bear with us, live chat agents, and show us empathy. It doesn’t have to be much. Just let us know that you understand why we’re upset or stressed.

Please don’t tell us to ‘calm down’ – since when has that ever worked? Just reassure us that you’ll help us, and please, please apologise.

We know that the live chat agents we’re talking to aren’t to blame, but your apology comes from the business, and it shows you care.

Third, keep us in the loop

Include us in our support experience. If you need clarification, ask us. If you need to find out something for us, tell us.

We aren’t unreasonable, we will wait if we need to, but tell us why and keep us in the loop. We need to know you’re doing something to help us, because we value our time, and we want you to value our time, too.

Also, please remember that while some of us understand all the jargon relating to your product or service, not all of us do. Never assume what we know (or what we don’t).

Everyone understands things differently, and sometimes people forget things when they’re stressed or rushed.

So, we need you to be ready to explain a solution or answer in a different way, without making us feel stupid for not understanding everything from the off.

Finally, show gratitude and be open

Even if the rest of our conversation has gone great, please make sure that the ending of our chat is smooth too, by avoiding abrupt goodbyes or sign-offs.

When you suddenly end a chat with us, even if our problem has been solved, our question has been answered or our feedback has been received, it tells us that we were a nuisance to you – that you don’t want to talk to us anymore.

When our chat draws to a close, please check there’s nothing else we wanted to ask about. Doing so further demonstrates that you’re listening to us, and that’s what we want from any business we patronise.

After that, please be sure to thank us for getting in touch. We will have taken time out of our busy day to explain our issue to you, to give the business you represent the chance to fix any damaged perceptions we might have. This is time we could have spent complaining on social media, or shopping with a competitor.

Thanking us shows acknowledgement of this, and tells us that you’re open to feedback, to communication with us, and to chatting again, should the need arise.

So, thank you for supporting us, live chat agents. And thank you in advance for pleasantly surprising us with your great service skills when we next get in touch.

Kind regards,

Your chatting customers

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