Improving CX with canned response markdown

Canned responses are a double-edged sword when it comes to live chat conversations.

On the plus side, sending a canned response gives the chatting customer a timely, accurate, and efficient answer to their query.

But their scripted nature can also make canned responses feel robotic. And for complex queries, they often present a long wall of text that can be difficult for the customer to digest.

Enter canned response markdown.


What is markdown?

Markdown allows you to add formatting elements to plain text. It’s a syntax supported by a host of different systems and sites that allows you to style text. And, in doing so, you make that text more readable.

You’re likely familiar with some markdown basics even if you didn’t realise you were using it. For example, every time you surround a word by two * symbols either side to make it bold (**bold**), you’re using markdown.

Aside from things like bold and italics, you can also use markdown to add headers, lists, inline HTML, and so on. So, your content is transformed from plain text to legible, formatted content that makes for easier reading.


Using canned response markdown

Back to your live chat canned responses. Enterprise live chat systems – such as WhosOn – should support canned response markdown.

This means that as you create your canned responses, you can also ensure that they are reader-friendly.

Let’s say, for example, you’re putting together an instructional canned response on how to set up a new user account. Without markdown, that’s going to be a long, solid block of information that will likely be difficult to take in.

With canned response markdown, however, you can style those instructions as you’d style a web post.

Rather than a wedge of text, then, you can add numbered lists. To break content into bite-size sections, you can add headings and subheadings. You can improve layout with line breaks. You can emphasise the text you need to via bold and italics.  Not forgetting adding any useful links, images, or code.

In short, canned response markdown is an easy way to make your scripted answers more absorbable and accessible.


Live chat legibility

Legibility isn’t often considered when it comes to live chat conversations. But it should be. The easier your messages are to read, the better the chat experience for the customer.

Live chat can present inherent reading issues due to the size and fixed position of the window. For customers with poor vision, it may already be more difficult to read a live chat message than, say, an email. (In which they can zoom in on text.)

Add to this the fact that live chat messages are typically plain text only, and you can see why chat might cause readability issues for some users.

Markdown is an effective way to address this issue – particularly across your routine and often lengthy canned responses.


Improving the customer experience

Many companies don’t pay much attention to the visual layout of canned responses. But chat readability considerations make a massive difference on the success of online communication.

Canned response markdown – and even using markdown as you type out your operator messages – is a quick-win when it comes to improving live chat CX.

You make your messages easier to scan, easier to digest, and easier for customers to act on. Using markdown can only up your customer conversation marks.


Useful links

How to improve live chat usability: a quick-start guide

Beware the robotic response

The dos and don’ts of canned responses