Live chat risks and how to mitigate them

There isn’t a customer service channel out there that doesn’t come with its share of risks. Social media is out in the public, phone calls risk irritating customers, and emails can feel unresponsive.

Live chat software is no different. But, for every one of the live chat risks, there’s a feature, tool or best practice ready to help you mitigate the threat.

Here, we’ve cracked open the files on live chat risks, and what you can do to neutralise them.

Risk: not living up to the ‘live’ promise

Offering live chat means offering ‘live’ support. That means providing answers and conversation in real-time. One of the live chat risks, then, is disappointing your online visitors by failing to live up to this promise of instant gratification.

Falling foul of this risk has two main causes. These are ineffective live chat queue management and forgetting to turn off your chat when your team are unavailable.  

Mitigated by…

There are many handy tools to help you mitigate this live chat risk. For a start, make sure that you have an offline message or protocol set. After all, there’s no point advertising your channel if no agents are available to talk.

Other tools to mitigate this risk include canned responses and live chat routing. Routing ensures that the customer reaches the best agent to handle the issue right away. Canned responses, meanwhile, speed up the chat process, to keep the conversation flowing swiftly.

Risk: losing the human touch online

Chat is non-verbal and non-visual. You can’t rely on vocal cues or body language to convey meaning, and you’re communicating through the wall of a screen. So, this makes losing the human touch one of the biggest live chat risks.

Overuse of canned responses or an overreliance on chatbots can lead to falling foul of this live chat risk.

Mitigated by…

You can mitigate this risk by using CRM integration to personalise the chat experience. For instance, you could use the CRM data pulled into the chat to refer to the customer’s last purchase, or show knowledge of their service history. This way, the customer feels recognised and valuable — and isn’t forced to repeat themselves.

Empathy statements are also powerful. By demonstrating that you empathise with the customer, you show that you’re human. (Robots aren’t capable of emotion, after all.) Agent avatars are also a great added touch — they give customers a face to put to the service they receive.

Risk: less security and privacy

Live chat presents another window to your customer’s data. As such, another of the live chat risks is failing to protect that data.

This risk is caused (in part) by heightened cybercrime rates. It’s further punctuated by a raised awareness of online security. Poor data handling processes on behalf of the live chat provider can increase the live chat risks to security.

Mitigated by…

Having on-premises options for your live chat channel is one great way to increase the security of your chat channel. This is because it allows you to ensure that your channel is subject to your organisation’s cybersecurity practices.

Be sure to vet your live chat vendor and review their data policies and security offering. It’s important you know where your customer data goes, and how much the third-party vendor is responsible for.

Risk: struggling with real-time answers

Sometimes, customers come with tricky questions or technical problems. With email, agents have time to work out the answer or ask for help before they reply. But with live chat, there’s much less thinking time.

The real-time nature of chat is the cause for the last of the live chat risks, then.

Mitigated by…

Live chat comes with a host of tools that help you get answers to tricky questions quickly. For instance, internal chat and agent tagging allow agents to ask each other for help. Without, that is, disrupting the flow of the chat session for the customer. Whisper messages also mean that supervisors can ‘whisper’ answers to agents as the session unfolds.

And, if all that isn’t enough, ticketing allows agents to follow up a chat session once they’ve found the answer.

There’s always an answer

For every one of the live chat risks, there’s a host of features, tools and best practice guidelines to help you side-step them.

As a result, live chat risks are easy to mitigate, and the channel’s benefits aren’t cast in shadow.

Why not explore all the features and tools WhosOn has to help you mitigate live chat risks, with a 30-day free trial?

Useful links

The Mehrabian myth, non-verbal communication, and live chat software

One lump or two: knowing your customers has never been easier

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