It is easily perceived that live chat is exactly what it says on the tin – straight to the point, with a result that satisfies both the client and the customer. This is a generalisation that you will tend to come across if you’ve ever been a customer speaking to a live chat agent.
But peel away at the fundamental requirements of a chat, and at the centre, you will find the one thing you wouldn’t necessarily expect.
You’re probably thinking – how is this possible?
How can you translate warmth and reassurance into a conversation that was opened up via a little box on a website?
It’s easier than you think, and it’s about how you take the subject matter, and turn it into something that the customer never expected. Live chat is simply a screen between two people, and what matters at the end of it, is that both sides of the screen walk away with a sense that something was truly achieved both personally and professionally.
From a personal perspective where I have the opportunity to speak with hundreds of people every week, no two chats are ever going to be the same. But how do I ensure that every customer walks away feeling like they were the focus of my attention at a level that they didn’t anticipate initially?
I like to call it the Triple H Rule = Humanity, Heart and Humour.
Why waste both my time and the customer’s by running through the motions?
There is one particular client that I work with which epitomises my Triple H Rule and ironically – heart is at the centre of the chat context!
Let’s face it, when you imagine the journey to a marriage proposal, there’s always an idea of how each step is taken up until that magical moment where you are gazing into the other person’s eyes, asking them to spend the rest of your lives together. A lot of thought and planning goes into one special moment. Will they like the ring that they are presented with? Does it encompass their personal tastes and show a true reflection of love?
This particular client looks to take away all those fears by ensuring that their customers’ needs and requirements are right at the forefront of the service that they offer.
But in a society where many things are done online, how can you expect such a memorable moment to come to fruition by speaking with someone in a chat box?
It’s about identifying the personality the minute the chat begins, and with this particular client I have found that approaching them from a personal level regardless of their mood will bring comfort to the conversation almost immediately. Their levels of trust and doubts about robotic customer service will be swept away as they find excitement in discussing what is usually a secret, with someone who they barely know.
With one particular chat though the tables were somewhat turned, and I had the opportunity to chat with the lucky bride to be who was giving her input into the style of ring she wanted. This could have been a somewhat simple chat in how I took the journey from the beginning to the end, but where is the fun in that?
This bride to be was excited about her upcoming nuptials and the ring that she would soon get to place on her finger – why wouldn’t I be just as excited for her?
Almost immediately she was relaxed. Some may believe that a chat can be about going with the motions but that is something I always look to veer away from. We know what we need to be doing to get the correct information, but being able to really make a human connection whilst doing this allows for more fulfilment and confidence for the customer as well, and in this case from the get go we were able to knock down the barrier between a customer and an agent, and I was no longer an illusion of an online robot, but a human. Ben to be exact.
As you can see, within 60 seconds of our conversation starting there is immediately a sense of ease in the way the conversation is flowing. Is it somewhere in the guidelines to pry for more information, no it isn’t. But the minute she mentioned that her partner was asking about the type of ring that she wanted, even just the use of her smiling emoticon gives a sense of ease which allowed for the conversation to flow with ease.
Whilst continuing to ask for the required information needed to make sure that my customer was happy to proceed forward with a design consultation, there was a quick pace to the chat but an opportunity for her to really get across what she wanted from this particular design. Although the chat had originally started as just a general search, as you will see from the remainder of the chat, we managed to book in a design consultation. This came from my willingness to commentate on her life, whilst providing confidence that my client could provide exactly what she wanted.
A chat that took 8 minutes and a turnaround in original intentions meant that this particular customer left with something to look forward to, and that for me is the most important thing of all.
There isn’t any one way to deal with a situation. Every chat has a different start and a different outcome each time. No two chats are ever the same and that is why I love what I do. The people you meet, the stories you hear and the sense of achievement is something that can never be taken away when you genuinely feel like you have helped someone begin a process that in this particular case could have been dreamed about since she was a child.
It’s a feeling that can warm your heart, and as I have stated at various points throughout this blog post, isn’t that what it’s all about? A screen is only a barrier, but the human behind it and the heart that they can project is what makes the purpose of my role so gratifying.