Live chat customer service has become an expectation to the modern customer—more than half of all customers prefer chatting with someone in real time via chat rather than picking up their phone. As a result, live chat is expected to grow by as much as 87% in the next 12-18 months.

While live chat is the perfect addition to any customer service program, it doesn’t come without its challenges. I can personally attest to this, given that we—the GetFeedback support team—had to face a number of hurdles in the early stages of our live chat service implementation. If we had known of these challenges from the get-go, perhaps we could have saved some time.

Here are the top 5 pain points associated with instituting a live chat customer service program and how to overcome them.

1. The schedule changes and demands that come with live chat customer service

Today, 30% of customers expect to find live chat customer service on any company’s website. And as high as 62% of customers expect to chat with a representative via their mobile device.

This means a large portion of your customer base that needs support will want to communicate through live chat.

Which brings us to the first hurdle you’ll have to overcome: scheduling.

Creating a schedule for live chat support is no joke. With live chat, customers expect a speedy, real-time response from your service agents. This means having enough agents to handle requests so the chat queue isn’t long.

If you have unlimited resources, providing 24/7 live chat customer service is simply a matter of tracking need and schedule properly. But, what if you’re a smaller business that can’t afford 24/7 service?

If you have limited resources, it’s still a good idea to provide live chat support. The key, however, lies in laying out proper expectations. If you only provide chat during certain hours, make that information clearly known and visible on your website.

Another option is to set up your website to only show the live chat icon when a live agent is on the clock. If customers can’t access the chat button during off times, they won’t be waiting for hours on end hoping someone shows up.

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2. The increase of live chat customer service requests

Naturally, opening a new customer communication channel will lead to more requests. Especially when it comes to customers’ inclination to choosing live chat for support.

Nevertheless, a slow response rate is not an option when it comes to your live chat program. Slow response times are reported as one of the top 3 reasons why customers leave a company’s website.

So how do you manage this influx of support requests?

A good solution is to roll out live chat customer service slowly over a course of time.

You can do this by adding live chat to various customer segments at different phases. In doing so, you’ll gauge how many customers are interested in chat and how much time it takes away from other projects and support channels.

You can also program your live chat to direct general questions that are already answered in your resource center to the correct page. If the question is not addressed somewhere in your resource center, your live chat software will know to connect you with an agent.

American Express is a great example: a customer can type into chat a question and the system will ask a series of pre-qualifying questions that direct him or her to the right resource(s). See below.


live chat customer service best practices


live chat customer service best practices


3. The (overly) disgruntled live chat customers

Unfortunately, disgruntled customers are a discouraging part of any customer service platform. Not to mention, when unhappy customers are hiding behind a screen, they feel especially empowered to treat customer service agents with disrespect.

The first step in dealing with this is to ensure your agents feel empowered to stop overly aggressive discourse and report it. You can do this by clearly defining what is an inappropriate customer as opposed to a frustrated customer that can be appeased.

Finally, enable a block functionality on your chat to protect them when necessary.

4. Longer conversations with live chat customers

A live chat customer service conversation can seem unending, given that agents must walk customers through a process in real-time.

When rolling out a live chat program, prepare your team for the natural transition to longer conversations.

However, there’s always a limit. When long queues are at stake, it’s necessary for your agents to know when its time to suggest a new method of communication.

For example, agents can say, “It looks like you have quite a few questions. Would an onboarding call be more beneficial to you?” Or, “I need some time to really dive into this for you. Can I follow up with you via email after I’ve had more time to investigate?”

5. Accurate measurement of your live chat service customer experience

If you’re not measuring the live chat customer service experience, you’re missing out. Customer feedback can help fine-tune your practices to foster customer happiness and loyalty.

Thankfully, this is an easy fix. All you need to do is implement a post-chat survey that’ll provide real-time, immediate feedback.

Queue the product placement…(Can you blame me?)

If you’re using Salesforce and are looking for a simple and efficient way to measure post-chat customer feedback, consider GetFeedback for Salesforce Chat—it allows for you to seamlessly integrate elegant surveys at the end of your live chat conversations, helping you collect real-time, contextual customer feedback. Check out the post-chat survey example below by our customer Sun Basket.

live chat customer service post-chat survey

With a live chat feedback form, not only can you set up automated post-chat surveys, but you can also set up automatic alerts in case you receive poor feedback. In the event you get negative feedback, the system will notify your team and a customer service representative can contact the upset customer right away to try and resolve the problem.

A live chat program is an excellent way to boost customer happiness levels. However, rolling out a new program can present challenges. When you know what challenges to anticipate and have a plan for them, you’ll be able to roll out your program seamlessly, address customer concerns more efficiently, and collect valuable customer feedback in real time.

Ready to improve your post-chat experience and turn survey results into action? Start your free trial today.

Take 5 minutes to complete our 2018 State of Customer Service survey below and you’ll automatically enter to win a Google Home or an Amazon Echo. We’ll also share the completed guide with you once it’s ready!

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