Chat Etiquette: 8 Tips to Socially Accepted Chatting

Businesses use live chat software on a daily basis to support customers, turn potential leads into sales, and advise visitors. Lets explore the code of chat etiquette that all representatives should live by when managing live chats.

1. Introduce Yourself

Even though your website outlines your company and product, there will be visitors who have come to your website and will start a chat with you to get help with their enquiry despite having nothing to do with your product, service or company. To ensure they do not waste their own time and your representatives by getting too far into explaining their circumstances, ensure your chat software can inject a system welcome message that is customisable to be able to introduce the company.


2. Quick Responses

Visitors and customers prefer live chat over phone and emails because of the ability to receive instant answers.  One chapter in The UK Contact Centre Decision-Maker’s Guide 2015 (13th edition) published by ContactBabel, noted that 22% of respondents have an average wait time for web chat lower than 10 seconds, with a further 37% stating that the average wait time is 10-20 seconds. As there is no feedback like visitors experience over the phone (such as on hold music or even a crackle on the line) it is important to answer a chat and get the first hello message out within 20 seconds or risk losing the chat.


3. Simplify Messages

To keep the chat flowing and easy to read, keep your responses short and send them across often, instead of sending a whole essay of text, send out bite size, easy to read sentences, this allows the visitor to take in what the representative is explaining/suggesting and they will be able to answer each point in turn or action them.


4. Notify Them

During the chat there are many features that a representative can use, such as transferring the chat to another operator or sending a file. If a visitor wants certain information and the operator knows there is a page where the information is situated, the operator can redirect the visitor’s browser to the correct page. It is common courtesy to notify the visitor when the operators is going to do anything other than straightforward chat, especially if the operator redirects the web page without prior acknowledgement to the visitor, it can make the visitor feel uneasy as they then have no idea what else the operator can do with the software and feel their privacy can be at risk.


5. Arm Operators with Knowledge

Every customer wants their answer first time and correctly, no one wants to have to re-contact a business to repeat information. Ensuring staff have efficient training on the products and services allow them to answer accurately. If, for whatever reason they do not have the answer, they should know where they can get the information.


6. Don’t be a Robot

Just because a chat is text based doesn’t mean u c4n writ3 l1k3 th1s! A representative will need to judge the tone of the visitor and respond accordingly, if a visitor is being abusive obviously your operator must keep a level head, but in a chat where the visitor is relaxed and even using smiley faces, the operator can be more informal and let their personality shine through.

Operators should limit the amount of pre-defined replies (canned responses) they use, they are good in moderation to answer frequently asked questions and to send a quick hello message, use them too much though and your operators run the risk of sounding too robotic to your visitors.


7. Above and Beyond

Businesses with great customer service are always the ones that get spoken about, and the staff that went above and beyond their duty to ensure the customer got exactly what they needed and more, there is no difference whether it is in person, over the phone or via live chat every operator should create memorable experiences for every visitor.


8. Signing Off

Within the majority of chats the visitor should be the one to leave first, to ensure that everything has been answered for them. If the visitor goes quiet or has said goodbye without shutting down the chat, they should be given the chance to come back to chat should they need to. After a few minutes of no response the operator can send a message saying as they have become unresponsive they are going to close the chat, if they need anything else to then contact them again. The visitor will either reply or stay quiet; leave a few more minutes then the operator can assume it is safe to close the chat.




Gemma Baker is the marketing executive for Click4Assistance, the UKs leading provider of live chat software, trusted by Government, Health and Education organisations, Click4Assistance has been providing live chat to SME’s and Corporate companies for over 10 years.