Most communications these days do not come through what we would view to be traditional channels. More and more, business is turning to chat to converse with their customers. In many ways, it is easier and more immediate for companies to reach their clients online. However, businesses must take care to ensure that these communications are done correctly. Here are some tips for how to use chat to exchange dialog with your customers.

Use Post-Chat Surveys

You should make sure that you have your customer’s contact information and get that as part of the chat with the customer. After the chat has concluded, you should automatically send either an email or text to the customer to solicit their input as to whether they believe that the chat session was informative and helpful. One of the things that you should be seeking information on is any dissatisfaction that the customer may have had with the chat session. It would be helpful to perhaps give some sort of inducement for the customer to take the time to fill out the survey.

No Need for Sensitive Information

Customers have a perception of today’s data environment as being insecure and prone to hacking. As such, you should avoid asking for any information deemed to be sensitive because customers will wary to share that with you in a chat session. You might be tempted to ask for credit card information, but it’s not recommended. Sensitive information is guaranteed to be encrypted over chat messaging, but customers do not believe that is the case. Do not ask for too much or you run the risk of scaring your customers away. They will not feel that they can trust you even though they really can.

Eliminate Wait Times

Customers may not wait around to have someone answer their questions answered. They may give it a minute and then exit the chat in frustration. Your setup should be such that, either you have enough people on hand to answer the questions, or that it should be immediately routed to someone for an answer. The entire point of online chat is to eliminate the wait times for customers and provide a fast and efficient means for them to communicate with you. Accordingly, speed should be of the essence in the manner that you deal with them. You should consider an automatic response to the first message to the customer does not believe that they are waiting for a representative.

Maintain Professionalism

Even though the medium may seem less formal than a phone conversation, you and your representatives must maintain a professional tone at all times with the customers. The urge to be informal should be resisted since it does not necessarily reflect favorably on your company. Still, there can be some room for personality and friendliness in your online conversations with your customers. Ideally, the right tone should be somewhere in the middle of the sliding scale of formality. Bear in mind that those in the chat are still customers rather than friends and remember to treat them accordingly. To the extent that you can mix canned responses in with some personal touch, it will help inform the conversation.

Use Proper Grammar and Spelling

Even though chat is an informal medium, professionalism also dictates that you check every response before it goes out to ensure that it is spelled properly using the right grammar. There are tools that can spellcheck and grammar check online communications. Bad grammar will still reflect poorly on your credibility as a business even if it is online in a chat box that the customer will not be saving. They will still notice the contents of the chat and will make mental notes about what they see. Again, a canned response will help make sure that everything is spelled correctly since the responses will be screened ahead of time.

Save the Chats

Every business ideally wants to have a log of communications with their customers so that they can inform the future conversation. To that end, the chat should be retained and added to the customer’s file so that future interactions may factor in the results of prior conversations. Your representatives will be able to see the chat history if they have any more interactions relating to the same manner in the future. This way, they can be prepared the next time the customer reaches out to discuss this matter or any other matter.

Online chat is an effective tool to help make communications with your customers more efficient and quicker. When used effectively, it can add a new dimension to the customer relations aspect of your business. Plan ahead of time how you intend to use this powerful tool so that you can maximize its effectiveness.

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