A Little Thing That Made A Difference

Yesterday I was made aware of a company through an email that was sent to me. I’m not going to name the company, but the story is interesting none the less. The company’s web site had a live chat on it and I was curious to see if anyone answered and if so, how quickly. I clicked the chat button (the icon indicated that there was someone online), waited a minute or so, but there was no answer. No big deal, I continued to explore the site, and found it interesting.

However, what made the difference was the next day, I received an email from someone at the company saying that they had a technical error, apologized about not being able to answer my chat, offered to answer any questions I may have had, and promised to what the online chat status more carefully and work on improving it to avoid future issues.

The company did an excellent job of 1) addressing my immediate concern (my question – if I had one), and 2) giving me some faith in the company. An abandoned live chat doesn’t give existing or potential customers faith, but a friendly and informative follow-up really makes it seem (rightfully so) as if the company is on top of things.

Companies that offer features that allow for customer interaction have to monitor them constantly. If you don’t monitor what is going on in your helpdesk or live chat, you’ll run into problems.

Watch the logs.
This company knew that I requested a chat, but it wasn’t answered. They had my name and email address from before I started the chat and decided to follow up. E-commerce stores pay attention to their abandonment rates for checkout – so why shouldn’t you pay attention to your abandonment rate for support options?
Some companies do, but they are looking to increase abandonment rates instead of lower them. You have to look at each support experience as an opportunity to “wow” a customer and give them faith in your brand and service.

Follow-up.
Don’t look at it an abandoned chat or help request as a lost cause – look at it as an opportunity. Email people and say “Hi, I saw you tried to initiate a chat request earlier today. Did everything work okay? Is there anything else I can help you with?” If the customer deletes the email or says no, no big deal. If they reply with a question, great.

Make your email good.
When you do decide to email a customer, make it good. Include a nice greeting (address by name if possible), state who you are (Bob from Company XYZ), the purpose (I saw you initiated a chat request yesterday evening), the apology (I’m sorry your chat wasn’t answered or that you encountered any problems), the offer (Is there anything else I can help you with?), the thank you (We appreciate your interest in Company XYZ), and the closing (Sincerely, Bob). This is an email that covers key information and is quite effective.

Do it often.
Don’t just do it some of the time – do it all of the time. If you notice customers are giving up before they talk to someone, start finding out why. If you don’t keep on top of things like this, your customer satisfaction ratings, sales, etc. may go down.

One Response to “A Little Thing That Made A Difference”

  1. Brian Scates said:

    Sep 19, 06 at 11:06 pm

    Good advice – that’s a smart company 😉