To master every communication channel businesses have to adapt to different communication styles. Businesses already have huge experience how to talk to people over the phone, or in real life. How to write copy for a great converting landing page, or a Facebook post. Or how to create very personal e-mails. But when it comes to chat – just like in case of every new channel- businesses have to learn new skills, adapt to new rules.
Chat needs a completely different approach, than every other mass channel. Chat is the real personal channel, where communication should be always 1on1 and two ways.
Chat is different from phone calls, or real person communication. Chat is a more condensed, shorter form of communication. Your customers don’t want to read novels on their smartphone screens, but receive short and straightforward answers what they can digest quickly.
Chat has developed its own language, slang. Just think of all the abbreviations we use in our everyday chatting. Or the power of emojis, the way how they can add extra meaning and context to the shortest message.
Chat is the most easy going channel. Yet businesses have hard time to balance between showing their professional image to a (potential) customer and create a personal, easy going way of communication.
Here are some tips how to become more confident and effective in chatting with customers.
1. Chat is a conversation, not a Q&A form
Chat is similar to a phone or real life conversations. You should engage with your customer and not just simply send him plain answers. Chat is two-way communication, use this to your advantage.
2. React quick, and than take time to find the right answer
Sometimes you will receive messages from your costumers, but you can’t answer it immediately in a proper way. Either you don’t know the answer yet, or you’re not in a situation where you can’t write long answers. Even in these cases you should react fast with a short acknowledging message, and ask for their patience to send the proper answer. They will feel reassured that somebody is dealing with their problems, and don’t mind waiting a little bit longer for the detailed answer.
3. Don’t write long stories. Split them into smaller parts
You customers are most likely chatting on their smartphones. Chat app screens are not optimal for reading long messages. You should aim to break longer messages into smaller parts. It’s better to hit the “send” button after every longer sentence, topic unit, than to send everything in one long message. Short messages look better on the smartphone screen and are easier to understand.
4. Know who you are talking to
Finding out more about your customer is not stalking. Most of chat services offer you the possibility to find out more about your chat partner (visit profile), or to save some notes on the conversation. Use these tools to gain and save background info on your chat partners so you can understand their situation better.
5. Adapt to the tone of voice of your chat partner
The fact that chat is the most easy going communication channel doesn’t mean that everybody is using it in the same way. You can decide already based on the first few chat messages if your chat partner prefers a serious, straight forward communication style or you should talk to him/her like your best buddy. Adapt to it, and talk to your customer the way he/she is talking to you.
6. Use emojis to add extra flavour
During texting your chat partners can’t see your facial expressions, or hear your tone of voice. Plain text can lack on emotions, but emojis are here to help. These little cartoons can help you to make your chatting more colourful and exciting. But be aware not to overuse them.
7. Don’t overuse chat slang
Abbreviations are very useful in our everyday communication, but might look a bit rude in a professional chatting environment. It is ok to use abbreviations that you would also use in e-mails or on your website, such as ‘e.g.’, ‘i.e.’, or ‘ok’. On the other hand not everybody knows what “ttyl” means, so you could confuse your chat partners by using chat slang. You know your customers the best. You will also feel what’s the right amount of ‘rofl’, and ‘lol’ in your daily chatting.
8. Don’t stress on typo’s. It’s cool to correct them
People do mistakes. Some people people tend to reread everything before hitting the send button, but sometimes there is no time for that. There’s nothing wrong with making once in a while some type-o. Actually it can even reassure your chat partner that he/she is talking to a real person. You can correct the type-o by resending the relevant word with a star: ‘*correct word’.
9. Don’t try to solve every problem in chat
Some questions can’t be answered with only a few sentences. Chat is not the best platform to deliver long, detailed explanations, so sometimes you’ll have to redirect people towards to other channels. A blog post, press release or youtube video can give the full picture, while a headline like message answers the question quick and short.
Chat is not only a great place to engage with users, but can drive great traffic towards other channels as well.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask back to clarify customer questions
Sometimes you can’t identify customers problems from their first message (most of the times even they don’t know their own real problem). In these cases you should rather ask back, and try to clarify your customers problem, than to provide a false answer.
11. Recycle the most repetitive answers
If you do your job well you will see the number of your chat partners constantly growing. You will recognise that you spend most of the time answering the same questions over and over again.
It’s useful to collect these responses in an organised form (document, spreadsheet,), but it even more convenient if you use some special software to support your daily chatting.
Chatler.ai collects all the repetitive answers in one place and helps social media managers to answer the repetitive questions faster and more convenient, by recommending answers to them. Chatler.ai is integrated into the Facebook Page Messenger UI so you can receive and send recommendations and access your response library without needing to switch between windows.
12. Keep the conversation alive
When you receive a chat message from your customers they are actually opening up a personal channel towards you. You can reactivate this channel anytime, and reach out to your customers with proactive and personalised offerings, or keeping them updated about your business.
+1. Don’t stress yourself to much about angry customers
It’s inevitable to chat with angry customers from time to time. It is crucial to stay in control, cool, and yet empathise with the visitor. Even if you are having a bad day, or missed your morning coffee it’s not worth to stress yourself just because somebody else is in bad mood as well.
Ask us how we can help your brand to master the world of chat: https://m.me/chatlerai/.