Live Chat Software – curse or blessing?

My live chat software is displayed or hidden on our website during pre-defined „office hours“. During these opening hours I have to be available and able to receive customer inquiries. In general, it is no problem to cover these times, but there has to be another person available who can take over in an „emergency“, be it an outage due to illness or simply because I want to get a coffee during my break.

Define reaction times

Customer inquiries MUST be accepted and answered within a short time (we are talking about seconds, not minutes). It’s about giving my customers the feeling that they are perceived and taken seriously, because we all don’t appreciate being held in a waiting loop.

The shorter response time increases the pressure on me as a chat employee. Especially in a company where other work has to be done on the side, a live chat can cause unrest because it pulls you out of work every time you make a request. However, a chat employee should know such situations and be able to deal with them, because such situations are common in direct customer contact.

Knowing the maximum value of simultaneous chats

Picking a sofware that can handle simultaneous chats is important! You can check out to compare live chat software providers on the market. I recently switched from  PureChat to LiveChatInc without problems so far. I can recommend both of them.

Consultations via live chat make it possible to conduct several consultations at the same time. Thus you are much more efficient than with a conventional consultation by telephone or e-mail.

But beware, with all the talent in multitasking, you can’t do unlimited consulting, that would inevitably lead to confusion at some point.

I limit my consultations to 2-3 at the same time, because this is the only way I can ensure that I can concentrate on every conversation and thus keep the quality of my advice high.

Staying simple and efficient

Chat consultations generally lead faster to the goal than e.g. a telephone conversation, I do not want to go into a consultation by e-mail at all. The simplicity and speed of a live chat convinced me very much, because I can send my customers e.g. PDF documents (please pay attention here to the naming of the documents) or links. Thus, there is no need to laboriously guide customers through our website by telephone.

I can also create and use predefined messages, so-called shortcuts, which saves me a lot of time.

So I can e.g. with an abbreviation like „HUW“ a greeting sentence like „Hello and welcome with us, how can I be helpful to you? As soon as the input HUW is made from now on, the formulated sentence appears automatically. Such a parameterization is always worthwhile, especially in areas where there are repetitive and similar requests. In the working world emojis are still rather unusual.

Generate added value

The goal must be not only to answer the customer’s question, but also to generate added value for him.

  • Why not send the weekend program out of the city he asked a question about?
  • Actually, the customer wanted to know the weekend timetable for a mountain railway, so I could send him the menu.
  • The new children’s playground has opened in the nearby zoo? Families will be delighted with this information.
  • There are many different ways to offer a customer added value; this is easier the better you know your own products or those of the service providers.

Under certain circumstances, added value is not always rewarded in the form of payment (cross-sellings and up-sellings), but in any case it serves to increase customer loyalty and represents a top service that you provide.

Increasing competence through teamwork

It can always happen that customers ask questions in live chat that I can’t answer immediately, and I may also not know immediately where to find the answer. Here I can turn to my team, someone knows the answer in any case.

And the advantage? The customer doesn’t notice anything! My competence towards the customer is not questioned, quite the contrary. It tells the client that as a consultant, I know what’s going on and can give them the right information.

Cross-destination thinking

A customer asks a question that I can’t answer, but I know that someone from another department can answer the question immediately? In such a case, it is easiest for me to hand over the request to this employee and it is child’s play to forward it.

However, I must remember to inform the customer about this action so that he knows what is happening in the background and he does not suddenly meet someone else in the chat who is communicating with him, because this can create uncertainty.

Be proactive

  1. Let’s imagine that we want to buy shoes and visit a specialist shop nearby.
  2. As soon as we enter the shop, we are greeted friendly and asked about our wishes.
  3. Why don’t we do the same with our customers who visit our website? If we welcome our customers, we tell them that we are happy to welcome them and we also offer our help with questions. We create a feeling of welcome and security that our customers are not left alone with questions, but can turn to us.

Admittedly, there will also be critical voices that see this more as a feeling of surveillance than of welcome. Here sensitivity is required and one should not exaggerate it with such a function.

Obtaining customer feedback

I would like to know from my customers how they were satisfied with my advice. My main aim is to get (factual) feedback from the customer’s point of view and to accept possible criticism and to work on the criticised points and to improve them continuously.

Measuring consulting quality

With a chat protocol different points from the consultations can be queried and evaluated via the live chat. Whether it is the number of guided chats, the waiting times of the customers in the queue or the evaluations of the individual consultations, many different queries are possible.


A live chat is a promising tool which offers many advantages for customers as well as for companies. Nevertheless, it is important not to underestimate the effort, be it the temporal presence, the necessary consulting quality because exactly this effort is also necessary so that a live chat does not lose its sense and purpose.

It must be guaranteed therefore that beside a well functioning Chat Tool also competent coworkers care for the Live Chat those know the matter. In addition, training courses should be offered to demonstrate the correct use of the tool and standards must be defined and communicated to which the employees can orient themselves, from the welcome to the farewell.

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