It’s increasingly common for service desk teams to perform some support operations over a live chat. This is a win for everyone. When using chat support, employees are looking for quick wins when it comes to solving their problems, and in many cases, the service desk can help them quickly without needing a site visit.
I worked the service desk way before online chats were possible, but the truth is not much has changed since then. At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer experience—and real-time chat conversations (whether this involves using chatbots, chat software, or support agents) can go a long way toward creating a positive experience.
Helping employees and other end users over service desk chat is a little different than sending chat messages to a friend, and some nuances to consider regarding chat support rules. In this guide, I’ll share chat etiquette tips I’ve learned and highlight the chat rules I wish more service desk teams would follow, especially as they relate to live chat etiquette.
Basic Chat Etiquette Rules
Many rules come down to common sense and putting yourself in the position of the employee. Let’s review some rules for a support agent to follow to help make the agent and employee’s experience the best.
The first thing to do is introduce yourself to whomever you are helping. This can go a long way—remember, they usually are not contacting the service desk because things are going well for them.
A friendly introduction can set the stage for an excellent interaction between both parties. It makes the employee feel more comfortable as you begin to help them, especially if this is their first time using chat support.
A little friendliness goes a long way. Always be friendly to the caller, even when it’s difficult. When someone’s having an issue, it can get frustrating for them fast, especially if it’s something they’ve been dealing with for a while.
It can get frustrating if the issue is complicated, requiring more time and effort to solve. Again, friendliness can go a long way toward smoothing over their experience and improving overall customer satisfaction with the resolution.
Use Good Grammar and Spelling
Good grammar and spelling are essential during chat interactions and necessary for customer experience. We all know from experience how frustrating it can be when you get an email or you’re on the receiving end of a chat experience and see lousy spelling and grammar.
It’s important to keep things professional, and good spelling and grammar go a long way. I know many people are used to using abbreviations and ignoring things like capitalization when they’re in a group chat with their friends (This isn’t like instant messaging, and I know I wouldn’t appreciate a “brb,” “lol,” or even an emoji when trying to resolve an issue). It’s important to treat your chats like you would an email or other business interactions. It promotes greater clarity, which can improve time to resolution.
This professional communication means, among other things, skipping ALL CAPS! This never makes a good impression, and remember, it’s just like yelling in real life. NO ONE WANTS TO BE YELLED AT.
Create a Bank of Responses
Canned responses can be helpful for several reasons. They save time from typing the same thing repeatedly, and you have a bank of easy-to-use responses, even when things get a little stressful.
You can also make sure the spelling and grammar are perfect ahead of time. Keep track of the phrases you use repeatedly and add them to your response bank. It’s also a good idea to create some canned responses for more challenging situations, so you can continue to be friendly and keep things on track if the employee is having a bad day and being difficult.
Keep It Simple
Remember to keep things simple. Explain things in plain language and provide simple and easy-to-follow instructions. Chat is very different from a phone call, when you get instant feedback and can tell easily if they understand what’s happening. For this reason, it's essential to keep communication simple.
Always remember to be empathetic. Even if it’s a simple request to you, it’s not simple to them and negatively impacts their day. This is important to remember if an employee is starting to get a bit stressed out over troubleshooting steps or the resolution to the problem.
Not all chat sessions lead to a quick resolution, and not all problems are solved simply. It’s important to stay positive throughout interactions, especially if the problem takes longer than expected.
Keep Them Informed
When things get complicated, be sure to keep the employee informed of your progress. There may be times when you need a few minutes to check something out, so be sure to follow-up with them. Let them know if things are taking longer than expected.
Stay on Topic
Sometimes end users can drift off-topic, which is a normal thing. When this inevitably happens, gently steer them back on topic, and remind them of the purpose of their visit. It can also be an opportunity: If the conversation starts to drift, ask some clarifying questions.
Ask Clarifying Questions as Needed
Don’t be afraid to ask questions as needed to continue to help them and troubleshoot their issue. A good rule of thumb is to keep questions short and simple and only ask one question at a time to ensure you get the answers you need to help. Asking more than one question can lead to confusion.
Ask If They Need More Help
Once the problem is solved, always ask the employee if they need more help. You’d be surprised at how often someone faces another minor issue they’ve been dealing with since no one has been around to help. This simple question will make their customer support experience much better.
Wrap Up Nicely
At the end of the session, be sure to wrap up nicely, and most importantly, don’t leave the the employee hanging. Thank them for contacting you for help and wish them a great day. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask them for feedback on their experience. Customer feedback is key to making customer experience better.
Remember, a chat system is only a tool, though. Keep in mind the power to make or break the customer experience rests with you, and keeping them happy by solving their problem promptly and professionally is the goal.
How SolarWinds Service Desk Can Improve Agent Efficiency and Provide Better Employee Experience
Implementing a service desk chat system doesn’t have to be difficult. And with professional chat etiquette and the right technology in your corner, it’s even easier.
SolarWinds® Service Desk
is built to be simple to implement and use for both support agents and employees. You can learn more about how Service Desk is built to help teams improve business communication and collaboration by providing exceptional user experience through its ChatOps integrations
with popular chat apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack and employee self-service portal