Many people think that live chat support is the same the world ’round. In reality, the type of chat support offered varies quite distinctly from industry to industry and sometimes from business to business. The way you answer clients and the services each chat agent is prepared to provide are not universal. A live chat agent for a luxury retailer is not going to take the same attitude or offer the same kind of advice as a chat agent for a company that sells building supplies.
As a professional chat agent, and for those chat agents who work in an outsourced call center for multiple companies, it’s vital to know the difference between one brand and the next. Sometimes, two different companies in the same industry would like you to approach live chat support in two different ways. While you will always be chipper and helpful, you may need to decide the right moment to ask questions, offer advice, and what kind of help the customers of each brand would prefer.
Let’s dive into five interesting use-cases of industry-specific live chat and the kind of tactics that would work best for each type of brand.
Clothing Retail – Online Personal Shopper
The easiest place to start is consumer-oriented eCommerce websites. Brands that focus on online retail usually want their live chat associates to offer straight technical help or to become personal shoppers for interested customers to help move the conversion along.
This is especially true for clothing retail brands where customers may be worried about finding not just the right material and color, but the right size and shape for their needs. Unlike buying home items, shopping for clothing is a deeply personal experience. So when customers reach out to live chat to ask questions, they are often hoping that the chat agent will be able to help them pick clothes that will make them happy.
Being a personal shopper doesn’t necessarily mean fully understanding the customer. But rather, helping the customer narrow down what they’re looking for and then quickly linking them to the pages that will be most useful. One of the best things you can do, especially for clothing shopping, is to help customers translate their own personal vocabulary for clothes into the keywords, categories, and pages used by your website. For example, they might say “Boxy button-up” and you might know that they mean a “straight-cut dress shirt” based on how your brand sorts items.
In this way, you can help customers find exactly what they need, even when their own search terms were never going to get there.
Building and Manufacturing Supplies – Online Assistant Project Planner
Another likely example is providing live chat for a brand that sells supplies for building projects and manufacturers. Whether you are selling to consumers or businesses, your role is likely to be similar – that of an assistant project manager. Rather than becoming a personal shopper, helping clients find what suits them, you are now trying to help your clients find the parts and components that suit their project.
The project becomes the main focus and your top priority is to answer questions aptly and to ask the right questions to identify exactly what the client’s project requires. It’s important to remember that even with B2B and professional builder clients that product terms don’t always translate correctly. They might say “I need a hammer” and you’re thinking claw-hammer but they’re thinking sledgehammer.
Clients who know exactly what they want by name and number will simply shop it. But customers who reach out to live chat are far more likely to need professional insight on the tools, parts, or direction they need to go to complete their project satisfactorily. This is particularly likely for consumer-clients as opposed to professional builders or manufacturing businesses seeking components.
B2B Client/Supplier – Online Key Accounts Manager
Then there is providing live chat support in a purely B2B setting when each client is also essentially a business partner. Even if they have come to buy from you. Someone who is looking to make you their supplier or become your vendor doesn’t need consumer-level chat support. What they need is a person who is ready to step into the role of a Key Accounts Manager (KAM).
Key-accounts managing is the act of focusing on a specific B2B client to explore their needs, priorities, and pain points and then guide their experience toward the best solution. Some clients will want to be your partners and talk with you about how they can gain the most benefit and best service from your company. While others will want you to take the reigns and simply show them your best products and deals available to them. Either way, as the live chat contact, you are at least temporarily in charge of understanding your new lead or customer and making them happy as an important business client.
Luxury and Hospitality Market – Online Concierge
Luxury and hospitality have a different approach. Clients looking for a luxurious experience are looking for someone to listen and to cater to their desires and their comforts. Rather than a personal shopper, project planner, or account manager, luxury customers want to feel like the center of attention and to be handed things that immediately make them happy. What they want is a concierge experience.
The concierge is ultimately flattering, helpful, and a bit more passive than other roles. If the guest wants to talk, the concierge listens. If the guest isn’t sure what they want, the concierge offers them a selection of delightful things to choose from. And if the guest knows exactly what they want, the concierge makes it happen with a few words and a flourish of presentation.
Software – Online Tech Consultant
Finally, there are software and online services. If you are offering anything technical then you will be dealing with two completely different types of client. There will be the business-folk who don’t really understand the technology but they know what it does and want it to work. Then there are the technical professionals who want to talk in-depth specs and performance before they make up their minds.
For both the highly technical and the non-technical, the live chat agent takes on the role of the online tech consultant. For your business owners and managers who just want it to work, you can take them on a tour of features and packages. For the technicians and admins who want to know the details, you invite them into the documentation and rattle off stats about how well each product performs. The chat technical consultant is there to make sure systems are compatible, to provide information and support, and ultimately to show both types of client the same packages and share the details until they’re ready to convert.
Creating conversions through live chat is a practice that is different for every industry. The ideal service you can provide is shaped by the company, the product, and the clients themselves. For more local business insights and innovative marketing tactics, contact us today!