Live Chat for Customer Service: How to, Tips & Best Practices

The latest insights on how to deliver live chat customer service of unparalleled quality.

Best practices of using Live Chat in customer service

The significance of improving user experience has never been more obvious in today's fast-paced digital environment. When it comes to customer support and helpdesk, clients demand speed, efficiency, and personalization. And the businesses that fail to provide it are at huge risk of losing their audiences to competitors.

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According to Invesp, 73% of customers find live chat to be the best way of contacting a brand, while 79% of them attribute their satisfaction with this communication channel to the instant access it provides to shopping advice, support, and consultations. In this brief guide, we’ll explore customer service live chat software capabilities, how it helps companies, and tips that allow them to benefit from live chat implementation as much as possible.

Preferred customer communication channels among customers

What is live chat support software?

Customer service live chat is a widget that appears as a dialog window on all or some of the company’s website pages. Through this interface, users can make inquiries and receive responses in real time, which helps to resolve their issues without leaving a website or using any other means of communication. This way, a customer support live chat tool helps to keep active clients satisfied and converts new leads into customers, whether they are buying on the spur of the moment or making a well-considered purchase.

A helpdesk live chat app is usually displayed as a little widget in the bottom right-hand corner of the page. If a website's live business chat is active, a client may hear a sound indicating that a customer service representative is available. They can open the chat box by clicking on the widget and then write their inquiry.

Today, a live chat widget becomes more and more of an essential component of a website or contact center because it provides clients with an easy and real-time communication channel that doesn't require downloading and installing any specific software or apps on their side. Clients can use that online chat in the same way they would any of their favorite chat programs. They can send text, attach files (for example, a video or a photo), and use emojis and other symbols if they want.

Benefits of live chat for customer service

With phone and email support not going anywhere soon, live chat still provides many advantages that explain its popularity among customers, and, consequently, businesses as well.

Live chat benefits for customer service
  • Convenience
    Clients can use live chat with minimum disturbance to their day, typing messages while multitasking, and inquiring about items or services without having to pick up the phone and dial a number. They also do not have to waste time looking for contact information or email addresses when they use live chat — just browse the website and start a session on any page you want.
  • Improved conversion
    One of the biggest tasks for any business is winning the trust of new customers and leading them from brand discovery to installation, onboarding, or registration. However, many clients decide against leaving their contact details or making a purchase during the last stages of the customer journey. More often than not, these cases result from a customer having no immediate means of contacting a brand representative to inquire about some important details, product availability, or payment options.

    Sending an email or making a phone call requires diverting attention away from a website decreasing the probability that a customer will return to it later. Meanwhile, live chat happens immediately on the website they browse, which highly increases the chances of a client completing the onboarding or registration if a prompt answer is provided.
  • Insightful data
    Live chat provides a rich set of valuable data that is collected in multiple ways. The details about what page or action triggered the live chat launch can suggest useful tips on improving website logic or performance, while pre-chat and post-chat surveys provide essential customer contact details and their impression with support interaction, respectively. All of this data can be used by businesses to improve user experience, product cards, descriptions, user registration process, and so on.
  • Affordability
    Live chat offers a low-cost alternative service channel to phone. According to Forrester researchers, for companies, a live chat session is 25% less expensive than a voice call on average. It requires less infrastructure and hardware, while a single agent can easily handle several text conversations at once, which is hardly achievable with phone calls. The saved budget can be invested in business development and other areas that require improvement.
  • Higher level of customer loyaltyAs mentioned before, among all support channels, live chat has the greatest degree of customer satisfaction. Convenience combined with quick response allows customers to receive a prompt answer even, without leaving a website page, while quick routing of a chat to a relevant specialist helps to avoid awkward waiting time that everyone who phoned support is familiar with. All of these lead to increased customer loyalty and nurture long-term relationships between them and the brand.

Help customers in real time while gathering useful analytics and feedback. Install Umnico Live Chat widget in a couple of minutes.

Customer service live chat key features

With the current abundance of options available, it is important to know what features to look for in a live chat in order to pick the most suitable and capable solution for customer support.

Agent dashboard

The workspace for support agents is one of the essential elements of a customer support chat that directly influences support communication quality and efficiency. By using a dashboard, an agent must be able to manage several chats at once, and quickly view client profiles, their previous inquiries, and the history of their interactions with your brand.

Real-time visitor analytics

This feature shows what pages are visited by users in real time, providing support agents with insights for more personalized help and relevant suggestions.

Umnico visitor monitoring system


The usage of automated welcomes, answers, and follow-up surveys significantly boosts support agents’ productivity, allowing them to focus on complicated issues and address them more effectively. For common assistance requests, templated messages or macros that are sufficiently personalized can be perfect in terms of offering fast response time without adding more work to already busy employees.

File sharing

With the ability to exchange media assets, live chat makes support more convenient and versatile. For example, a customer can submit a screenshot of their laptop screen to a support agent to explain the issue easily, while they can record a video with a sequence of actions required to solve the problem.

Chat rating

This feature allows customers to rate the quality of provided support, from a simple 1 to 5 rating to a more elaborate questionnaire that asks to reflect on several aspects of interaction, providing valuable insights for improving customer support quality.

Multilingual support

To attract customers from various regions of the world more effectively, a company should speak their language. This is why it is so important for any enterprise that is (or aspires to be) an international one to look for a live chat that supports multilingual interface. For example, Umnico live chat widget updates its language automatically, which allows to install a single widget on a multilingual website.

Internal routing

This functionality allows the transfer of a customer conversation to another available agent, both in automatic and manual modes. Routing rules can be based on language, skills, region, and other factors, ensuring that every incoming conversation is directed to an agent with the most relevant qualifications, improving the overall quality of assistance.

Support for mobile devices

Depending on the type of industry, providing the ability for customers to comfortably contact support from wherever they are can be crucial for your business's success. This, combined with remote working having become the new norm, makes mobile adaptation of both live chat window for customers and agent dashboard extremely valuable.

6 best practices for live chat in helpdesk activity

Now, let’s review some of the most important live chat tips for better performance and quality of customer support.

Maintain a short response time

Since short response time is the reason why over ⅔ of customers prefer live chat to other communication channels, it is important to maintain a response time in the range of under 2-3 minutes to provide a great customer experience. Among tools that help with this, expanding your staff and stretching out the support budget is definitely not the only one: template responses and automation with chatbots can also leave clients feeling satisfied and cared about, as they eliminate this sense of waiting that is disliked by so many.

Be realistic with promises to clients

Your customers expect a quick and short answer when they choose live chat for communication. It is important to set realistic expectations about what issues can be solved in such a short timeframe. If the issue turns out to be a complex one and can’t be solved right away, then the best way to go about it for an agent would be to gather as many details as possible and return to the customer via email or phone later.

Employ tags

Tagging customer chats is one of the live chat best practice options. Support tickets can be categorized according to type (general info, quality complaint, help with an order, etc.), related products, and types of customers (wholesale, individuals, loyalty program members). Categorizing allows the support team to route customer requests more effectively and learn useful insights on average resolve time and other aspects.

Follow online chat etiquette rules

Since customer service live chat resembles a conversation with a friend much more than an interaction via other channels of communication, any rudeness or inappropriate choice of words can negatively impact the brand’s perception. Among the rules that are important to follow is always maintaining a positive and helpful tone, to downplay any negativity that arises from a poor experience with a product or service. Here, a set of guidelines established and adopted by all members of support and sales teams is of enormous help. Such rules should include approved names for all products, as well as other industry-specific details that make a customer communicating with multiple agents feel as if there has been a single person helping them all the time.

Addressing a client by their name and responding to inquiries with a detailed (instead of a generic) response is the personalization that can be easily achieved and makes clients feel valued, boosting brand loyalty and trust.

A non-demanding polite feedback request at the end of a conversation is a great way to wrap it up and gain insights on what customers like the most about live chat experience and what aspects require improvements.

Monitor customer support quality

In the modern era of the abundance of products and offers with minuscule differences between them, brands are often recognized for the level of customer service they provide. In order to deliver a better customer experience, you have to maintain the support quality of your business, including live chat support. Assess your Service-Level Agreement standards (SLAs) and measure appropriate live chat metrics. Using them, you can see the team's performance in relation to the company’s KPI and make improvements when necessary.

Umnico Live Chat stats

List of metrics worth measuring to improve customer service:

  • First Contact Resolution (FCR) gauges client satisfaction at several touchpoints. Customers are happier when the FCR is higher.
  • First reaction time (FRT) measures how quickly customer service representatives respond to a problem. It is useful to comprehend how flexible the company is with consumer communication.
  • Cost per conversation assesses the return on investment (ROI) of live chat for your company and how well it is serving it.
  • Customer satisfaction rating (CSAT) enables businesses to identify their strengths and shortcomings as well as the most effective strategies to satisfy their clients.
  • Return on investment (ROI) is associated with customer support online chat and helps to understand whether it is implemented successfully or not.

The customer satisfaction scores provide insights into whether agents are capable of exceeding customers' expectations or require additional training.

Install live chat widget wisely

Employing live chat doesn't mean that its widget should be present on all pages of your website or be the same everywhere. For a company with a tight budget and small support team, it can be a sound decision to provide customers with a live chat capability only at the most important pages, such as checkout, or make it available to VIP or corporate clients only. While the set of pages on which the live chat widget appears can be controlled through a tag manager, such as Google Tag Manager, it is also possible to use different chat widgets on different pages, which can have different appearances and be monitored by different teams.

Final thoughts

To succeed in today’s crowded digital space, a company must put extreme attention to every aspect of its services, operation processes, and product selection. And the quality of customer care is no exception here. Utilizing an online chat, which allows customers to engage with a support person directly on a website, can prove to deliver a significant positive effect on conversion rate and sales volume. By adopting live chat tips for customer service outlined in the article, you can considerably improve the results of customer communication and achieve higher customer satisfaction.

Just don’t forget about two main things: in the beginning, choosing the right software is key, and the subsequent process of customer service live chat communication performance should be a constant one, instead of a once-in-a-year event. And, since we’ve touched on the first point, I can strongly advise you to try out Umnico’s free live chat widget and enjoy its rich customization and integration capabilities.

blogpost author

Nikolay R.

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