Good conversations help people reach their goals as quickly as possible. And since we’re all about having better conversations, we thought we’d give live chat support a try at Typeform.

But when we began our journey, we didn’t have a clear guide to set us on the right tack. So the Customer Success team wanted to share some things we’ve learned since we got chatting.

Let’s start with why it’s a good idea, and some things to watch out for.

A lovely day for a chat outside the Typeform Beach House.

Why use live chat?

Here are some things we love:

Efficiency. We’re able to resolve customer problems faster, which cuts cost for us and increases time to value for our customers.

Real time. We can be there for our customers the moment they need us.

Better conversations. We can develop more personal relationships with our customers.

Faster feedback loops. We can ask just the right questions to improve our services.

Fun. We have more fun at work, which results in better service for our customers.

→ Speaking of fun, have you seen our Barception?

But is it lovey-dovey all the time? Not quite.

Live chat challenges

Like with any channel, there are always pain points. Here’s a couple of things that we sometimes struggle with:

High volumes. If lots of people want to talk, live chat requires lots of attention and focus.

Not being able to help right away. When dealing with more complex situations, bugs, or technical questions, sometimes you have to tell someone to wait.

The good news is that the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

But how do you make it a long-term success? And how do you create a process that works for your team as well as your customers?

How to get started with live chat

You’ve still got a journey ahead if you want to do it right. Because it’s the details of each interaction that delight customers and keep teams happy.

Here’s some things you should know to make live chat work for you.

Our office dog Mamón keeps his multi-colored eyes on our Customer Success team.

1. Pick a tool

The right tool should let you gather all your data in one place. This means being compatible with the other tools your team is already using.

We use Zendesk for customer support, so we chose Zendesk Chat to keep everything running smoothly.

But there are other options out there. So make sure you do your research and pick the best chat for you.

→ Need some help? Here’s your big picture guide to customer success tools.

2. Decide who you’ll chat with and when

Remember, this is a premium support channel. So ask yourself and your team a couple of questions:

  • Where? Will you offer live chat on your pricing page to help people pick the best plan for their needs? On your homepage for anyone who happens to stop by? On your help center for product support?
  • Who? Should you offer chat to all of your users? Only paying customers? Can your Support team handle the possible volumes? How might these numbers change over the next 6 months?
  • When? What should be the operating hours? Also keep in mind that seasons affect the mood of conversation—just wait for people to get back from their winter holidays 🙂

To keep things manageable, we’ve been slowly rolling out chat to more people. Now we’ve got 12 people covering an 11-hour window of chat time per day. And we’ll continue experimenting to see what works best.

 

 

3. Ask your Product team for help

Zendesk’s video showing how to add chat to your website takes 90 seconds—but in reality it’s not that easy. You’re probably going to need some help from your Product team.

Involve them as early as you can—it will pay off sooner than you think. And make sure you explain what problem you’re trying to solve, they love that stuff.

Remember: any change to your product will impact chat volumes. Just imagine a whole new version being released on your watch! We experienced this first hand when we released the new Typeform.

4. Measure success

This part is crucial. You need to know what you hope to accomplish by introducing live chat.

What metrics will you look at? First reply time? The number of people using live chat? The happiness of your team? Customer satisfaction? The time your team spends on each customer query?

Whatever goals you go with, you should be trying to minimize the cost and maximize the outcome—while keeping your team and customers as happy as possible.

Ready to go one step further? Ask your data team to help you set up some A/B tests. Then you can see if chat is an efficient channel for activations, expansions, and retention—and ultimately the impact that live chat has on your business.

→ Don’t know what to measure? Here’s the ultimate guide to customer success metrics.

5. Train your team

We all know how to use messenger apps to send the best GIFs to our friends. But while live chat may work the same, talking a customer through their problems requires a bit more training.

So how did we do it?

First, we gave our team early access to live chat so they could give it a spin. Then we did some role-playing to get to know our customers’ experience first hand. All the while we listened and collected feedback.

We also introduced Accountability Partners. This is someone who’s there during your chat shift to look over your shoulder and help out when needed. It also allows the person leading the project to share responsibility with the whole team, as everyone is looking out for each other.

Should you use a quiz to train your customer support agents? Freshdesk thinks so.

6. Make sure it works for your customers

Remember why you’re doing this: to help your customers reach their goals as easily as possible. So once you’ve rolled out live chat, ask people what they think.

What do they like about it? What can be improved?

We sent out a typeform survey to get feedback and tips for improvement. Have a look:

It’s been nice chatting with you

We’re now 10 months into our live chat experiment, and things are looking good. We’ve resolved over 5k queries in a fraction of the time we could with email support. And all that with customer satisfaction consistently around 100%.

But most importantly, we’re having more meaningful conversations with our customers. By opening a channel for unique and helpful interactions, we’re building a long-term relationship with the people we care about.

Need a way to start more meaningful conversations with your customers?