What Are Chat and Email Support & What Are Their Best Practices?

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Did you know visitors who can intuitively use a website’s chat box are almost three times more likely to convert?

The market research company Forrester says so, and to this, they add companies that treat chat support as a low-priority task tend to have “missed revenue opportunities”. In a similar vein, email users are expected to grow by 10.26% in 2023, which totals to more than 4,000,000,000 users worldwide, according to Statista. However, 90% of companies don’t even bother to respond to or acknowledge customers’ emails, a study by SuperOffice found.

What does this data tell you? It tells you how fundamental it is for your company to continuously keep tabs on these two customer-service channels as efficiently as possible. That is if you don’t want opportunities to keep flying past your company’s radar.

We can see why having a strong foundation for chat and email support is essential to your business. You build your relationship with your customers, who get a sense of security from being able to speak with someone from the company, even when their point of contact is not immediately available. 

In this blog post, we explore how chat and email support works and what its best practices are. 

Image credits to Pexels

What Is Chat Support?

Let’s say you just launched a mobile application, and it seems to be well-received. You’ve marketed and promoted this mobile application on relevant channels; your target market appears to be interested in your product; hundreds of users have already downloaded your app.  

However, your mobile app’s flaw is a bug common among users of a particular operating system. You know this because you received a barrage of messages on your website’s chat box, or perhaps your social media account. You gather your developers, determine the problem, implement the solution, and your users are happy.

Chat support is communication between a customer and, usually, an agent who engages with the former to address their questions or feedback concerning the brand the agent is representing. In other words, a customer wants to talk to a brand for whatever reason, and the brand responds with a representative. But why is this a big deal?

There are so many reasons why a readily available chat support channel does wonders for your brand, but the arguably most significant one is that it is timely

It addresses their concerns on the spot, and you also gain a better understanding of your customers’ wants. With chat support, you get clearer pain points and clearer points to improve on. Another advantage you gain from chat support is conversion. As we pointed out earlier, visitors who use a company website’s chat box are likely to turn into sales. This is because chat support moves the needle on the marketing funnel. You turn interest into consideration and drive the customer into action.

Image credits to Pexels

What Is Email Support?

As with chat support, email support aims to engage with customers meaningfully — except the exchange is through email. This means the turnaround time tends to be longer. 

What, then, is the use of email when chat support is in place? Simple — some customers prefer to communicate through email. You would not want to miss the opportunity to collect their feedback, no matter how small the population is on that channel. Additionally, email allows for a detailed account of the problem, making it the proper avenue for a lengthier discussion.

But don’t underestimate the popularity of email. In a survey conducted by HubSpot, which consisted of participants in the US, UK, Singapore, and Australia, 62% of consumers prefer to ask customer service-related questions through email. This platform is not as deserted as you might think. 

Moreover, documentation is so much easier by email. Your customers can attach files pointing to specific problems they encountered with your product or service. Want another reason to invest in email support? You can organize these messages more systematically!

Image credits to Pixabay

Best Practices for Chat and Email Support

Chat and email support is all about building a high level of trust with your customers. 

In his book The Amazement Revolution, thought leader Shep Hyken aptly advises, “Build up enough confidence, and the customer relationship rises to the level of partnership.”

Hyken continues that within this partnership is a firm type of trust where the customer “overlooks the occasional glitch” knowing that you — or your brand — will be able to solve whatever problem comes their way. This trust is so fundamental because it will be the very reason why your customers stay.

So how do you build toward that trust? You can start by doing the following.

Ask open-ended, probing, and closed-ended questions.

You’ve probably heard it’s good practice to ask open-ended questions as much as you can. That’s true, you should. This will help a customer express their sentiments more freely, customer-service writer and trainer Leslie O’Flahavan says in her LinkedIn course. But O’Flahavan also recommends a healthy mix of all three. Specific probing questions, she says, can help you develop an action plan tailor-fit to your customer’s problem, while closed-ended questions confirm whether your customer understands. So, make sure to ask the right question depending on the situation’s needs.

If you can, don’t go for canned.

If your brand receives hundreds of redundant inquiries a day, you might be tempted to give them the good ol’ spiel. And there’s nothing wrong with that — most of the time. But you might want to make some variations to your answers every now and then, especially if a customer’s concern is a little more nuanced. Try to spot opportunities to be more helpful. You may even pitch another one of your products if the situation calls for it.

Foresight, foresight, foresight.

Going above and beyond is crucial to developing brand advocacy. So when a customer raises a problem and you spot an opportunity to answer it beyond what they’re asking in a natural way, go for it! Be as helpful as possible, and avoid sounding too much like a sales pitch.

Sound like a real person as much as possible.

Regardless of your brand voice, it would help if you made an effort to sound as human as possible, which is to say the way you communicate should sound like a conversation. It doesn’t have to be casual or lax — it just has to sound natural. Use contractions, acronyms, and simple words. This will be the foundation upon which you build your brand voice.

Make sure you’re consistently using the brand voice.

A company’s brand is often synonymous with its personality, which is why it’s important to be consistent with your company’s voice. This will help establish the trust you seek from your customers as they get a sense of who you are as a company and the things you stand for. O’Flahavan enumerates the best opportunities to use your brand voice.

  • Greeting and closing
  • Apologizing
  • Offering help
  • Receive and accept thanks
  • Showing you understand
  • Using emojis
Image credits to Pexels

Why Outsourcing Chat and Email Support Increases Your Company’s Conversion Rate

So, you’ve finally gotten the hang of communicating with your customers. You ask the right questions, your brand voice is solid, and you’ve converted inquiries into sales. 

You are at the point where you have established a great relationship with your target market. But establishing trust and partnership does not stop at great communication. You also need to focus on nurturing your core business. This is where outsourcing steps in.

By choosing to outsource chat and email support, you optimize this part of your business. You get professionals who know how to integrate your brand voice into messages, answer promptly to questions, and are seasoned agents when it comes to the best practices of customer care.

Because of their experience and expertise, outsourced chat and email support representatives can open and close conversations with your customer base in the way that you envision them to, or even better. And the best part is your company gets to channel its resources to your core business. This means you can expand and even push the boundaries of what your business can do.

In Summary 

Chat and email support is communication between a customer and an agent who represents the brand. They differ mainly in the channel being used.

Some of the best practices for both include:

  • Ask open-ended, probing, and closed-ended questions.
  • Canned answers are not always efficient.
  • Foresight, foresight, foresight.
  • Sound like a real person as much as possible.
  • Make sure you’re consistently using the brand voice.

Are you looking for expert chat and email support professionals who know how to communicate with your customers with care? Then, you’re on the right page.

NarraSoft offers a wide range of outsourcing services, including chat and email support. We also offer technical support services for companies that require more tech knowledge from its agents.

Contact us today at sales@narrasoft.com, or message us on our chat box or contact form. We look forward to chatting with you!

Justine Jordan

Justine Jordan is a content and copy writer. She has written for a popular business daily in the Philippines and for various startups across the globe before transitioning to work for NarraSoft. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman with a bachelor's degree in journalism.