How to Implement a Support Live Chat in a Small Company?

Luis Manjarrez
by Luis Manjarrez

Customers needing support prefer live chat over other methods of communication. It's got the personalized feel of a phone call and the accuracy of an email. Also, consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers live chat support. That's a fact.

Small businesses could be hesitant about the idea of adding live chat to their websites. Will it generate a lot of extra work? More demanding customers? Will I lose focus on the other aspects of the company?

These are all real concerns, but with a proper deployment strategy, live chat can be a very powerful weapon and it's highly scalable. So how can small businesses implement this new channel of communication successfully?

Here are some of the best tips for a fruitful customer service in a small company:

1. Roll it out to a few select pages first

Instead of adding the live chat bubble to all pages at once and risk getting swamped with requests, do a selection of the pages where customers struggle the most. You might also want to consider this:

  • If possible, offer live chat to paying customers only.
  • For a sales-oriented live chat, display it only on your pricing page.
  • For a technical-oriented live chat, display it in your documentation guides.

2. Set expectations and fulfill them

Don't start by offering 24/7 support. Your team will suffer and customers will be disappointed. It's better to start offering live chat during your business hours.

A good tip is to only show the bubble when someone from the team is online and open to respond to live requests. If you stick to this strategy customers will be happy because they know that if they can access the chat they will get help promptly.

I don't know about you, but when I use a company's live chat that says "We respond within 2 or 3 hours" I immediately feel disappointed. I'm not saying there's something wrong with not being able to offer immediate support, but if that's the case ask people to email you instead. A live chat should be… live.

3. Share the workload

In the case of small companies, I'm a firm believer in sharing the support workload amongst all coworkers. It's a great way to have contact with customers, take in observations, and make the product/service better.

Even if it's just a few hours per week you can get more valuable feedback from exchanging words with a customer than spending hours going through analytics or metrics.

It's also a good idea to pass a customer's case between coworkers as seamlessly as possible. This might be due to a shift ending or someone requiring other areas of expertise.

4. Prepare as much as possible

Chances are you already know which questions are asked the most. Maybe you already have an FAQ section on your website. Either way you should set up templates of these questions, so you can send them quickly.

This way you avoid losing time and focus your attention to more complex queries or other sales efforts.

Also, try to send links to help articles as much as possible. If you don't have a knowledgebase, build one as early as possible. It's one of the best investments you can make, support-wise.

5. Be cordial and transparent

This might sound obvious, but doing customer support is not always easy. Always greet people, be agreeable and show that you want to help.

If you don't have the answer to a question, simply say that you will follow-up by email. The same applies if you need time to fix a problem. It's best not to keep the customer waiting.

To learn more about delivering stellar customer support, read this post.

6. Use the right tool

Live chat tools abound. If you're depolying an omnichannel strategy, then look for a tool that allows centralizing all your communications into a single place, may that be email, live chat, SMS, etc. Missive is one of those tools.

Chat one to many

We offer a live chat solution that is greatly suited for small companies looking to dip their toes into live support. You can add schedules, create automatic responses, send proloaded responses, share the workload automatically, and more. Oh, and if you have less than 200 active chats per month, it is free!

Missive Chat can be added to any webpage. If you're using a CMS or ecommerce builder, be sure to check out our guides to set up live chats on them:

Luis Manjarrez

Growth at Missive
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