Live Chat – Communication Skills For Selling And Cross Selling


Live Chat is just more than just a customer support software. You could benefit from the live chat solution in a number of ways. If only you have the adequate experience and the knowhow, you will be able to leverage exceptional advantage by integrating live chat software on your website.

Leveraging The Marketing Benefits Of Live Chat Solution

Good customer support can impress customers

Marketing your products to new customers is all about impressing your target audience. Interestingly, retaining your existing customers is also about impressing them. All the top brands know this secret and they make their moves in a very discreet way to capture their market share and to retain it.

When we talk about impressing the existing customers, you should not think that it has no marketing value because you are supporting people that are already using your products or services.

If you review your marketing budget closely year after year, you will notice that you tend to spend less on keeping the existing customers than acquiring new customers. By making more and more of your existing customers stick with your brand, you will spend lesser in the long run. Live chat support is one way of keeping your existing customers impressed.

Customers do not get as upset when they run into problems with your products or services, but they will only get upset when they do not get the right solutions when they run into glitches. By giving them the assurance that you are there to support them when they run into glitches, you will give them a sense of comfort. This is where providing round the clock customer support gains special significance.

Communication Style Expected:

Here, when you are dealing with your existing customers, the basic rule of thumb is applicable. You are supposed to be polite at all circumstances. It does not matter how simple or silly the problem or issue raised by the customer is, you will have to be a composed and patient customer support agent.

Never make the customer feel stupid or ignorant. Customers need not be experts about the products or services that they are using. You need to be the expert as the customer support agent. You should be able to understand their issues fast, which will be possible only when you know your products and services well.

If the customer should express or indicate that they are thinking of switching the brand because of the problems and the issues do not pounce on to them with the intention of retaining them or discouraging them from leaving your brand. Your primary goal still should be solving their issues. Once you have successfully resolved the issue that they are facing, they will be in a better disposition to listen to your marketing talk. It will be a serious mistake to jump the gun and to tell them how good your brand is and why they should stick with you. They should be made to see these points rather than you giving them a big yarn about the brand benefits.

Of course the pressure is on you and you will be facing the sword if you fail to convince the customer to stick with the brand. However, you should not let this pressure overtake you and make the customer see how desperate you are convincing them. The worst mistake, which some customer support agents make is to tell the customers not to switch the brand or terminate their membership because they will lose the job. Do not think that you could succeed with emotional blackmailing. This will make your brand very unprofessional. It is important to stay away from such strategies in your communications with the customers.

Selling Without Selling

You will also be dealing with visitors that are not already your customers. The visitors to your website could be people that have already known your brand, people that have never heard about your brand or even people that have a bad impression about your brand. You can never be sure what kind of visitor that you are dealing with initially. You therefore need to be patient and gradually set the stage to expose your brand to those visitors that are not already your customers.

Hardcore selling has no place in live chat support. Remember all that the visitors need to get away from your hardcore marketing talk is a single click. You are therefore walking on thin ice and losing the visitor is not difficult. Customers are bombarded with marketing information from all directions. When they are on your website, you have a very good chance of converting them into customers. You should not overdo things and ruin your shots.

What exactly do we mean when we say ‘selling without selling.’ If you are going to use aggressive marketing language with a well-disposed customer then you could be running into the risk of losing them. When they are on your website, engaged in a chat with you, try to understand what exactly they are looking for and the reason why they are in chat.

It could be anything from getting more information about your brand, products or services, or looking for a quote to compare with the quotes that they have already received from the other brands or it could even be to test the quality of the customer support that your brand offers.

Quickly assess the visitor to understand whether they are in a disposition to listen to you or impatient. If you see signs of impatience, acquire or confirm their contact details so that your marketing team could get in touch with them through mail or phone. If the visitor should be ready to listen, share product or service related information as succinctly as possible. Make sure that you share the latest offers and deals so that they will find your brand competitive.

In doing all this, you should not make statements such as ‘we are the best in the industry’ because they would have already heard such self-made claims as you are not the first one to make such claims. Let them see that you are the best in the industry with your professional approach. This has to be played very carefully because you should also not give the impression to the visitor that you could not care less about their business and that their business is not important to you.

Communication Style Expected:

Here again, there is no exception…professional and diplomatic communication style is the most expected style. Make use of more of ‘We’ statements than ‘I’ statements, even if you are the deciding authority in the given situation as in the case of giving a discount or extending the trial period or offering some other benefit to the visitor.

Use positive terms such as ‘happy’ ‘delighted’ ‘pleased’ ‘dependable’ ‘ready to assist’ ’not a problem’. Most certainly avoid negative words such as ‘not possible’ ‘it will not work’ ‘cannot give’ etc. Also, use modal verbs such as ‘could you’ ‘would you’ etc., all these will have a positive impact on the visitors that are not yet your customers. At no point of time, the visitors should feel that you are smothering them with too much of brand related details. It is important to share as much information as possible about your brand, but certainly not to the extent of stifling the visitor with an overdose of information.

Cross Selling To Help Customers

Most of us in marketing look at cross selling just as a way to make a bigger sale. If only you could tweak that view a little bit you will be able to get better results. What is the tweak required? Before we answer this question we should ask ourselves another crucial question: What is cross selling?

Cross selling is the process of pushing a related product or service to a customer that is already decided to use your product or service or to someone that is already using your products or services.

Not all customers will be familiar with the products or services that you are offering. It is your responsibility to therefore share this information to the customers or to the prospective leads. In doing this, you will have to show to the customers how extending their scope of purchase will make their life easier or add better value to their investment. For example, when a customer is purchasing your website design package, cross selling your SEO plans will be very appropriate. The customer needs to market his or her website, he or she has to promote the website in the search engines to benefit out of their website. Technically non-savvy customers may not know that SEO is important to promote their brand online. In this situation, you are sharing with your customers in chat how SEO could help them and how it will help them get better mileage out of the investment that they are making on their website.

If you think that the customer is not in a disposition to listen to your long stories. You could or you should push them the links to your SEO services. They will be able to review the details after the chat. Cross-selling cycle need not have to be completed within the single chat. You just show them the options as a live chat agent and leave the rest to the customer to decide at their own convenient time. However, if you do not share them about the related products or services, which could essentially be of benefit to them, then you are not justifying your position as a live chat agent. When compared to telemarketing calls, you are in a better position to cross sell to your visitors. You will be able to send them the links to relevant pages and even send the chat transcript to the visitor so that they could review the details that you have provided them during the chat and make their decision later.

Communication Style Expected:

Here, highly proactive communication style is expected of you as a live chat agent. Ask probing questions to the customers such as ‘Have you considered…?” “Did you know that we also offer…?” “Do you have someone to help you with…?” and so on. These questions should trigger the thinking process with the customer who has already not thought about certain factors, which they will eventually come to consider. By asking these questions in your chat, you become instrumental in initiating the thought process. You should not limit yourself to small thinking; rather you should take a more holistic approach. You should do the thinking for your customer. If you were the customer what would you like to hear? Would you be interested in hearing that you may need to spend more money on some fancy service that the chat agent is desperate to sell to you or would you be interested to listen how making a certain choice will help you cut down the expenses on the long run or attract more customers to your brand?

Avoid using phrases such as, ‘It will cost you only…” “It costs just…” “For a little extra…” because these phrases have been abused by the marketing representatives and telemarketing agents to the extent that it triggers a warning bell in the minds of people as soon as they hear these phrases that you are placing the bait before them.

Use simple language and do not build the suspense as most people are taught to do in sales. Do not go on blowing your own trumpet by listing the features of your products are service when the visitor is repeatedly asking you for the price of the ‘extra’ option or product that you are trying to sell desperately. Instead try different set of phrases that will preempt things. “We have a special plan which costs…and for this you get…” there is no element of surprise. The visitor will be in a better disposition to listen to the features that you are going to list now rather than be preoccupied with the question, how much he or she has to shell out for the additional features or extras.

If you are thinking that we are suggesting against everything you have learned or believed in all along, you need to first understand that all these are not absolute method or strategies that remain eternally effective. You need to constantly be revisiting your approach and strategy like a torpedo that keeps shifting its course on the pursuit of hitting a mobile target. If the torpedo should be stiff with its course unwilling to change then it is sure to miss the moving object and fail completely.

The market and the market trend train the customers in a certain way. You need to adapt to the situation and when you do that your customers will again try to adjust themselves to guard their interests, which in turn will force you to revisit your approach, which was working earlier. This is an ongoing process. As a chat agent, you need to keep your mind open.

Selling And Cross-selling Is Never Out Of Place

Finally, having said all these we would like to append one final remark, while hardcore marketing has no place in live chat, discrete selling and cross selling is never out of place in live chat.

Follow all the chat etiquette that we have discussed in our earlier posts. Keep to the communication skills basics pertaining to live chat and use minimal marketing language in your chat.

Go out to genuinely help the visitors. Every visitor that is chat with you is with a problem. The nature of the problem varies it could be pre-sales problem or post sales problem. First respond to those problems and in the process, you will automatically be marketing your brand to the visitor without eliciting resistance from the visitors.

When you are focused on helping the visitors the choice of words or your vocabulary will be a lot different from the vocabulary that you will be using if your intent is selling your product or service. Customers build unconscious resistance to marketing language because of the bitter past experiences. That is why it is a lot easier to sell or cross sell when you are helping the customer rather than actually selling them directly to your brand.

Always use a friendly tone in your communications, but let it not become artificial or let it not lost the professional edge. Striking the balance is very crucial here because when customers are looking for a service provider to meet their needs, they want someone friendly but they are not on the lookout for friends. They would rather prefer someone that knows what they are talking about.

To bind this all together, we must add an important note here, which is selecting the right live chat software that will work seamlessly regardless of whether you are trying to sending out text messages, links or trying to co-browse with your customers as a way of helping them.