Have you ever been on a tour (maybe Washington DC), and came away feeling like it was the best two hours you've had in a long time? Encouraged by this experience, you sign up for another tour the next day and feel like it will never end...
Why is that?
The most common answer is: the performance of the tour guide... One guide checked all the boxes: he was entertaining, he was attentive, he moved at the right pace... all these things come together to create the whole experience.
How does it apply to live chat?
When you answer a live chat with a client, you are entering a performance stage... you, as the performer, want to be sure you hit all your marks so that the customer goes away with an experience that exceeds their expectations... this is one of the first steps to a 'talk trigger' (Check out Talk Triggers by Jay Baer for a great book on creating a buzz for your customers.)
How do you ensure a great live chat performance?
1) Answer the chat within 10 seconds - If your client has requested a chat, they need your immediate attention... the longer you delay, the harder it is to make a good first impressions
2) Open the chat with a statement that is unique - Statements like: "how can I help you?" are boring, expected, and uninteresting. Starting with a statement such as: "How can I give you a great experience today?" may seem odd, but it will be something your clients will remember... don't be afraid to be different. (this is also good advice when you meet someone new in person)
3) Over-communicate - Don't be afraid to tell the chat requester what you are doing... make sure they receive a regular update... depending on who you ask, this should be every 30 seconds to every 60 seconds... Don't leave a client 'hanging' while you look up an item, price, or inventory... let them know what you're doing... essentially give them a play by play.
If you apply these 3 simple techniques, your customers will come away with a chat experience that they will remember...