How Long Should a Live Chat Response Be?

The proof that live chat is a successful addition to any website is evident in statistics:

Considering that a significant number of potential customers view live chat in a positive light and businesses receive a positive return when utilizing this feature, integrating live chat into your website is a necessity.

There are a lot of factors to consider when implementing live chat onto your site. It’s not something that should be done without some research, and it may require some trial and error. Once you determine the best first response time, you need to figure out an effective response length. Too short and visitors won’t get sufficient information. Too long, and they’ll get overwhelmed and confused.

The Effect of a Short Response

While response time customer service is one of the most important aspects of live chat, the length of the message can also lend itself to the success of the interaction. Once you engage them after that first response time, how will you keep them involved?

A short response can get straight to the point. Oftentimes, it leaves more room for prospective customers to fill in the conversation with their own needs. There’s a fine line between people feeling like they’re being talked at (and subsequently overloaded with information) and feeling that they’re being helped in an efficient and non-superfluous manner.

However, one disadvantage of a short response is that it can be ambiguous. Consider the distinction between “can I help you with something?” and “what are you looking for today?” Both are short, but the latter elicits a more exact response.

Sample Exchange №1

Rep: Welcome! Can I help you find something?

Visitor: How much are your services? Are there different tiers?

Rep: We offer three different tiers, and prices vary from $100-$500.

Visitor: What does the lowest cost tier offer?

Rep: Here’s a link to our FAQ page. You’ll find more information there.

In the above exchange, the responses to the site visitor’s queries are brief yet clear. Instead of sending a long message detailing the different pricing tiers, the company representative directed the site visitor to an FAQ page. This can be helpful in answering exactly what the prospective customer needs and also introduce them to additional questions that may be relevant to them.

Sample Exchange №2

Rep: Hi! Thanks for visiting our site. Let me know if I can answer any questions.

Visitor: How long is the average delivery time?

Rep: Deliveries generally take between 3-5 business days. There may be some slight changes due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Can I help you with anything else?

Visitor: Can I track my package while it’s in transit?

Rep: Someone in our sales department can answer that question for you. You can reach them at 234.567.8910 between 9am and 5pm. Can I help you with anything else?

Visitor: No.

Rep: Got it. Thank you for visiting!

As with the first exchange, this second short chat response gets right to the point. The visitor’s phrases “average delivery time” and “track my package” likely trigger a specific response. The second question may elicit a more complex response or change on a case by case basis. That’s why the chat agent directed the visitor to a live representative.

One drawback of this short exchange is that it requires the potential customer to do some of their own research. It’s the difference between handing someone a map versus pointing out the route to them. Both are useful, but the latter requires less work on the part of the recipient.

The Effect of a Long Response

An increasingly popular live chat method is a lengthier response that includes clickable options for potential customers to choose from. This narrows down the topic and keeps their request more pointed.

Possibly the greatest advantage of long responses (if you’re using AI) is that it may require less employee involvement. If the chatbot provides comprehensive answers and follows a logical path anticipating the potential customer’s needs, there’s a chance that the potential customer will get the information they need without having to go out of their way to learn more.

The downside of a long response with options is that they may not see any relevant options. Because the response seems so thorough, they may believe that the option they’re seeking isn’t available at all. However, if you keep that in mind while drafting your response scripts, you can avoid that pitfall by covering all your bases.

Sample Exchange №1

Rep: Thanks for visiting [site name]! My name is [name]. What can I help you with today? [Clickable options]:

  1. Search specific products
  2. How do I [perform action]?
  3. Payments, pricing, and billing
  4. Something else

Visitor: *Selects an option*

Rep: Great. Let me tell you more about that. Explanation of. Are you interested in learning more?

Visitor: Yes.

Rep: What’s a good number to reach you at? We’ll contact you in the next hour to discuss this further.

Visitor: [phone number]

Rep: Great, thanks! Are there any other details you’d like to share with us so that we can have a better understanding of how we can help you when we call?

Visitor: [additional details]

Rep: Got it. We’ll be sure to keep these in mind. We’ll reach out to you shortly.

Sample Exchange №2

Rep: Hello! Welcome to [site name]. Are you interested in learning more about any of the following? [Clickable options]:

  1. New product releases
  2. Discounts and promo codes
  3. Product reviews
  4. Speak to a live team member

Visitor: *Selects an option*

Rep: Okay! I can tell you more about that. [Brief explanation provided.] Would you like more info on [selected option?]

Visitor: Yes.

Rep: Sounds good. I’d be happy to provide you with more info. What’s your email address? I’ll send you a more detailed message with links to videos and customer testimonials.

Visitor: [email address]

Rep: Great, thank you for sharing! Please check your inbox in the next 10 minutes for an email from [company name]. You may need to check your spam folder. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Visitor: No.

Rep: Alright. Thanks again for visiting! Click the chat button on the bottom right corner of the site homepage if you need more assistance. You can also call our 24/7 support team at 234.567.8910.

Both of the above exchanges are clearly more detailed than the short responses we reviewed earlier. By putting forward different options, you’re providing a sort of road map for a potential customer. Since you likely have pre-written responses associated with each option, it can be an efficient way to tell them precisely what they’re hoping to find out.

Additionally, requesting contact information is an intelligent way to transition someone from browsing your website to chatting with your sales team. You’re guiding them further down the sales funnel. If it doesn’t result in a sale right away, you can reach out to this person again directly to see if they’re still interested.

Real Life Accounts of Live Chat Responses

With the increasing prevalence of live chat features, there are tons of tips for businesses interested in adopting it for themselves.

Some successful live chat responses used by actual businesses include:

“Hi, I’m [name]. I can help with finding a product and giving super-fast answers to frequently asked questions. What can I assist you with today?”

“Hi, I’m [company’s] automated assistant that can help you resolve any buying, selling, or account issues. I can guide you to the answer or info you need or can get you to the [company] representative who can. [List of options]”

“Hello! This is [name]. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. I love them!”

“Hi! We see this is your first time chatting with us. Welcome to [company]! Explore our most popular topics, or let me know what you’re looking for.”

Final Thoughts

Providing live chat support is a must. Not only will it empower your business to connect with customers, but it also has the potential to drive sales. It’s a relatively simple way to improve the overall customer experience, and visitors will really appreciate a quick live chat response time.

In addition to a prompt customer service response time, it’s important to consider what kind of message you think will be most effective. This may be contingent on your offerings, resources, or typical customer demographic. Be sure to keep track of the outcome of your live chats. Analyzing chat transcripts and service level metrics can help ensure that you evolve to meet the needs of your prospective clientele. 

We hope this article has given you actionable insights into the benefits of live chats and best practices for your business’ site. Now go forth and implement an effective live chat feature to stay a step above the competition!

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