Do you offer live chat support on your website?
If you don’t, you should give it some serious thought. Customers increasingly expect live chat support, and in the 18-49 age group, it is the favored method of interacting with a company’s customer support department.
Live chat can also make sense from a business resource perspective too. A case study from Virgin Airways in 2012 claimed that just one live chat support agent could handle the same level of customer inquiries as 15 agents providing support over email.
How can a single agent do the work of 15? It’s likely the Virgin agent was more efficient because they used live chat canned responses.
Let’s take a look at what live chat canned responses are, how they can help both your business and your agents, then finish with some examples of canned responses you could use that appear written by a human and not a robot.
What is a canned response?
A canned response is not a message that is sent automatically at the start or end of a live chat session. These types of messages are called automated responses, such as informing a customer that all agents are busy so please hold for a moment.
A canned response is a text snippet that a support agent copies and pastes into a live chat session to save composition time. Ideally, the agent will have a range of pre-written text snippets to fit everyday customer support situations, like welcoming a customer or giving out returns policy information.
Each canned response doesn’t have to be the finished article either; the support agent can edit the snippet to better fit the circumstances before sending.
The benefits of using canned responses.
Canned responses have several benefits for both busy agents and the businesses that use them ―
Copy and pasting an appropriate message cuts down on typing time, so the agent can handle more customer sessions during their shift.
This can be beneficial for businesses whose average customer value is low and promotes more efficient use of business resources. Plus, if you have phrased your canned responses effectively, then one study demonstrates that using them shouldn’t impact the customer’s experience.
Canned responses can also reduce stress on a support agent. Thinking about what to write under pressure can be stressful for an agent. So a range of canned responses that fit many situations gives the agent extra space to think and react.
A final benefit for a business using canned responses is that they can maintain a desired tone of voice in their support messages. Not every support agent will be able to write messages that meet business requirements or customer expectations quickly.
A broad selection of canned responses available to your support agents will help to make your business’s communication more effective.
What sort of language should you use in your canned responses?
Whether you like it or not, the world of business is becoming less formal. Open collars with no tie, casual clothes Friday, and remote working have all played a part in softening the formality around work.
Business communication has become more informal too. The invention of email and SMS messaging has changed the language we use for everyday communication, with word contractions and slang have become commonplace.
Even serious enterprise-level communication tools like Slack have emojis just a mouse-click away to assist a deeper expression of meaning.
So the language you use in your canned responses needn’t be too business-formal or even robotic. For example, the simple step of personalizing a canned response with the customer’s name can transform a flat statement into a warmer one that resonates.
Additionally, impersonal canned responses that aren’t appropriate for a given situation may irritate your customers. You should aim to write as many as you feel your team will need.
So with this concept in mind, here are seven canned response examples, showing how you can transform robotic language into more personal and compelling support messaging.
7 Live Chat Canned Response Examples for common scenarios.
Here are seven live chat canned response examples. We’ll start with the ones that may sound impersonal to customers, then give examples of alternatives using warmer, more informal language.
In some cases, a canned response will need personalizing before sending; the part that needs editing is enclosed in [square brackets].
Just like any time people begin a conversation, it’s always courteous to start by saying hello.
The following is the sort of greeting you sometimes are sent when you start a new live chat session ―
Welcome to Oats Industries. How can I be of service today?
Avoid dry speech and instead address your customer as you might do on the telephone ―
Hi, thanks for contacting Oats. How can I help you today [First Name]?
Using someone’s name automatically makes your message more personal. A first name is best, but you can use a salutation and last name if that’s more appropriate for your business.
Quite often, your agents will need to ask a customer for standard account information. This step in a live chat is a perfect situation for using a canned response.
Avoid using phrases like ―
In order to proceed, please type your customer reference number and date of purchase.
Try the more conversational ―
Yes, I can help you with this. To start us off, please can I get your Customer Account reference and the date you bought the [Item]?
Things go wrong from time to time, and you’ll need to say sorry. An apology can often go a long way when dealing with upset customers, so make sure that if you use a canned response, it’s worded so that it won’t make the situation any worse.
I understand your frustration. Please accept our apologies.
Empty platitudes like ‘I understand your frustration’ is likely to irritate a customer even further. Humanize your response and be more specific with every situation. For example, if your business occasionally misses a delivery date, have a canned response on hand for the problem that says something like ―
I’m really sorry [First Name] that your [Item] didn’t reach you on time. Usually [Delivery Company Name] get’s our deliveries there on time. I’ll flag this with my manager, so she knows there’s been a problem.
Create a canned response for common problems, so your staff can be prepared to respond with warmth and humility in all situations.
Clarifying the position.
Before you offer advice to a customer, you may wish to clarify the problem they are presenting, especially if it has taken a lengthy process to gather all the details.
So, to summarise, you are saying that because of [problem], [outcome] has happened.
Lighten the mood a little by using a phrase such as ―
To make sure I have this right, you’re saying that because of [problem], you can’t do [outcome]? Is this a fair summary of your issue?
Summarising a situation in this way and requesting the customer’s approval means that both parties are on the same page, and you can confidently move to the next step and work on a resolution.
Telling someone ‘No.’
The situation will always arise where a customer, despite your best efforts, is unreasonable, and you have to say no to their demands.
I’m sorry, we can’t provide that to you.
Simple short messages telling a customer no, especially if you don’t include a reason, will irritate customers and make them feel that you have not listened.
Whenever you have to tell a customer no, always try to give them the reason as well.
I’m very sorry, but we can’t provide that [Service] to you today. This is because of [Reason]. Can I perhaps offer you an [Alternative Service]?
Asking a customer to hold.
How often have you had a message like this?
Please hold while I transfer you.
It’s impersonal, robotic, and can make you feel like someone is passing you over because they can’t be bothered dealing with your query.
Instead, let the customer know why you need to transfer them and reassure them that their wait shouldn’t be too long.
A message like the one below is warmer, tells them why they need transferring, and manages expectations about waiting times.
OK, I need to transfer you to another department, which looks after [Type of Query]. Are you OK to hold a moment while I transfer you? It shouldn’t be too long.
There is no need for your customer service staff to type a goodbye message either. Save time with a canned response, but avoid the robotic and impersonal ―
Thank you for contacting Oats Industries.
Soften it up a little ―
I’m pleased I could help out today, [First Name]. Thanks for contacting us.
Occasionally, no matter how hard you try, you can’t solve all the issues that a customer contacts you with. So you could have a canned response that reads ―
I’m sorry I could not resolve the [problem] today, [first name]. Our team will email you in the next 24 hours with a solution.
You want your customers to feel appreciated when they contact you for assistance via live chat. But it’s not cost-effective for you to have every single message typed out by hand to give a more personal service.
So your business should use canned responses. Try and strike the right balance with your canned response’s tone and voice. Favor warmer, more casual messages over the robotic and formal, especially if you’re in the B2C market.
It helps even more if your staff can personalize each response before they click send. So take time to review with your team any existing canned responses you use to see if there is room for improvement.
We hope you find the examples above useful when you write your next canned responses.