Blog
Live Chat Support

Your Live Chat Support Guide: Benefits, Best Practices, and Helpful Tools

19.0
min
-
Jordan Miller
-
Oct 4, 2023

Table of contents

Blog
Live Chat Support

Your Live Chat Support Guide: Benefits, Best Practices, and Helpful Tools

0
19
min
-
Jordan Miller
-
Oct 4, 2023
My online store has more than
1500
monthly support tickets
support tickets per month
On average, brands receive one support ticket for every 15 orders. How many orders does your store generate every month?
On average you will create X support tickets per month
0
2,000
4,000
6,000
8,000
10,000
To see the most value from Gorgias, brands typically try to automate at least 30% of support interactions.
I want automation to answer
30 %
of my support tickets
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
Voice
Custom Price
$0
/mo
Receive inbound & make outbound calls
Monthly Voice tickets
No Voice tickets
SMS
Custom Price
$0
/mo
Send and receive SMS from Gorgias
Monthly SMS tickets
No SMS tickets
Plan Summary
Pro
$360/mo
Tier 1
$0/mo
Tier 1
$0/mo
custom
Tier 1
$0/mo
custom
Total
$360/mo
Switch to annual and save 2 months
Monthly ROI
Time saved
48 hrs
Money saved
$300
How is ROI calculated?

Live chat might feel like a big commitment, but the juice is worth the squeeze. (In other words, live chat support is well worth the effort.)

Customers love live chat because they can get ahold of you quickly and casually. They can get a fast answer, and don’t have to go digging for an email address to get ahold of you. In fact, 86% of live chat interactions end with a satisfied customer. 

Your business also benefits from live chat. It leads to fast resolutions, since back-and-forth responses are so rapid. Plus, using live chat for customer engagement during the flow of shopping can be a great way to boost sales.

Below, you’ll learn more about the benefits of live chat for support, including tips to automate live chat to make it a good use of your team’s time. 

{{lead-magnet-1}}

What is live chat support?

Live chat support is form of customer service where your support reps help customers in real time over a chat window on your website. 

It differs from other support methods like phone calls or emails because customers don’t have to open their phone or an email browser and wait for a response from someone at the call center. 

The basic version of live chat support is a widget that simply allows customers to start a chat session with a customer support agent. Here’s what these interactions look like for the agent (left) and the customer (right):

The live chat view in Gorgias from the agent and customer perspective

         

Some live chat software offer many more features, such as self-service menus and the ability to reach out to customers. Here’s an upgraded live chat widget on Sol de Janeiro’s site that gives customers self-service answers to common questions and lets them modify their orders without needing to speak to an agent:

Upgraded live chat window.

         

Regardless of your live chat’s sophistication, live chat support makes a meaningful difference for businesses that use it: 79% of businesses say live chat support has a positive impact on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.

How does live chat support differ from a chatbot?

Live chat and chatbots are both popups on a site that invite the user to type their problem into a box to get an answer.

The difference is that chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) to determine customer intent and respond in human-ish ways. Live chat connects actual humans to support customers.

While the two experiences look similar on the customer end, speaking to an unhelpful bot that’s mimicking an agent can be a frustrating experience.

Instead, a better alternative to live chat includes other types of self-service in the chat window, such as the self-service menus like the ones in the video below:

Read our complete guide on live chat vs. chatbots for more information. 

The benefits of live chat for customer support teams and customers

Compared to legacy support methods (including customer service email and phone support), messaging support channels like live chat feel like a breath of fresh air for customers and customer support agents alike.

Here are just a few of the elements that your teams and customers will appreciate when you add live chat as a support option.

Live chat problems generally get solved fast (~42 seconds)

Live chat is a great way for customers to get their problems solved quickly — 42 seconds on average.

42 seconds is not a lot of time, which is great considering 66% of customers expect near-instant responses to questions. Customers who pick up the phone to solve an issue will still be selecting 1 for English or 2 for español when the average live chat customer has gotten their problem solved.

Want to learn more about other instant-messaging channels like social media DMs, SMS texting support, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp? Check out the individual links above or our post on customer support messaging.

Live chat still allows teams to use templates and automation

One of the potential downsides to live chat support is that it seems like it can be resource-intensive. But live chat support doesn’t have to mean that your human agents are manually typing every answer to every question.

Many live chat solutions can use bot-like software to automate responses to common, routine requests “Where is my order?” Even better, some solutions give customers menus to find answers without having to feign conversation with a “smart” bot:

Automated live chat support.
         

Of course, some conversations will need that human touch no self-service solution can provide. When customers ask for a human agent, your human agents can either spin up a response from scratch or use a canned response as a starting point.

For example, you could create scripts for that same question, “Where is my order?” Something like, “We understand you want to get your items soon! Your order, [title or order number], is on its way to you now. You can expect to receive it within [timeframe].” Your agent will only have to fill in those two fields and send the response.

If you use Gorgias, you can upgrade your canned responses with Macros, which include variables. With variables, your agents don’t need to look for customer information to fill those fields — Gorgias automatically pulls the appropriate information for each customer from your ecommerce platform:

Automated, personalized responses

         

Live chat humanizes and personalizes support interactions

Live chat gives your support agents an opportunity to nurture new and existing customer relationships with a conversational, personalized service experience.

First, live chat by nature is more casual than many other communication channels. Unlike email, which tends to be more formal, the instant back-and-forth offers a more natural forum for emojis, friendly banter, and authentic conversations — of course, all of that is secondary to providing prompt, helpful service.

With the right live chat software, you can also achieve a high degree of personalization in live chat conversations. With Gorgias, which is kind of like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, agents can see a customer’s entire order and conversation history with your brand in the customer sidebar:

Helpful live chat support boosts customer support.

         

This gives you an opportunity to use the customer’s name, reference past purchases and interactions, avoid asking for information the customer has already given your brand (like order number or shipping address), and understand whether the customer is a superfan or had a frustrating experience. 

Live chat is an effective way to drive sales

Your primary goal as an ecommerce business is to sell more products to more people, and live chat can help you do just that. Live chat has been shown to increase conversion rate (visitors to sales) by 12% on average and website visitors who interact with your live chat widget become 2.8 times more likely to buy than those who don’t. 

Why exactly is this the case? Say a prospect has a question about a product. They add it to their shopping cart, but are still negotiating the purchase in their head:

  • Did I select the right size?
  • Will the item arrive in time for the holiday?
  • Will I be able to return the item if I don’t like it?
  • Is the item compatible with other products I own?
  • Did I select the best product for my needs?

Without a convenient support channel, customers may just abandon the purchase. But when you give them the ability to open a convenient chat window and get an instant answer, you reduce friction and lower cart abandonment.

With Gorgias, you can take this a step further and proactively reach out to customers who display certain behaviors with chat campaigns. For example, you can set up a live chat campaign to automatically trigger when a customer adds a product to their cart but lingers on the checkout page.

Likewise, you automatically reach out to customers on certain pages, to proactively ask if they need support and, if the moment is right, upsell them:

Proactive chat campaigns.

         

Plus, if you use Gorgias, you can easily include product cards in your customer service responses within the platform, giving your customers an visual and easy link to product pages within the live chat:

Personalize live chat support.

         

Still not convinced? Read our deeper post on how to use live chat to boost sales.

Live chat resonates better with bigger spenders

If the main goal of any ecommerce store is to sell more products to more people, a close second is selling more (or more expensive) products within individual transactions — or raising average order value (AOV), a metric your customer support team has a surprising impact on.

One survey found that among those who consistently spend more online per month (between $250 and $500), 63% have increased loyalty to brands and companies offering live chat support experiences.

This makes sense: As you spend more, your pre-sales questions become more important. If you’re unsure about the product, shipping times, or refund policy, you won’t have the confidence to make a large purchase. The ability to contact support right before a sale is incredibly important for this reason. 

Live chat could also help with enormous wholesale purchases, too. CROSSNET, a merchant using Gorgias, won a $450,000 sale because they promptly responded to a live chat conversation.

Live chat support can get you huge sales.
CROSSNET
         

Check out CROSSNET’s customer story to learn how they did it.

Live chat best practices

If you’re operating an ecommerce business, implementing live chat support is a strategic move that can catalyze growth and increase your sales (just like all support channels). But like anything new, you want to be sure to implement your live chat experience properly.

First, learn how to add live chat to your Shopify store (or Magento store) and read our guide to getting live chat up and running within two weeks. Then, follow these best practices if you’re just getting started — and if you’re already using live chat to a degree, use these as a check-up to evaluate the health of your live chat efforts.

Best practices for agents and handling conversations

The following best practices are for support agents to make live chat interactions effective.

1) Promptly respond to messages, but don’t rush

People value knowing they’ll be interacting with a real person, not a bot. So they don’t expect instantaneous responses — but they don’t want to be kept waiting, either. It’s always important to be prompt (and the definition of “prompt” varies depending on your industry’s expectations), but support agents should take enough time to be sure they fully understand the question or complaint so they can respond appropriately.

In other words, customers who get their problems solved correctly the first time are happy to wait slightly longer. Prompt and accurate is better than rushed and incomplete.

Related: 11 live chat support mistakes you should definitely avoid

2) Be transparent and honest

Not every problem can be solved instantly, and that’s OK. Customers come to live chat because they can’t solve their issues with self-service resources, and that means live chat support often gets more complex questions.

It’s important to have an open dialog with customers, especially skeptical customers. It’s 100% OK to let a customer know that you need a little time to look into something. Telling them is certainly far better than appearing to ghost them or trying to trot out a pat answer that won’t satisfy them.

Similarly, there will be situations where an agent doesn’t have the resources or approval to move forward with an issue and needs to push the concern to another agent or supervisor or even to your other support channels.

Agents should be transparent, clear, and honest when this happens: People appreciate honesty and follow-ups — and they despise overconfident wrong answers or a lack of clarity about next steps.

3) Keep the conversation focused

One of the disadvantages of text-based conversations is that you can’t control the clarity of the other party. They might be wildly unclear about their problem or they might start branching off into multiple topics within a single thread or encounter.

Support agents need to keep conversations focused on a single problem at a time and may need to guide customers along to this end. Once the first problem is resolved, then it’s great to tackle the next one. But letting things devolve into a confusing mishmash is a quick way to end up harming customer satisfaction.

4) Keep responses concise, and ask questions

Encourage your live chat agents to keep responses brief yet friendly. The longer and more complex the messages you send, the greater the chance of confusion or missed points. The customer could respond to just half the message, and then the agent has to awkwardly repeat the unanswered half.

Most of the time, you want to make sure that any individual message has just one thing to do or respond to in it. Falling into a call and response sort of pattern, where the customer responds to each prompt, is a good way to keep things streamlined.

5) Follow through until you resolve the issue

Follow-through is key as well during live support interactions. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve completed the interaction and moving on to another task or customer only to realize that you’ve left the customer hanging, still waiting on some crucial piece of information.

Be sure your agents aren’t unintentionally walking away too soon. The best way to do this is to proactively check with the customer to make sure they agree that everything is resolved.

And if you use Gorgias, you can automatically send the customer a satisfaction survey to gauge the success of the interaction:

Automatically send customers CSAT surveys after live chat conversations with Gorgias

         

6) Share helpful resources when possible

Sometimes, the customer’s comments reveal that they need something more complex than what will fit in a little chat box. Maybe they’re struggling with how to use some core functionality in your device or your mobile app or they have a technical question about a product that’s answered in some technical documentation already on your website.

When customers need more education or detailed instructions, leverage your existing self-service resources, like knowledge base articles, tech specs, or even product pages. Your agents should feel free to offer links to your team’s content assets, allowing customers to solve their own problems.

Of course, invite them to contact your company again if they still can’t figure it out. And if you can give them clear routing instructions, such as a specific phone number to call that lets them skip the IVR phone tree, it makes sense to do so at this point.

Best practices for operations and management

These best practices are for customer support leaders to set up live chat effectively.

1) Create an automated initial prompt

As great as your live chat customer support team is, it’s not realistic to expect them to be able to respond to every customer in real time. One strategy that gives them a little more buffer is to create an automated initial prompt that boosts your first-response times.

This way, when a website visitor sends a message in your live chat widget, they get an immediate response that stops them from navigating away from your site. This also buys your team members a few seconds to pull up the chat request and respond.

We actually do this at Gorgias — here’s the message we send, and the Rule that automatically fires the message. 

Rule to automatically reply when customers message you on live chat.

         

It immediately lets the website visitor know an agent is going to handle their issue, and it buys the agent 10 or 15 seconds to wrap up and get ready.

2) Have specific live chat support hours

Your business might not have a 24-hour customer support team in place and may never need to, depending on your market and your competition. If you aren’t offering 24-hour support, then set and advertise a specific set of hours that your team will be available for customers.

If you use Gorgias, you can set your live chat to automatically turn on and off with offline mode, which still lets shoppers find automated answers and submit offline form.

Turn live chat on and off when your agents are available.

         

You can use a chatbot or self-service to take on the after-hours work, solving simple queries and pushing more complex ones to the next-morning queue for your human agents. This can be a good strategy; just make sure your customers know that that’s what you’re doing.

3) Adjust Macros (or templates) for live chat

It’s a best practice to modify your Macros and other customer service scripts to fit the format. The length and line breaks that make sense for an email may not look right in the live chat window. 

Likewise, depending on your brand’s tone of voice, you might lean a little more casual on live chat than other, long-form channels. Of course, your templates should all be clear and fully answer the question, regardless of channel. 

4) Prioritize live chat conversations

Customers using live chat are actively on your site — potentially with an item in their cart, and a question they need answered to click “Buy now.” 

On the other hand, the customer that emailed you isn’t actively waiting on a response. They’ve probably already gone to work or soccer practice, and won’t even check their email inbox for a few hours. 

For that reason, it’s important to set up automations that bump live chat tickets to the top of your inbox. If you use Gorgias, here’s a Rule you can use to tag live chat tickets as Urgent and assign it to your chat team:

Rule to prioritize live chat support requests.

         

Choosing live chat support software for ecommerce companies

Of course, integrating live chat support into your website (and into your customer service and support workflows) requires some form of live chat support software. That’s a whole discussion in itself, but the most crucial factors are feature sets and integrations.

You certainly need software that accommodates everything you want to do with live chat. Beyond that, ask these three crucial questions for any software you’re considering:

  1. Does this integrate with my ecommerce platform?
  2. Does the live chat tool come bundled with a larger helpdesk?
  3. Does this integrate with my other customer service channels?
  4. Does the tool’s pricing make sense for my business?
  5. How easy is it to install?

And good news: We have answers for you. Read about the best live chat apps for a variety of use cases:

How Gorgias makes live chat support low-effort, high-impact

One concern about adding live chat support is that you’ll get a flurry of messages from customers who expect an instant response and, like many brands, you don’t have the staffing bandwidth to keep up. The right live chat platform offers features to help smaller businesses reap the benefits of a live chat, even if they can’t staff it 24/7.

Here are a few Gorgias features that make live chat manageable for small teams:

Order Management Flows for self-service order management and tracking

Order Management Flows are a type of customer self-service that lets customers track, cancel, or return an order within the live chat widget — no agent needed. This is a great way to reduce the number of tickets that actually make it to your agents. Plus, 88% of customers expect this kind of self-service functionality on your website.

You can customize which self-service options your customers can access within the live chat, too:

With Gorgias, you can control what order management capabilities customers have within live chat.

         

Flows and article recommendations in chat

Order Management Flows are great for order management, but other customer questions that would still turn into tickets for your agents: Questions like “What’s your refund policy?” or “Where do you ship?” Gorgias’ live chat also includes Flows, which you can set up to give personalized answers to common customer questions with a single click.

On top of Quick Responses, Gorgias live chat can also use natural language processing (NLP) to understand a customer’s query and recommend relevant articles in your Help Center: Gorgias’ version of a knowledge base, or a super-powered FAQ.

Contact Forms

Even with all of these self-service options, some customers will want to talk to an agent. And for stores that can’t staff live chat, this means you may get live chat questions that go unanswered. With Gorgias, you can include a field that asks customers for their email addresses so you can answer their questions when you come back online.

Contact Forms aren’t just good for following up if you missed an incoming message. You can also enroll customers who submit their email in email marketing sequences to drive sales, just like Bokksu:

“The email capture feature on Gorgias live chat allows us to collect new email addresses on a daily basis! This is highly convenient and helps us drive sales!”

– Danny Taing, Founder & CEO, Bokksu

Set business hours for chat availability

Finally, if your team can only cover live chat during certain times of the day, you can also set up business hours in Gorgias to either completely remove chat from your website or change the chat’s setting when you’re offline.

Install Gorgias live chat in a couple of clicks

Gorgias is a leading all-in-one ecommerce customer support and helpdesk platform that’s laser-focused on the needs of ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat feature is flexible and powerful thanks to numerous automation features, plus it can be enabled in just a few clicks.

Gorgias’s proactive chat tools can help you meet your customers’ needs, improve your conversion rates, and consistently improve the customer experience. And your agents can use Gorgias live chat on desktop, iOS, and Android. 

Ready to take the plunge and start reaping the benefits of live chat support? See more of what life is like with Gorgias live chat. Or, book a demo to chat with our team.

Live chat might feel like a big commitment, but the juice is worth the squeeze. (In other words, live chat support is well worth the effort.)

Customers love live chat because they can get ahold of you quickly and casually. They can get a fast answer, and don’t have to go digging for an email address to get ahold of you. In fact, 86% of live chat interactions end with a satisfied customer. 

Your business also benefits from live chat. It leads to fast resolutions, since back-and-forth responses are so rapid. Plus, using live chat for customer engagement during the flow of shopping can be a great way to boost sales.

Below, you’ll learn more about the benefits of live chat for support, including tips to automate live chat to make it a good use of your team’s time. 

{{lead-magnet-1}}

What is live chat support?

Live chat support is form of customer service where your support reps help customers in real time over a chat window on your website. 

It differs from other support methods like phone calls or emails because customers don’t have to open their phone or an email browser and wait for a response from someone at the call center. 

The basic version of live chat support is a widget that simply allows customers to start a chat session with a customer support agent. Here’s what these interactions look like for the agent (left) and the customer (right):

The live chat view in Gorgias from the agent and customer perspective

         

Some live chat software offer many more features, such as self-service menus and the ability to reach out to customers. Here’s an upgraded live chat widget on Sol de Janeiro’s site that gives customers self-service answers to common questions and lets them modify their orders without needing to speak to an agent:

Upgraded live chat window.

         

Regardless of your live chat’s sophistication, live chat support makes a meaningful difference for businesses that use it: 79% of businesses say live chat support has a positive impact on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.

How does live chat support differ from a chatbot?

Live chat and chatbots are both popups on a site that invite the user to type their problem into a box to get an answer.

The difference is that chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) to determine customer intent and respond in human-ish ways. Live chat connects actual humans to support customers.

While the two experiences look similar on the customer end, speaking to an unhelpful bot that’s mimicking an agent can be a frustrating experience.

Instead, a better alternative to live chat includes other types of self-service in the chat window, such as the self-service menus like the ones in the video below:

Read our complete guide on live chat vs. chatbots for more information. 

The benefits of live chat for customer support teams and customers

Compared to legacy support methods (including customer service email and phone support), messaging support channels like live chat feel like a breath of fresh air for customers and customer support agents alike.

Here are just a few of the elements that your teams and customers will appreciate when you add live chat as a support option.

Live chat problems generally get solved fast (~42 seconds)

Live chat is a great way for customers to get their problems solved quickly — 42 seconds on average.

42 seconds is not a lot of time, which is great considering 66% of customers expect near-instant responses to questions. Customers who pick up the phone to solve an issue will still be selecting 1 for English or 2 for español when the average live chat customer has gotten their problem solved.

Want to learn more about other instant-messaging channels like social media DMs, SMS texting support, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp? Check out the individual links above or our post on customer support messaging.

Live chat still allows teams to use templates and automation

One of the potential downsides to live chat support is that it seems like it can be resource-intensive. But live chat support doesn’t have to mean that your human agents are manually typing every answer to every question.

Many live chat solutions can use bot-like software to automate responses to common, routine requests “Where is my order?” Even better, some solutions give customers menus to find answers without having to feign conversation with a “smart” bot:

Automated live chat support.
         

Of course, some conversations will need that human touch no self-service solution can provide. When customers ask for a human agent, your human agents can either spin up a response from scratch or use a canned response as a starting point.

For example, you could create scripts for that same question, “Where is my order?” Something like, “We understand you want to get your items soon! Your order, [title or order number], is on its way to you now. You can expect to receive it within [timeframe].” Your agent will only have to fill in those two fields and send the response.

If you use Gorgias, you can upgrade your canned responses with Macros, which include variables. With variables, your agents don’t need to look for customer information to fill those fields — Gorgias automatically pulls the appropriate information for each customer from your ecommerce platform:

Automated, personalized responses

         

Live chat humanizes and personalizes support interactions

Live chat gives your support agents an opportunity to nurture new and existing customer relationships with a conversational, personalized service experience.

First, live chat by nature is more casual than many other communication channels. Unlike email, which tends to be more formal, the instant back-and-forth offers a more natural forum for emojis, friendly banter, and authentic conversations — of course, all of that is secondary to providing prompt, helpful service.

With the right live chat software, you can also achieve a high degree of personalization in live chat conversations. With Gorgias, which is kind of like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, agents can see a customer’s entire order and conversation history with your brand in the customer sidebar:

Helpful live chat support boosts customer support.

         

This gives you an opportunity to use the customer’s name, reference past purchases and interactions, avoid asking for information the customer has already given your brand (like order number or shipping address), and understand whether the customer is a superfan or had a frustrating experience. 

Live chat is an effective way to drive sales

Your primary goal as an ecommerce business is to sell more products to more people, and live chat can help you do just that. Live chat has been shown to increase conversion rate (visitors to sales) by 12% on average and website visitors who interact with your live chat widget become 2.8 times more likely to buy than those who don’t. 

Why exactly is this the case? Say a prospect has a question about a product. They add it to their shopping cart, but are still negotiating the purchase in their head:

  • Did I select the right size?
  • Will the item arrive in time for the holiday?
  • Will I be able to return the item if I don’t like it?
  • Is the item compatible with other products I own?
  • Did I select the best product for my needs?

Without a convenient support channel, customers may just abandon the purchase. But when you give them the ability to open a convenient chat window and get an instant answer, you reduce friction and lower cart abandonment.

With Gorgias, you can take this a step further and proactively reach out to customers who display certain behaviors with chat campaigns. For example, you can set up a live chat campaign to automatically trigger when a customer adds a product to their cart but lingers on the checkout page.

Likewise, you automatically reach out to customers on certain pages, to proactively ask if they need support and, if the moment is right, upsell them:

Proactive chat campaigns.

         

Plus, if you use Gorgias, you can easily include product cards in your customer service responses within the platform, giving your customers an visual and easy link to product pages within the live chat:

Personalize live chat support.

         

Still not convinced? Read our deeper post on how to use live chat to boost sales.

Live chat resonates better with bigger spenders

If the main goal of any ecommerce store is to sell more products to more people, a close second is selling more (or more expensive) products within individual transactions — or raising average order value (AOV), a metric your customer support team has a surprising impact on.

One survey found that among those who consistently spend more online per month (between $250 and $500), 63% have increased loyalty to brands and companies offering live chat support experiences.

This makes sense: As you spend more, your pre-sales questions become more important. If you’re unsure about the product, shipping times, or refund policy, you won’t have the confidence to make a large purchase. The ability to contact support right before a sale is incredibly important for this reason. 

Live chat could also help with enormous wholesale purchases, too. CROSSNET, a merchant using Gorgias, won a $450,000 sale because they promptly responded to a live chat conversation.

Live chat support can get you huge sales.
CROSSNET
         

Check out CROSSNET’s customer story to learn how they did it.

Live chat best practices

If you’re operating an ecommerce business, implementing live chat support is a strategic move that can catalyze growth and increase your sales (just like all support channels). But like anything new, you want to be sure to implement your live chat experience properly.

First, learn how to add live chat to your Shopify store (or Magento store) and read our guide to getting live chat up and running within two weeks. Then, follow these best practices if you’re just getting started — and if you’re already using live chat to a degree, use these as a check-up to evaluate the health of your live chat efforts.

Best practices for agents and handling conversations

The following best practices are for support agents to make live chat interactions effective.

1) Promptly respond to messages, but don’t rush

People value knowing they’ll be interacting with a real person, not a bot. So they don’t expect instantaneous responses — but they don’t want to be kept waiting, either. It’s always important to be prompt (and the definition of “prompt” varies depending on your industry’s expectations), but support agents should take enough time to be sure they fully understand the question or complaint so they can respond appropriately.

In other words, customers who get their problems solved correctly the first time are happy to wait slightly longer. Prompt and accurate is better than rushed and incomplete.

Related: 11 live chat support mistakes you should definitely avoid

2) Be transparent and honest

Not every problem can be solved instantly, and that’s OK. Customers come to live chat because they can’t solve their issues with self-service resources, and that means live chat support often gets more complex questions.

It’s important to have an open dialog with customers, especially skeptical customers. It’s 100% OK to let a customer know that you need a little time to look into something. Telling them is certainly far better than appearing to ghost them or trying to trot out a pat answer that won’t satisfy them.

Similarly, there will be situations where an agent doesn’t have the resources or approval to move forward with an issue and needs to push the concern to another agent or supervisor or even to your other support channels.

Agents should be transparent, clear, and honest when this happens: People appreciate honesty and follow-ups — and they despise overconfident wrong answers or a lack of clarity about next steps.

3) Keep the conversation focused

One of the disadvantages of text-based conversations is that you can’t control the clarity of the other party. They might be wildly unclear about their problem or they might start branching off into multiple topics within a single thread or encounter.

Support agents need to keep conversations focused on a single problem at a time and may need to guide customers along to this end. Once the first problem is resolved, then it’s great to tackle the next one. But letting things devolve into a confusing mishmash is a quick way to end up harming customer satisfaction.

4) Keep responses concise, and ask questions

Encourage your live chat agents to keep responses brief yet friendly. The longer and more complex the messages you send, the greater the chance of confusion or missed points. The customer could respond to just half the message, and then the agent has to awkwardly repeat the unanswered half.

Most of the time, you want to make sure that any individual message has just one thing to do or respond to in it. Falling into a call and response sort of pattern, where the customer responds to each prompt, is a good way to keep things streamlined.

5) Follow through until you resolve the issue

Follow-through is key as well during live support interactions. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve completed the interaction and moving on to another task or customer only to realize that you’ve left the customer hanging, still waiting on some crucial piece of information.

Be sure your agents aren’t unintentionally walking away too soon. The best way to do this is to proactively check with the customer to make sure they agree that everything is resolved.

And if you use Gorgias, you can automatically send the customer a satisfaction survey to gauge the success of the interaction:

Automatically send customers CSAT surveys after live chat conversations with Gorgias

         

6) Share helpful resources when possible

Sometimes, the customer’s comments reveal that they need something more complex than what will fit in a little chat box. Maybe they’re struggling with how to use some core functionality in your device or your mobile app or they have a technical question about a product that’s answered in some technical documentation already on your website.

When customers need more education or detailed instructions, leverage your existing self-service resources, like knowledge base articles, tech specs, or even product pages. Your agents should feel free to offer links to your team’s content assets, allowing customers to solve their own problems.

Of course, invite them to contact your company again if they still can’t figure it out. And if you can give them clear routing instructions, such as a specific phone number to call that lets them skip the IVR phone tree, it makes sense to do so at this point.

Best practices for operations and management

These best practices are for customer support leaders to set up live chat effectively.

1) Create an automated initial prompt

As great as your live chat customer support team is, it’s not realistic to expect them to be able to respond to every customer in real time. One strategy that gives them a little more buffer is to create an automated initial prompt that boosts your first-response times.

This way, when a website visitor sends a message in your live chat widget, they get an immediate response that stops them from navigating away from your site. This also buys your team members a few seconds to pull up the chat request and respond.

We actually do this at Gorgias — here’s the message we send, and the Rule that automatically fires the message. 

Rule to automatically reply when customers message you on live chat.

         

It immediately lets the website visitor know an agent is going to handle their issue, and it buys the agent 10 or 15 seconds to wrap up and get ready.

2) Have specific live chat support hours

Your business might not have a 24-hour customer support team in place and may never need to, depending on your market and your competition. If you aren’t offering 24-hour support, then set and advertise a specific set of hours that your team will be available for customers.

If you use Gorgias, you can set your live chat to automatically turn on and off with offline mode, which still lets shoppers find automated answers and submit offline form.

Turn live chat on and off when your agents are available.

         

You can use a chatbot or self-service to take on the after-hours work, solving simple queries and pushing more complex ones to the next-morning queue for your human agents. This can be a good strategy; just make sure your customers know that that’s what you’re doing.

3) Adjust Macros (or templates) for live chat

It’s a best practice to modify your Macros and other customer service scripts to fit the format. The length and line breaks that make sense for an email may not look right in the live chat window. 

Likewise, depending on your brand’s tone of voice, you might lean a little more casual on live chat than other, long-form channels. Of course, your templates should all be clear and fully answer the question, regardless of channel. 

4) Prioritize live chat conversations

Customers using live chat are actively on your site — potentially with an item in their cart, and a question they need answered to click “Buy now.” 

On the other hand, the customer that emailed you isn’t actively waiting on a response. They’ve probably already gone to work or soccer practice, and won’t even check their email inbox for a few hours. 

For that reason, it’s important to set up automations that bump live chat tickets to the top of your inbox. If you use Gorgias, here’s a Rule you can use to tag live chat tickets as Urgent and assign it to your chat team:

Rule to prioritize live chat support requests.

         

Choosing live chat support software for ecommerce companies

Of course, integrating live chat support into your website (and into your customer service and support workflows) requires some form of live chat support software. That’s a whole discussion in itself, but the most crucial factors are feature sets and integrations.

You certainly need software that accommodates everything you want to do with live chat. Beyond that, ask these three crucial questions for any software you’re considering:

  1. Does this integrate with my ecommerce platform?
  2. Does the live chat tool come bundled with a larger helpdesk?
  3. Does this integrate with my other customer service channels?
  4. Does the tool’s pricing make sense for my business?
  5. How easy is it to install?

And good news: We have answers for you. Read about the best live chat apps for a variety of use cases:

How Gorgias makes live chat support low-effort, high-impact

One concern about adding live chat support is that you’ll get a flurry of messages from customers who expect an instant response and, like many brands, you don’t have the staffing bandwidth to keep up. The right live chat platform offers features to help smaller businesses reap the benefits of a live chat, even if they can’t staff it 24/7.

Here are a few Gorgias features that make live chat manageable for small teams:

Order Management Flows for self-service order management and tracking

Order Management Flows are a type of customer self-service that lets customers track, cancel, or return an order within the live chat widget — no agent needed. This is a great way to reduce the number of tickets that actually make it to your agents. Plus, 88% of customers expect this kind of self-service functionality on your website.

You can customize which self-service options your customers can access within the live chat, too:

With Gorgias, you can control what order management capabilities customers have within live chat.

         

Flows and article recommendations in chat

Order Management Flows are great for order management, but other customer questions that would still turn into tickets for your agents: Questions like “What’s your refund policy?” or “Where do you ship?” Gorgias’ live chat also includes Flows, which you can set up to give personalized answers to common customer questions with a single click.

On top of Quick Responses, Gorgias live chat can also use natural language processing (NLP) to understand a customer’s query and recommend relevant articles in your Help Center: Gorgias’ version of a knowledge base, or a super-powered FAQ.

Contact Forms

Even with all of these self-service options, some customers will want to talk to an agent. And for stores that can’t staff live chat, this means you may get live chat questions that go unanswered. With Gorgias, you can include a field that asks customers for their email addresses so you can answer their questions when you come back online.

Contact Forms aren’t just good for following up if you missed an incoming message. You can also enroll customers who submit their email in email marketing sequences to drive sales, just like Bokksu:

“The email capture feature on Gorgias live chat allows us to collect new email addresses on a daily basis! This is highly convenient and helps us drive sales!”

– Danny Taing, Founder & CEO, Bokksu

Set business hours for chat availability

Finally, if your team can only cover live chat during certain times of the day, you can also set up business hours in Gorgias to either completely remove chat from your website or change the chat’s setting when you’re offline.

Install Gorgias live chat in a couple of clicks

Gorgias is a leading all-in-one ecommerce customer support and helpdesk platform that’s laser-focused on the needs of ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat feature is flexible and powerful thanks to numerous automation features, plus it can be enabled in just a few clicks.

Gorgias’s proactive chat tools can help you meet your customers’ needs, improve your conversion rates, and consistently improve the customer experience. And your agents can use Gorgias live chat on desktop, iOS, and Android. 

Ready to take the plunge and start reaping the benefits of live chat support? See more of what life is like with Gorgias live chat. Or, book a demo to chat with our team.

FAQ’s

What are the best live chat softwares?

The best live chat software options are LiveAgent, tawk.to, and Gorgias (if you're an ecommerce company).

Is live chat smart for small stores?

Live chat can be too much pressure for small stores to manage 24/7. However, live chat tools like give you tools (like offline mode) and automated Q&As that can reap the benefits of live chat without all the effort.

How hard is it to set up live chat?

Setting up live chat only takes a few clicks, if you choose an easy-to-use software. Setting up automations and customizations can take more time, but they usually pay off in the long run in terms of time-savings and performance.

Author
Jordan Miller
Product Marketing Manager - Automate at Gorgias
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Author
Jordan Miller
Product Marketing Manager - Automate at Gorgias
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Blog
Live Chat Support

Your Live Chat Support Guide: Benefits, Best Practices, and Helpful Tools

0
19
min
-
Jordan Miller
-
Oct 4, 2023

Live chat might feel like a big commitment, but the juice is worth the squeeze. (In other words, live chat support is well worth the effort.)

Customers love live chat because they can get ahold of you quickly and casually. They can get a fast answer, and don’t have to go digging for an email address to get ahold of you. In fact, 86% of live chat interactions end with a satisfied customer. 

Your business also benefits from live chat. It leads to fast resolutions, since back-and-forth responses are so rapid. Plus, using live chat for customer engagement during the flow of shopping can be a great way to boost sales.

Below, you’ll learn more about the benefits of live chat for support, including tips to automate live chat to make it a good use of your team’s time. 

{{lead-magnet-1}}

What is live chat support?

Live chat support is form of customer service where your support reps help customers in real time over a chat window on your website. 

It differs from other support methods like phone calls or emails because customers don’t have to open their phone or an email browser and wait for a response from someone at the call center. 

The basic version of live chat support is a widget that simply allows customers to start a chat session with a customer support agent. Here’s what these interactions look like for the agent (left) and the customer (right):

The live chat view in Gorgias from the agent and customer perspective

         

Some live chat software offer many more features, such as self-service menus and the ability to reach out to customers. Here’s an upgraded live chat widget on Sol de Janeiro’s site that gives customers self-service answers to common questions and lets them modify their orders without needing to speak to an agent:

Upgraded live chat window.

         

Regardless of your live chat’s sophistication, live chat support makes a meaningful difference for businesses that use it: 79% of businesses say live chat support has a positive impact on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.

How does live chat support differ from a chatbot?

Live chat and chatbots are both popups on a site that invite the user to type their problem into a box to get an answer.

The difference is that chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) to determine customer intent and respond in human-ish ways. Live chat connects actual humans to support customers.

While the two experiences look similar on the customer end, speaking to an unhelpful bot that’s mimicking an agent can be a frustrating experience.

Instead, a better alternative to live chat includes other types of self-service in the chat window, such as the self-service menus like the ones in the video below:

Read our complete guide on live chat vs. chatbots for more information. 

The benefits of live chat for customer support teams and customers

Compared to legacy support methods (including customer service email and phone support), messaging support channels like live chat feel like a breath of fresh air for customers and customer support agents alike.

Here are just a few of the elements that your teams and customers will appreciate when you add live chat as a support option.

Live chat problems generally get solved fast (~42 seconds)

Live chat is a great way for customers to get their problems solved quickly — 42 seconds on average.

42 seconds is not a lot of time, which is great considering 66% of customers expect near-instant responses to questions. Customers who pick up the phone to solve an issue will still be selecting 1 for English or 2 for español when the average live chat customer has gotten their problem solved.

Want to learn more about other instant-messaging channels like social media DMs, SMS texting support, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp? Check out the individual links above or our post on customer support messaging.

Live chat still allows teams to use templates and automation

One of the potential downsides to live chat support is that it seems like it can be resource-intensive. But live chat support doesn’t have to mean that your human agents are manually typing every answer to every question.

Many live chat solutions can use bot-like software to automate responses to common, routine requests “Where is my order?” Even better, some solutions give customers menus to find answers without having to feign conversation with a “smart” bot:

Automated live chat support.
         

Of course, some conversations will need that human touch no self-service solution can provide. When customers ask for a human agent, your human agents can either spin up a response from scratch or use a canned response as a starting point.

For example, you could create scripts for that same question, “Where is my order?” Something like, “We understand you want to get your items soon! Your order, [title or order number], is on its way to you now. You can expect to receive it within [timeframe].” Your agent will only have to fill in those two fields and send the response.

If you use Gorgias, you can upgrade your canned responses with Macros, which include variables. With variables, your agents don’t need to look for customer information to fill those fields — Gorgias automatically pulls the appropriate information for each customer from your ecommerce platform:

Automated, personalized responses

         

Live chat humanizes and personalizes support interactions

Live chat gives your support agents an opportunity to nurture new and existing customer relationships with a conversational, personalized service experience.

First, live chat by nature is more casual than many other communication channels. Unlike email, which tends to be more formal, the instant back-and-forth offers a more natural forum for emojis, friendly banter, and authentic conversations — of course, all of that is secondary to providing prompt, helpful service.

With the right live chat software, you can also achieve a high degree of personalization in live chat conversations. With Gorgias, which is kind of like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, agents can see a customer’s entire order and conversation history with your brand in the customer sidebar:

Helpful live chat support boosts customer support.

         

This gives you an opportunity to use the customer’s name, reference past purchases and interactions, avoid asking for information the customer has already given your brand (like order number or shipping address), and understand whether the customer is a superfan or had a frustrating experience. 

Live chat is an effective way to drive sales

Your primary goal as an ecommerce business is to sell more products to more people, and live chat can help you do just that. Live chat has been shown to increase conversion rate (visitors to sales) by 12% on average and website visitors who interact with your live chat widget become 2.8 times more likely to buy than those who don’t. 

Why exactly is this the case? Say a prospect has a question about a product. They add it to their shopping cart, but are still negotiating the purchase in their head:

  • Did I select the right size?
  • Will the item arrive in time for the holiday?
  • Will I be able to return the item if I don’t like it?
  • Is the item compatible with other products I own?
  • Did I select the best product for my needs?

Without a convenient support channel, customers may just abandon the purchase. But when you give them the ability to open a convenient chat window and get an instant answer, you reduce friction and lower cart abandonment.

With Gorgias, you can take this a step further and proactively reach out to customers who display certain behaviors with chat campaigns. For example, you can set up a live chat campaign to automatically trigger when a customer adds a product to their cart but lingers on the checkout page.

Likewise, you automatically reach out to customers on certain pages, to proactively ask if they need support and, if the moment is right, upsell them:

Proactive chat campaigns.

         

Plus, if you use Gorgias, you can easily include product cards in your customer service responses within the platform, giving your customers an visual and easy link to product pages within the live chat:

Personalize live chat support.

         

Still not convinced? Read our deeper post on how to use live chat to boost sales.

Live chat resonates better with bigger spenders

If the main goal of any ecommerce store is to sell more products to more people, a close second is selling more (or more expensive) products within individual transactions — or raising average order value (AOV), a metric your customer support team has a surprising impact on.

One survey found that among those who consistently spend more online per month (between $250 and $500), 63% have increased loyalty to brands and companies offering live chat support experiences.

This makes sense: As you spend more, your pre-sales questions become more important. If you’re unsure about the product, shipping times, or refund policy, you won’t have the confidence to make a large purchase. The ability to contact support right before a sale is incredibly important for this reason. 

Live chat could also help with enormous wholesale purchases, too. CROSSNET, a merchant using Gorgias, won a $450,000 sale because they promptly responded to a live chat conversation.

Live chat support can get you huge sales.
CROSSNET
         

Check out CROSSNET’s customer story to learn how they did it.

Live chat best practices

If you’re operating an ecommerce business, implementing live chat support is a strategic move that can catalyze growth and increase your sales (just like all support channels). But like anything new, you want to be sure to implement your live chat experience properly.

First, learn how to add live chat to your Shopify store (or Magento store) and read our guide to getting live chat up and running within two weeks. Then, follow these best practices if you’re just getting started — and if you’re already using live chat to a degree, use these as a check-up to evaluate the health of your live chat efforts.

Best practices for agents and handling conversations

The following best practices are for support agents to make live chat interactions effective.

1) Promptly respond to messages, but don’t rush

People value knowing they’ll be interacting with a real person, not a bot. So they don’t expect instantaneous responses — but they don’t want to be kept waiting, either. It’s always important to be prompt (and the definition of “prompt” varies depending on your industry’s expectations), but support agents should take enough time to be sure they fully understand the question or complaint so they can respond appropriately.

In other words, customers who get their problems solved correctly the first time are happy to wait slightly longer. Prompt and accurate is better than rushed and incomplete.

Related: 11 live chat support mistakes you should definitely avoid

2) Be transparent and honest

Not every problem can be solved instantly, and that’s OK. Customers come to live chat because they can’t solve their issues with self-service resources, and that means live chat support often gets more complex questions.

It’s important to have an open dialog with customers, especially skeptical customers. It’s 100% OK to let a customer know that you need a little time to look into something. Telling them is certainly far better than appearing to ghost them or trying to trot out a pat answer that won’t satisfy them.

Similarly, there will be situations where an agent doesn’t have the resources or approval to move forward with an issue and needs to push the concern to another agent or supervisor or even to your other support channels.

Agents should be transparent, clear, and honest when this happens: People appreciate honesty and follow-ups — and they despise overconfident wrong answers or a lack of clarity about next steps.

3) Keep the conversation focused

One of the disadvantages of text-based conversations is that you can’t control the clarity of the other party. They might be wildly unclear about their problem or they might start branching off into multiple topics within a single thread or encounter.

Support agents need to keep conversations focused on a single problem at a time and may need to guide customers along to this end. Once the first problem is resolved, then it’s great to tackle the next one. But letting things devolve into a confusing mishmash is a quick way to end up harming customer satisfaction.

4) Keep responses concise, and ask questions

Encourage your live chat agents to keep responses brief yet friendly. The longer and more complex the messages you send, the greater the chance of confusion or missed points. The customer could respond to just half the message, and then the agent has to awkwardly repeat the unanswered half.

Most of the time, you want to make sure that any individual message has just one thing to do or respond to in it. Falling into a call and response sort of pattern, where the customer responds to each prompt, is a good way to keep things streamlined.

5) Follow through until you resolve the issue

Follow-through is key as well during live support interactions. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve completed the interaction and moving on to another task or customer only to realize that you’ve left the customer hanging, still waiting on some crucial piece of information.

Be sure your agents aren’t unintentionally walking away too soon. The best way to do this is to proactively check with the customer to make sure they agree that everything is resolved.

And if you use Gorgias, you can automatically send the customer a satisfaction survey to gauge the success of the interaction:

Automatically send customers CSAT surveys after live chat conversations with Gorgias

         

6) Share helpful resources when possible

Sometimes, the customer’s comments reveal that they need something more complex than what will fit in a little chat box. Maybe they’re struggling with how to use some core functionality in your device or your mobile app or they have a technical question about a product that’s answered in some technical documentation already on your website.

When customers need more education or detailed instructions, leverage your existing self-service resources, like knowledge base articles, tech specs, or even product pages. Your agents should feel free to offer links to your team’s content assets, allowing customers to solve their own problems.

Of course, invite them to contact your company again if they still can’t figure it out. And if you can give them clear routing instructions, such as a specific phone number to call that lets them skip the IVR phone tree, it makes sense to do so at this point.

Best practices for operations and management

These best practices are for customer support leaders to set up live chat effectively.

1) Create an automated initial prompt

As great as your live chat customer support team is, it’s not realistic to expect them to be able to respond to every customer in real time. One strategy that gives them a little more buffer is to create an automated initial prompt that boosts your first-response times.

This way, when a website visitor sends a message in your live chat widget, they get an immediate response that stops them from navigating away from your site. This also buys your team members a few seconds to pull up the chat request and respond.

We actually do this at Gorgias — here’s the message we send, and the Rule that automatically fires the message. 

Rule to automatically reply when customers message you on live chat.

         

It immediately lets the website visitor know an agent is going to handle their issue, and it buys the agent 10 or 15 seconds to wrap up and get ready.

2) Have specific live chat support hours

Your business might not have a 24-hour customer support team in place and may never need to, depending on your market and your competition. If you aren’t offering 24-hour support, then set and advertise a specific set of hours that your team will be available for customers.

If you use Gorgias, you can set your live chat to automatically turn on and off with offline mode, which still lets shoppers find automated answers and submit offline form.

Turn live chat on and off when your agents are available.

         

You can use a chatbot or self-service to take on the after-hours work, solving simple queries and pushing more complex ones to the next-morning queue for your human agents. This can be a good strategy; just make sure your customers know that that’s what you’re doing.

3) Adjust Macros (or templates) for live chat

It’s a best practice to modify your Macros and other customer service scripts to fit the format. The length and line breaks that make sense for an email may not look right in the live chat window. 

Likewise, depending on your brand’s tone of voice, you might lean a little more casual on live chat than other, long-form channels. Of course, your templates should all be clear and fully answer the question, regardless of channel. 

4) Prioritize live chat conversations

Customers using live chat are actively on your site — potentially with an item in their cart, and a question they need answered to click “Buy now.” 

On the other hand, the customer that emailed you isn’t actively waiting on a response. They’ve probably already gone to work or soccer practice, and won’t even check their email inbox for a few hours. 

For that reason, it’s important to set up automations that bump live chat tickets to the top of your inbox. If you use Gorgias, here’s a Rule you can use to tag live chat tickets as Urgent and assign it to your chat team:

Rule to prioritize live chat support requests.

         

Choosing live chat support software for ecommerce companies

Of course, integrating live chat support into your website (and into your customer service and support workflows) requires some form of live chat support software. That’s a whole discussion in itself, but the most crucial factors are feature sets and integrations.

You certainly need software that accommodates everything you want to do with live chat. Beyond that, ask these three crucial questions for any software you’re considering:

  1. Does this integrate with my ecommerce platform?
  2. Does the live chat tool come bundled with a larger helpdesk?
  3. Does this integrate with my other customer service channels?
  4. Does the tool’s pricing make sense for my business?
  5. How easy is it to install?

And good news: We have answers for you. Read about the best live chat apps for a variety of use cases:

How Gorgias makes live chat support low-effort, high-impact

One concern about adding live chat support is that you’ll get a flurry of messages from customers who expect an instant response and, like many brands, you don’t have the staffing bandwidth to keep up. The right live chat platform offers features to help smaller businesses reap the benefits of a live chat, even if they can’t staff it 24/7.

Here are a few Gorgias features that make live chat manageable for small teams:

Order Management Flows for self-service order management and tracking

Order Management Flows are a type of customer self-service that lets customers track, cancel, or return an order within the live chat widget — no agent needed. This is a great way to reduce the number of tickets that actually make it to your agents. Plus, 88% of customers expect this kind of self-service functionality on your website.

You can customize which self-service options your customers can access within the live chat, too:

With Gorgias, you can control what order management capabilities customers have within live chat.

         

Flows and article recommendations in chat

Order Management Flows are great for order management, but other customer questions that would still turn into tickets for your agents: Questions like “What’s your refund policy?” or “Where do you ship?” Gorgias’ live chat also includes Flows, which you can set up to give personalized answers to common customer questions with a single click.

On top of Quick Responses, Gorgias live chat can also use natural language processing (NLP) to understand a customer’s query and recommend relevant articles in your Help Center: Gorgias’ version of a knowledge base, or a super-powered FAQ.

Contact Forms

Even with all of these self-service options, some customers will want to talk to an agent. And for stores that can’t staff live chat, this means you may get live chat questions that go unanswered. With Gorgias, you can include a field that asks customers for their email addresses so you can answer their questions when you come back online.

Contact Forms aren’t just good for following up if you missed an incoming message. You can also enroll customers who submit their email in email marketing sequences to drive sales, just like Bokksu:

“The email capture feature on Gorgias live chat allows us to collect new email addresses on a daily basis! This is highly convenient and helps us drive sales!”

– Danny Taing, Founder & CEO, Bokksu

Set business hours for chat availability

Finally, if your team can only cover live chat during certain times of the day, you can also set up business hours in Gorgias to either completely remove chat from your website or change the chat’s setting when you’re offline.

Install Gorgias live chat in a couple of clicks

Gorgias is a leading all-in-one ecommerce customer support and helpdesk platform that’s laser-focused on the needs of ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat feature is flexible and powerful thanks to numerous automation features, plus it can be enabled in just a few clicks.

Gorgias’s proactive chat tools can help you meet your customers’ needs, improve your conversion rates, and consistently improve the customer experience. And your agents can use Gorgias live chat on desktop, iOS, and Android. 

Ready to take the plunge and start reaping the benefits of live chat support? See more of what life is like with Gorgias live chat. Or, book a demo to chat with our team.

Live chat might feel like a big commitment, but the juice is worth the squeeze. (In other words, live chat support is well worth the effort.)

Customers love live chat because they can get ahold of you quickly and casually. They can get a fast answer, and don’t have to go digging for an email address to get ahold of you. In fact, 86% of live chat interactions end with a satisfied customer. 

Your business also benefits from live chat. It leads to fast resolutions, since back-and-forth responses are so rapid. Plus, using live chat for customer engagement during the flow of shopping can be a great way to boost sales.

Below, you’ll learn more about the benefits of live chat for support, including tips to automate live chat to make it a good use of your team’s time. 

{{lead-magnet-1}}

What is live chat support?

Live chat support is form of customer service where your support reps help customers in real time over a chat window on your website. 

It differs from other support methods like phone calls or emails because customers don’t have to open their phone or an email browser and wait for a response from someone at the call center. 

The basic version of live chat support is a widget that simply allows customers to start a chat session with a customer support agent. Here’s what these interactions look like for the agent (left) and the customer (right):

The live chat view in Gorgias from the agent and customer perspective

         

Some live chat software offer many more features, such as self-service menus and the ability to reach out to customers. Here’s an upgraded live chat widget on Sol de Janeiro’s site that gives customers self-service answers to common questions and lets them modify their orders without needing to speak to an agent:

Upgraded live chat window.

         

Regardless of your live chat’s sophistication, live chat support makes a meaningful difference for businesses that use it: 79% of businesses say live chat support has a positive impact on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty.

How does live chat support differ from a chatbot?

Live chat and chatbots are both popups on a site that invite the user to type their problem into a box to get an answer.

The difference is that chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP) to determine customer intent and respond in human-ish ways. Live chat connects actual humans to support customers.

While the two experiences look similar on the customer end, speaking to an unhelpful bot that’s mimicking an agent can be a frustrating experience.

Instead, a better alternative to live chat includes other types of self-service in the chat window, such as the self-service menus like the ones in the video below:

Read our complete guide on live chat vs. chatbots for more information. 

The benefits of live chat for customer support teams and customers

Compared to legacy support methods (including customer service email and phone support), messaging support channels like live chat feel like a breath of fresh air for customers and customer support agents alike.

Here are just a few of the elements that your teams and customers will appreciate when you add live chat as a support option.

Live chat problems generally get solved fast (~42 seconds)

Live chat is a great way for customers to get their problems solved quickly — 42 seconds on average.

42 seconds is not a lot of time, which is great considering 66% of customers expect near-instant responses to questions. Customers who pick up the phone to solve an issue will still be selecting 1 for English or 2 for español when the average live chat customer has gotten their problem solved.

Want to learn more about other instant-messaging channels like social media DMs, SMS texting support, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp? Check out the individual links above or our post on customer support messaging.

Live chat still allows teams to use templates and automation

One of the potential downsides to live chat support is that it seems like it can be resource-intensive. But live chat support doesn’t have to mean that your human agents are manually typing every answer to every question.

Many live chat solutions can use bot-like software to automate responses to common, routine requests “Where is my order?” Even better, some solutions give customers menus to find answers without having to feign conversation with a “smart” bot:

Automated live chat support.
         

Of course, some conversations will need that human touch no self-service solution can provide. When customers ask for a human agent, your human agents can either spin up a response from scratch or use a canned response as a starting point.

For example, you could create scripts for that same question, “Where is my order?” Something like, “We understand you want to get your items soon! Your order, [title or order number], is on its way to you now. You can expect to receive it within [timeframe].” Your agent will only have to fill in those two fields and send the response.

If you use Gorgias, you can upgrade your canned responses with Macros, which include variables. With variables, your agents don’t need to look for customer information to fill those fields — Gorgias automatically pulls the appropriate information for each customer from your ecommerce platform:

Automated, personalized responses

         

Live chat humanizes and personalizes support interactions

Live chat gives your support agents an opportunity to nurture new and existing customer relationships with a conversational, personalized service experience.

First, live chat by nature is more casual than many other communication channels. Unlike email, which tends to be more formal, the instant back-and-forth offers a more natural forum for emojis, friendly banter, and authentic conversations — of course, all of that is secondary to providing prompt, helpful service.

With the right live chat software, you can also achieve a high degree of personalization in live chat conversations. With Gorgias, which is kind of like a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, agents can see a customer’s entire order and conversation history with your brand in the customer sidebar:

Helpful live chat support boosts customer support.

         

This gives you an opportunity to use the customer’s name, reference past purchases and interactions, avoid asking for information the customer has already given your brand (like order number or shipping address), and understand whether the customer is a superfan or had a frustrating experience. 

Live chat is an effective way to drive sales

Your primary goal as an ecommerce business is to sell more products to more people, and live chat can help you do just that. Live chat has been shown to increase conversion rate (visitors to sales) by 12% on average and website visitors who interact with your live chat widget become 2.8 times more likely to buy than those who don’t. 

Why exactly is this the case? Say a prospect has a question about a product. They add it to their shopping cart, but are still negotiating the purchase in their head:

  • Did I select the right size?
  • Will the item arrive in time for the holiday?
  • Will I be able to return the item if I don’t like it?
  • Is the item compatible with other products I own?
  • Did I select the best product for my needs?

Without a convenient support channel, customers may just abandon the purchase. But when you give them the ability to open a convenient chat window and get an instant answer, you reduce friction and lower cart abandonment.

With Gorgias, you can take this a step further and proactively reach out to customers who display certain behaviors with chat campaigns. For example, you can set up a live chat campaign to automatically trigger when a customer adds a product to their cart but lingers on the checkout page.

Likewise, you automatically reach out to customers on certain pages, to proactively ask if they need support and, if the moment is right, upsell them:

Proactive chat campaigns.

         

Plus, if you use Gorgias, you can easily include product cards in your customer service responses within the platform, giving your customers an visual and easy link to product pages within the live chat:

Personalize live chat support.

         

Still not convinced? Read our deeper post on how to use live chat to boost sales.

Live chat resonates better with bigger spenders

If the main goal of any ecommerce store is to sell more products to more people, a close second is selling more (or more expensive) products within individual transactions — or raising average order value (AOV), a metric your customer support team has a surprising impact on.

One survey found that among those who consistently spend more online per month (between $250 and $500), 63% have increased loyalty to brands and companies offering live chat support experiences.

This makes sense: As you spend more, your pre-sales questions become more important. If you’re unsure about the product, shipping times, or refund policy, you won’t have the confidence to make a large purchase. The ability to contact support right before a sale is incredibly important for this reason. 

Live chat could also help with enormous wholesale purchases, too. CROSSNET, a merchant using Gorgias, won a $450,000 sale because they promptly responded to a live chat conversation.

Live chat support can get you huge sales.
CROSSNET
         

Check out CROSSNET’s customer story to learn how they did it.

Live chat best practices

If you’re operating an ecommerce business, implementing live chat support is a strategic move that can catalyze growth and increase your sales (just like all support channels). But like anything new, you want to be sure to implement your live chat experience properly.

First, learn how to add live chat to your Shopify store (or Magento store) and read our guide to getting live chat up and running within two weeks. Then, follow these best practices if you’re just getting started — and if you’re already using live chat to a degree, use these as a check-up to evaluate the health of your live chat efforts.

Best practices for agents and handling conversations

The following best practices are for support agents to make live chat interactions effective.

1) Promptly respond to messages, but don’t rush

People value knowing they’ll be interacting with a real person, not a bot. So they don’t expect instantaneous responses — but they don’t want to be kept waiting, either. It’s always important to be prompt (and the definition of “prompt” varies depending on your industry’s expectations), but support agents should take enough time to be sure they fully understand the question or complaint so they can respond appropriately.

In other words, customers who get their problems solved correctly the first time are happy to wait slightly longer. Prompt and accurate is better than rushed and incomplete.

Related: 11 live chat support mistakes you should definitely avoid

2) Be transparent and honest

Not every problem can be solved instantly, and that’s OK. Customers come to live chat because they can’t solve their issues with self-service resources, and that means live chat support often gets more complex questions.

It’s important to have an open dialog with customers, especially skeptical customers. It’s 100% OK to let a customer know that you need a little time to look into something. Telling them is certainly far better than appearing to ghost them or trying to trot out a pat answer that won’t satisfy them.

Similarly, there will be situations where an agent doesn’t have the resources or approval to move forward with an issue and needs to push the concern to another agent or supervisor or even to your other support channels.

Agents should be transparent, clear, and honest when this happens: People appreciate honesty and follow-ups — and they despise overconfident wrong answers or a lack of clarity about next steps.

3) Keep the conversation focused

One of the disadvantages of text-based conversations is that you can’t control the clarity of the other party. They might be wildly unclear about their problem or they might start branching off into multiple topics within a single thread or encounter.

Support agents need to keep conversations focused on a single problem at a time and may need to guide customers along to this end. Once the first problem is resolved, then it’s great to tackle the next one. But letting things devolve into a confusing mishmash is a quick way to end up harming customer satisfaction.

4) Keep responses concise, and ask questions

Encourage your live chat agents to keep responses brief yet friendly. The longer and more complex the messages you send, the greater the chance of confusion or missed points. The customer could respond to just half the message, and then the agent has to awkwardly repeat the unanswered half.

Most of the time, you want to make sure that any individual message has just one thing to do or respond to in it. Falling into a call and response sort of pattern, where the customer responds to each prompt, is a good way to keep things streamlined.

5) Follow through until you resolve the issue

Follow-through is key as well during live support interactions. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve completed the interaction and moving on to another task or customer only to realize that you’ve left the customer hanging, still waiting on some crucial piece of information.

Be sure your agents aren’t unintentionally walking away too soon. The best way to do this is to proactively check with the customer to make sure they agree that everything is resolved.

And if you use Gorgias, you can automatically send the customer a satisfaction survey to gauge the success of the interaction:

Automatically send customers CSAT surveys after live chat conversations with Gorgias

         

6) Share helpful resources when possible

Sometimes, the customer’s comments reveal that they need something more complex than what will fit in a little chat box. Maybe they’re struggling with how to use some core functionality in your device or your mobile app or they have a technical question about a product that’s answered in some technical documentation already on your website.

When customers need more education or detailed instructions, leverage your existing self-service resources, like knowledge base articles, tech specs, or even product pages. Your agents should feel free to offer links to your team’s content assets, allowing customers to solve their own problems.

Of course, invite them to contact your company again if they still can’t figure it out. And if you can give them clear routing instructions, such as a specific phone number to call that lets them skip the IVR phone tree, it makes sense to do so at this point.

Best practices for operations and management

These best practices are for customer support leaders to set up live chat effectively.

1) Create an automated initial prompt

As great as your live chat customer support team is, it’s not realistic to expect them to be able to respond to every customer in real time. One strategy that gives them a little more buffer is to create an automated initial prompt that boosts your first-response times.

This way, when a website visitor sends a message in your live chat widget, they get an immediate response that stops them from navigating away from your site. This also buys your team members a few seconds to pull up the chat request and respond.

We actually do this at Gorgias — here’s the message we send, and the Rule that automatically fires the message. 

Rule to automatically reply when customers message you on live chat.

         

It immediately lets the website visitor know an agent is going to handle their issue, and it buys the agent 10 or 15 seconds to wrap up and get ready.

2) Have specific live chat support hours

Your business might not have a 24-hour customer support team in place and may never need to, depending on your market and your competition. If you aren’t offering 24-hour support, then set and advertise a specific set of hours that your team will be available for customers.

If you use Gorgias, you can set your live chat to automatically turn on and off with offline mode, which still lets shoppers find automated answers and submit offline form.

Turn live chat on and off when your agents are available.

         

You can use a chatbot or self-service to take on the after-hours work, solving simple queries and pushing more complex ones to the next-morning queue for your human agents. This can be a good strategy; just make sure your customers know that that’s what you’re doing.

3) Adjust Macros (or templates) for live chat

It’s a best practice to modify your Macros and other customer service scripts to fit the format. The length and line breaks that make sense for an email may not look right in the live chat window. 

Likewise, depending on your brand’s tone of voice, you might lean a little more casual on live chat than other, long-form channels. Of course, your templates should all be clear and fully answer the question, regardless of channel. 

4) Prioritize live chat conversations

Customers using live chat are actively on your site — potentially with an item in their cart, and a question they need answered to click “Buy now.” 

On the other hand, the customer that emailed you isn’t actively waiting on a response. They’ve probably already gone to work or soccer practice, and won’t even check their email inbox for a few hours. 

For that reason, it’s important to set up automations that bump live chat tickets to the top of your inbox. If you use Gorgias, here’s a Rule you can use to tag live chat tickets as Urgent and assign it to your chat team:

Rule to prioritize live chat support requests.

         

Choosing live chat support software for ecommerce companies

Of course, integrating live chat support into your website (and into your customer service and support workflows) requires some form of live chat support software. That’s a whole discussion in itself, but the most crucial factors are feature sets and integrations.

You certainly need software that accommodates everything you want to do with live chat. Beyond that, ask these three crucial questions for any software you’re considering:

  1. Does this integrate with my ecommerce platform?
  2. Does the live chat tool come bundled with a larger helpdesk?
  3. Does this integrate with my other customer service channels?
  4. Does the tool’s pricing make sense for my business?
  5. How easy is it to install?

And good news: We have answers for you. Read about the best live chat apps for a variety of use cases:

How Gorgias makes live chat support low-effort, high-impact

One concern about adding live chat support is that you’ll get a flurry of messages from customers who expect an instant response and, like many brands, you don’t have the staffing bandwidth to keep up. The right live chat platform offers features to help smaller businesses reap the benefits of a live chat, even if they can’t staff it 24/7.

Here are a few Gorgias features that make live chat manageable for small teams:

Order Management Flows for self-service order management and tracking

Order Management Flows are a type of customer self-service that lets customers track, cancel, or return an order within the live chat widget — no agent needed. This is a great way to reduce the number of tickets that actually make it to your agents. Plus, 88% of customers expect this kind of self-service functionality on your website.

You can customize which self-service options your customers can access within the live chat, too:

With Gorgias, you can control what order management capabilities customers have within live chat.

         

Flows and article recommendations in chat

Order Management Flows are great for order management, but other customer questions that would still turn into tickets for your agents: Questions like “What’s your refund policy?” or “Where do you ship?” Gorgias’ live chat also includes Flows, which you can set up to give personalized answers to common customer questions with a single click.

On top of Quick Responses, Gorgias live chat can also use natural language processing (NLP) to understand a customer’s query and recommend relevant articles in your Help Center: Gorgias’ version of a knowledge base, or a super-powered FAQ.

Contact Forms

Even with all of these self-service options, some customers will want to talk to an agent. And for stores that can’t staff live chat, this means you may get live chat questions that go unanswered. With Gorgias, you can include a field that asks customers for their email addresses so you can answer their questions when you come back online.

Contact Forms aren’t just good for following up if you missed an incoming message. You can also enroll customers who submit their email in email marketing sequences to drive sales, just like Bokksu:

“The email capture feature on Gorgias live chat allows us to collect new email addresses on a daily basis! This is highly convenient and helps us drive sales!”

– Danny Taing, Founder & CEO, Bokksu

Set business hours for chat availability

Finally, if your team can only cover live chat during certain times of the day, you can also set up business hours in Gorgias to either completely remove chat from your website or change the chat’s setting when you’re offline.

Install Gorgias live chat in a couple of clicks

Gorgias is a leading all-in-one ecommerce customer support and helpdesk platform that’s laser-focused on the needs of ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat feature is flexible and powerful thanks to numerous automation features, plus it can be enabled in just a few clicks.

Gorgias’s proactive chat tools can help you meet your customers’ needs, improve your conversion rates, and consistently improve the customer experience. And your agents can use Gorgias live chat on desktop, iOS, and Android. 

Ready to take the plunge and start reaping the benefits of live chat support? See more of what life is like with Gorgias live chat. Or, book a demo to chat with our team.

FAQ’s

What are the best live chat softwares?

The best live chat software options are LiveAgent, tawk.to, and Gorgias (if you're an ecommerce company).

Is live chat smart for small stores?

Live chat can be too much pressure for small stores to manage 24/7. However, live chat tools like give you tools (like offline mode) and automated Q&As that can reap the benefits of live chat without all the effort.

How hard is it to set up live chat?

Setting up live chat only takes a few clicks, if you choose an easy-to-use software. Setting up automations and customizations can take more time, but they usually pay off in the long run in terms of time-savings and performance.

Author
Jordan Miller
Product Marketing Manager - Automate at Gorgias
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Author
Jordan Miller
Product Marketing Manager - Automate at Gorgias
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Recommended Articles

7 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service Response Times

0 min read . By Astaeka Pramuditya
By Astaeka Pramuditya

Modern customers have high expectations when it comes to customer service. One survey showed that nearly half of customers expected an email response from businesses in less than four hours. If your average response time is much higher than this, you could be losing out on a lot of business. 

Of course, meeting customer expectations regarding response time is often easier said than done. If your customer support team is struggling to keep up, the good news is that there are some effective ways to shorten your response times without having to hire a team of new employees.

In this blog, we'll discuss why a fast response time is such a vital component of great customer service and go over seven proven methods you can use to achieve a faster response to customer service emails and messages. 

What is a good customer service response time?

When a customer reaches out to you, you should aim for a first response time of one hour for emails, 15 minutes for social media messages, 40 seconds for SMS messages, and even less than that for live chat messages.

Why response times are important for customer service teams 

No matter what product or service you happen to be selling, creating a positive customer experience is an essential ingredient in the recipe for long-term success. While there is a lot that goes into creating a great experience for your customers, prompt customer service goes a long way. 

Here are a few of the reasons why achieving fast response times is such an important goal for your customer service department: 

1) Customers continue to demand faster responses 

More and more customers have come to expect near real-time access to companies across multiple channels. One Hubspot survey showed that 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 

Furthermore, 60% of people who needed support defined "immediate" as 10 minutes or less. If your company isn’t responding to customer queries at least this fast, you risk falling short of expectations your competitors may be meeting. 

2) Poor response times reflect negatively on your company 

Fair or not, poor response times can hurt your brand image. Encouraging brand loyalty and return customers is a vital goal for any business, and poor response times can make this goal all the more difficult to reach. 

Keep in mind that customers expect fast response times since so many companies today can meet those expectations. If your company isn't keeping up with the customer service offered by the competition, it could damage your brand reputation among existing customers. 

3) Faster responses that lead to quicker resolutions can increase revenue

There are plenty of scenarios where responding to a customer query within a short time frame can lead to your business making more money. If a customer has a question about your product, for example, responding quickly before they move on to another product could lead to a sale you might not otherwise make. 

If a customer needs to return a product, prompt customer service could encourage them to exchange the product for another product or store credit rather than becoming frustrated and demanding a cash return. In instances such as these, fast response times that lead to quick resolutions can directly translate to more or retained revenue. 

4) Quick responses can boost customer satisfaction

Good customer service doesn't mean that you always have to solve a customer's issue on the first response. In many cases, simply acknowledging their email and letting them know that you’re working on a solution is enough to keep customers temporarily satisfied and buy your customer service team some time. 

Unless the issue is immediately resolvable, your goal in an initial response should be to acknowledge the customer's problem, let them know that you’ve assigned their ticket to a representative, and provide them with a time frame for when they can expect a resolution. 

Sending out an initial response that covers these bases can keep customers satisfied and patient while your team members work on their follow-up. 

Related: How To Measure Net Promoter Score (NPS)

5) Slow response times might increase your workload

Achieving fast response times may seem like a lot of work. Many times, though, slow responses can end up increasing the workload of your customer support team. If you don't respond quickly enough to a customer that needs assistance, they may end up contacting your company multiple times through multiple channels. 

This can lead to numerous support tickets being created for a single issue, bogging down your team and creating unnecessary confusion that could have otherwise been avoided if you had responded to the customer's initial query promptly. This is another reason it’s helpful to keep your average first response time as low as possible. 

How to reduce customer service response times

For all of the reasons listed above, responding to customer service emails in the shortest amount of time possible is ideal. Thankfully, there are many different methods you can use to speed up your response times across all your support channels that don't require huge investments or shifts.

1) Make sure you're measuring first response times 

Before you can test out solutions, determine what your average response time currently is (if you don’t already know). First response time is a crucial customer service metric to evaluate your team's impact because it affects revenue-related metrics like churn and retention rates.

To calculate the average first response time, all you have to do is add up all of your first response times for a given period then divide that number by the number of resolved tickets during that time.

Once you've determined what your average first response time is, you can then set goals for improvement and continue to measure your progress. Gorgias provides you with many analytic tools that allow you to track key customer service metrics, including average response time. By leveraging tools such as these, you can easily analyze your customer support team's efforts and set achievable benchmarks for more improvement.

Related: Customer Service ROI: How to Measure and Improve

2) Take advantage of customer service software

Responding to every customer email manually is a monumental task. If you’re still solely relying on traditional methods of responding to customer queries, achieving fast response times is going to be nearly impossible. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of customer service software on the market today that can take a lot of the heavy lifting out of your workflows.

For example, help desk software allows your team members to see and reply to customer queries from any channel — like social media, ecommerce stores, WhatsApp, and SMS — from a single centralized dashboard. You can organize them based on factors such as the date and time received, priority, subject matter, and some other categories.

Customer service software also automates time-consuming tasks, like sending initial responses to customer emails. This is just a snapshot of the ways these platforms can help your team reduce your response times. We highly recommend leveraging software to optimize your customer support process. 

Related: Learn how Gorgias' support performance and live agent performance dashboards can help you measure

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3) Utilize customer service automation for 24/7 service 

We touched on it briefly, but customer service automation can free up your customer support team significantly during business hours. It provides customers with immediate, automated responses that you can personalize to make sound as friendly as a manual response. These small measures free up your team to focus on more complicated and pressing tasks.

That’s not all. Setting up an auto-responder allows you to send customers an all-important first response any time you like. There’s no need for a live representative, and a quick response could prevent another ticket or message from piling up to deal with in the morning. Most software lets you automate responses and send them via email, chatbot, app notification, text and more. 

Recommended reading: Ecommerce Customer Support Best Practices

4) Use scripts and email templates 

Having your customer service team type out a custom response to every new email they receive from a customer is inefficient. In addition to using an auto-responder to send out an automated first response, one simple way to speed up your reply time is to make use of scripts and email templates

To build your scripts, start by identifying common questions and issues that your support team encounters most frequently. You can then create helpful boilerplate answers with blank spots to plug in customer details using your software or other tools. 

One pro tip is to look back at positive customer feedback or five-star interactions to get ideas. See which answers made customers feel heard and satisfied while also solving their issues quickly. For live customer support channels such as phone calls or live chat, you can create scripts for each FAQ that representatives can follow. 

Leveraging scripts and email templates ensures that your team members aren't having to type out the same response over and over again to commonly asked questions, enabling them to provide service in a more efficient and timely manner. 

5) Create a system to categorize and segment priority tickets 

Some customer support tickets should take higher priority than others. A customer that’s reporting a fraudulent purchase with their debit card needs a quicker response than someone who’s asking if there are any discounts they can use.

  • Start by prioritizing tickets that have been open the longest. These are the customers who may be growing impatient, or even angry enough not to shop or work with your business again.
  • From there, you’ll want to prioritize the most complicated or resource-intensive tickets. This helps your team get a head start on the tickets that could end up taking a lot of time to resolve. 

Beyond prioritizing tickets, it’s also helpful to categorize them if they share similarities. Grouping similar tickets together boost efficiency. For example, your team can come up with one main solution (create a new discount code because the previous one is buggy) and easily resolve the entire group of tickets in a single pass. 

If you’re making use of email templates, a single rep may be able to clear an entire batch of tickets in seconds or minutes.  

6) Offer multichannel customer support options 

Every channel where you communicate with customers — from your main phone line and website to messaging platforms like social media and live chat support — should include customer support options. Having multichannel customer support options offers a couple of advantages.  

For one, it makes it easy for customers to reach out and engage with your company wherever they are. You may be serving customers across demographics, from Generation Z to baby boomers, all of whom have different communication preferences. The customer’s initial outreach is their first interaction with your customer service experience, and it’s great to start on a note of convenience and ease no matter who the customer is. 

Setting up multichannel customer support options can also give your response teams quicker access to the requests that they receive, allowing them to organize by priority no matter where the request originates.

Recommended reading: Customer Support Metrics

7) Leverage self-service to reduce tickets 

Any time a customer can resolve their issue on their own is a success for your business. Customer self-service support keeps your team’s hands-free and prevents one more support ticket from entering the queue. Here are some useful resources you can provide customers: 

  • Company blog
  • Product instructions, how-tos, and video tutorials
  • FAQ page
  • Community forum 
  • Dictionaries or glossaries 
  • Case studies 
  • Knowledge base or help center

Equipped with this information, many customers will be able to answer their questions — and perhaps discover or try something new with your product. As you’re putting these resources together, think about how tech-savvy your audience is and how long they want to spend reading about their issue. 

With Gorgias Automate, you can improve your live chat widget with a self-service flows that let your customers track and manage their orders without any agent interaction. You can also enable a chatbot. Customers can type in their question or comments and the chatbot will pull up your content that matches those keywords. 

All of these tools combine to reduce the number of tickets your support team receives in the first place, which can ultimately result in faster response times for the tickets that do appear. 

Recommended reading on live chat:

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Gorgias helps support teams reduce response times

We’ve covered a variety of ways to roll back your response times, but that’s not all these best practices accomplish. They also optimize your customer service workflow overall, ensuring your customer service interactions are positive and helpful and your team isn’t overloaded or losing time to repetitive, manual tasks. 

At Gorgias, we’re proud to offer a number of different customer service software solutions, from live-chat solutions to chatbot solutions, to email auto-responders. To learn more about how Gorgias can help you speed up your response times in a way that is affordable and hassle-free, book a demo today.

Chatbot vs. Live Chat Software: What's the Right Solution?

0 min read . By Lauren Strapagiel
By Lauren Strapagiel

Imagine leaving your angriest customers to spar with an automated script in your website’s chat window. Now picture your support team reading “Where is my order?” for the hundredth time and glancing at the clock, only to find six hours left in the workday. 

Who do you think is more frustrated?

Luckily, you won’t have to answer that, because these are completely avoidable problems. Once you learn the important distinctions between chatbot software and live chat software, you’ll understand how to use them both more effectively and lower blood pressures across the board.

Chatbots rely completely on automation and artificial intelligence (AI) while live chat software connects customers with human agents via a real-time chatbox. A third option, self-service chat, is an appealing alternative.

To determine which solution(s) is best for your business, let’s compare chatbots and live chat software and go through the top use cases for each.

What is live chat software?

Live chat support connects customers with human support agents who can answer their questions and assist them with any issues. When a customer opens the chat box on a live chat support solution, they are connected with a real person from the company's customer support department. 

Support agents then use live chat messaging to address customer inquiries and walk customers through the solution to their problem. 

Interested in getting live chat software? Check out one of these lists for tailored recommendations:

Pros and cons of live chat

Pros:

  • Live agents have the knowledge base to answer complex queries and customer issues 
  • 73% of customers state that live chat is the most satisfactory form of customer communication with a company
  • Enables multitasking for support agents so they can assist multiple customers at the same time
  • The personalized touch of a real human can go a long way toward improving your customer satisfaction
  • Support agents can find opportunities to convert visitors or turn support interactions into additional sales 

Cons:

  • Not available after-hours when your customer team is off the clock
  • More expensive to employ agents to respond to chats
  • Responses will be slowed down by high volume which impacts resolution times
  • Much of your agents’ time will be spent answering the same simple questions over and over

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What is the difference between chatbots vs. live chat?

Unlike live chat software, chatbot software doesn’t connect customers with human agents. Instead, chatbot software connects customers with a chatbot that utilizes AI and machine learning to provide natural language answers to common questions. 

Automation assists customers with less complex issues and provides quick answers. Chatbot technology enables companies to reduce their average response time, and frees up support agents to focus on more complex queries.  

Pros and cons of chat bots

Pros:

  • The ability to answer questions 24/7 without paying for agents to work around the clock. According to a survey by Drift, 64% of customers say that 24/7 service is the best feature of chatbots. 
  • Chatbots offer instant responses to common questions like pricing inquiries, improving customer experience with quick resolutions to common issues
  • Chatbot solutions are a highly cost-effective option, as they allow companies to resolve more customer issues without having to hire new customer support reps
  • By answering commonly asked questions and resolving simple issues, chatbot solutions can free up support agents to focus on more complex questions

Cons:

  • Chatbots can’t handle complex inquiries requiring human intervention
  • Automated responses are a colder, less human form of communication, which can impact customer satisfaction
  • No opportunity for agents to elevate an inquiry into an exemplary customer experience, such as offering personalized live chat offers
  • Customers will become frustrated if the chatbot can’t properly answer their questions or solve an issue

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Live chat vs. chatbots: Evaluating their strengths to help you choose the right one (or both)

When comparing chatbots with live chat solutions, it's important to recognize that each category offers its own unique advantages. Many companies choose to employ both live chat and chatbot apps on their ecommerce websites. 

With that in mind, let's explore the strengths of each solution.

Response times and customer expectations 

One of the biggest advantages of chatbot solutions is the fact that they allow for immediate responses to customer inquiries. Live chat solutions can also help companies reduce their wait times, though not to the same degree. 

Chatbot advantage: Answers are immediate

According to data from HubSpot, 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when contacting customer service, with 60% of customers defining "immediate" as 10 minutes or less. 

With a chatbot app, offering immediate response times to customer queries is a much more attainable goal. Best of all, these immediate response times are a 24/7 offering for customers, whereas live chat agents may not always be on the clock. 

Live chat advantage: Solve complex issues

The problem with relying solely on chatbots to reduce customer wait times is the fact that even the best and most intelligent chatbots are often unable to resolve complex issues. Chatbots are excellent at pulling information from internal databases to answer common questions, such as providing the status of a customer's order or editing it.

But for uncommon questions or complex issues, a chatbot alone may not be sufficient. Because they can only handle one thing at a time, it can take forever before you get all of your questions resolved.

Solution: Use both chatbots and live chat

Many companies use chatbots alongside live chat support. This allows businesses to offer both immediate responses, as well as more in-depth support for complex issues. 

For example, a customer may first be connected with a chatbot that provides instant responses to their query and assists with gathering initial information. If the chatbot determines the customer's question or issue is too complex to resolve, the customer is then connected to a support agent via live chat. 

This combination is an ideal solution for many companies, allowing them to quickly resolve common issues without the need for a live chat agent. At the same time, customers have the option to speak with a real person in cases where assistance from a chatbot alone isn’t sufficient. 

Human touch and personalization needs 

While chatbot apps can help reduce customer service wait times and the number of customer service reps needed, many customers prefer speaking with a person. 

Live chat advantage: The human touch

A CGS study found that 86% of customers would rather interact with a human agent than a chatbot. Further, 71% of customers say that they would be less likely to purchase from a brand that did not have real customer service representatives available. 

Chatbot advantage: AI learning

Chatbots have come a long way toward replicating natural language and determining customer intent for better customer engagement. Today, the best chatbot applications can come quite close to sounding like actual human beings. 

Chatbots leverage AI and machine learning to deliver personalized responses, as opposed to only “canned” responses, and can better serve your customers. 

Solution: Use both chatbots and live chat

Even the most advanced chatbots still fall short of a live representative when it comes to delivering a personalized, human touch. They’re also lacking when it comes to handling more complex questions or customer issues. 

Once again, a combination of automation and live chat support is typically the best approach. 

Live chat conversion and sales.

       

Consistency and accuracy

Chatbots and live chat applications have unique advantages when it comes to delivering consistent and accurate responses to customer queries. 

Chatbot advantage: Consistency

Chatbots are excellent at delivering consistent, on-brand messaging. They can be programmed to systematically follow templates or scripts to provide a consistent customer service experience. 

When working with human customer support agents, this high degree of consistency can be a little more difficult to achieve. 

Live chat advantage: Accuracy

While live chat support may not offer the same consistency as chatbots, human support agents do tend to be more accurate when determining the intent of the customer they are assisting. 

For example, a simple spelling error can sometimes confuse chatbots, whereas a human customer support agent would be much more likely to look past the error and correctly figure out what the customer needs. 

A human agent is also much more likely than a chatbot to accurately interpret questions that are worded strangely. 

Solution: Use both chatbots and live chat

For companies that are choosing between chatbots and live chat support, it’s a question of whether they’d like to prioritize consistency or accuracy. This is yet another reason why a combination of chatbots and live chat support is often the best solution.

More chat features to provide self-service support without the bots

Many of the issues your website visitors have with bad chatbots involve their mimicry of support from real people. It’s easy to tell when you’re chatting with a robot, but it’s not always made clear to you by the chat widget.

But there’s a third chat option that you should consider in addition to live chat and chatbot software.

Self-service chat options make it clear to your customers that they are receiving automated help. By presenting menus instead of imitating a human conversation, self-service customer support empowers customers to find the answers they need on their own.

It’s a win-win, because the customers get the answers they need in real time, at any hour. And your team can focus on support tickets that are more important to the business.

Here are a few ways self-service chat options can work.

Self-service order management

Up to 30% of incoming customer service tickets are shipping status requests. With self-service order management in the chat widget, customers are empowered to make these queries on their own — providing fast answers and reducing your support tickets.

These automated options are easy to add with Gorgias. This self-service adds buttons to the chat widget to automatically:

  • Track an order
  • Return an order
  • Cancel an order

Quick service with chat automation provides quick, responsive customer service, which means better customer experience and a positive impact on revenue.

Barcelona-based shoe brand ALOHAS added self-service order management flows with Gorgias after experiencing a high chat volume. This allowed customers to find information on their own without a human needing to respond.

Here’s how a “track order” request looks in action:

Order management in live chat.
ALOHAS
         

Quick answer flows

When using a chat widget, you’ll notice the same questions come up again and again. You can satisfy those FAQs by adding quick answer flows into the chat widget.

These automations can be set up in the widget for questions like:

  • What is your shipping policy?
  • Are there any discounts available?
  • Do you have any new products?
  • What materials do you use?

These automations can be customized for whatever FAQs are most relevant to your ecommerce store.

Here’s how it looks, for example, when an ALOHAS customer wants to find out more about the brand’s shipping policy.

Quick Response Flows in chat widget.

         

Luxury jewelry brand Jaxxon has used these self-service quick responses with great success. The customer service team found themselves overwhelmed with customer questions and unable to respond as quickly as desired.

Jaxxon upgraded their live chat widget with Gorgias Automate with Quick Responses for customers. The result, combined with using Gorgias’ helpdesk, reduced live chat volume by 17% and lifted the on-site conversion rate by 6%.

Self-service in chat.
Jaxxon
         

Autoresponders

Even when a customer chooses to type out a question, automation can be used to provide quick, customized service through the chat widget.

Gorgias can detect questions that come in through chat and provide automatic answers using Rules and Macros.

Here’s how the flow works:

  1. Intact detection scans the incoming message.
  2. Rules is triggered when a relevant message is found (such as some asking about where their order us) is responds to the customer.
  3. Macros is where you create the templated response sent to the customer. The Macro can be set up to pull in a customer’s unique information like order number, their name, and their tracking code.

The best part is this can not only be used for chat, but for responses to tickets coming in through other communication channels like email, social media, and SMS.

Keep customer service running 24/7

With Gorgias, you can make sure your chat widget isn’t missing a single ticket, even if your customer support team is offline.

First, you can set up your business hours to correspond with when you have live chat available. This will show up on your site’s chat widget by either showing the current status as online or offline.

From there, you can create automated responses for whether you’re offline or online. During business hours, this message can tell customers you’ve received their request and give a time by which they can expect a response.

After business hours, the responder can tell customers that although you’re offline, they can expect a response during the next day’s business hours via email.

Offline mode in live chat for follow-ups.
Absolute Collagen
         

You can also use a contact form which turns a chat into an emailed ticket. This is great to use after-hours and to make sure chat requests don’t get lost overnight. 

Combine automation and human interaction for the strongest customer experience

The use of automation within customer service is multifaceted. As we discussed earlier, a human touch is critical for many customers, and speaking with an automated chatbot can be a turn-off. However, automation certainly has its place in the customer service process.

On the customer’s side, starting with self-service chat helps them receive quicker customer support at scale — a more satisfying experience. On your team’s side, automation allows for sorting, segmenting, and prioritizing tickets.

When self-service chat can’t solve an issue, someone from your support team can easily step into the conversation. You can use Macros — scripts that automatically bring in the customer’s information — to scale the human touch on your support team.

So in reality, it’s not automation vs human support. These are two complementary tools that work better together. And the result is a stronger and faster customer experience for your website visitors, which can increase your conversion rate by as much as 12%.

Still not convinced? In 2021, brands using the Gorgias chat widget generated an average of $38,702 from conversations involving chat. We have a whole post on live chat statistics that can help illustrate the impact our chat widget can have on your business.

Gorgias brings intuitive live chat to your ecommerce business, alongside your other channels

If you’re an ecommerce business looking for an all-in-one customer support solution that includes live chat support and AI-powered chatbots, Gorgias is your one-stop shop. 

Our algorithms are trained on hundreds of millions of ecommerce tickets, so you can be sure your customers are getting the right responses every time. 

Plus, you can manage both live chat and chatbot conversations in the same dashboard that you use for all your other channels, including phone, email and major social media platforms. Bring in chat from other channels, including Facebook Messenger. We’ll even be supporting Whatsapp in early 2023.

Our customer support platform is available for Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce users.

Read more about our chat offerings by clicking here.

Customer Service Messaging: Tips and Templates for SMS + Conversational Channels

0 min read . By Ryan Baum
By Ryan Baum

Customer service messaging (also known as conversational customer service) is a powerful way to elevate the customer experience and delight customers beyond their expectations. For customers, texting with a support agent feels much more convenient and casual than slower channels like email. And, SMS is a much better channel for “on-the-go” communication, since most people always have their mobile phones and can usually reply to text messages quickly.

That’s why customer service messaging is one of many recent customer service trends shaking up how ecommerce and D2C businesses offer support.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how your business can implement or improve this type of customer support and other conversational channels in your customer service strategy. 

Let’s get started with why it’s important for businesses to offer SMS customer service.

What is SMS customer service?

SMS customer service is when support teams resolve customer questions and issues via text message.

Why SMS text messaging improves the customer service experience

Customers love these one-to-one messaging channels for customer service because they’re so quick and convenient. When implemented well, conversational messaging allows customers to reach your CS team and get answers quickly — within 42 seconds, most of the time. Especially considering that 42% of customers prefer communicating with customer service on messaging apps over any other channel, introducing a conversational channel may do wonders for your brand’s customer satisfaction.

Your customer support team can also use these channels to proactively reach out to customers with important updates and timely discounts.

SMS customer service is especially attractive to your customers because they don’t have to stay glued to your website or check a social media app for new DMs. They can get answers to their questions on a device they already check 96 times per day. Let’s take a closer look at SMS, a channel that’s quickly gaining ground as a standard support option. 

Example of SMS in Gorgias helpdesk

10 tips to successfully incorporate messaging into your customer service strategy

Adding each messaging channel at one time might overwhelm your customer support team. Likewise, a new channel may have low adoption if you don’t announce it to your customers. As you begin offering messaging experiences as a part of your customer care portfolio, use our top 10 techniques to maximize the effectiveness of your workflows on those channels.

1) Funnel all interactions to SMS or messaging channels and then move to email or phone if needed

For issues with easy solutions, there’s no reason for customers to engage with email or phone. Emails are slow and clunky and phone calls can lead to customer frustrations, especially if your wait times are excessive. Texts are far faster than either option and can provide simple, accurate information that leads to speedier solutions — and happier customers.

For that reason, we recommend setting up your contact page and information so that text and other live channels are your first line of communication — well, after self-service support. You can always move to email or phone if the customer requests it or if the problem you’re trying to solve is better suited to one of those channels.

Tip: Speed is an important factor in all customer service interactions, but it’s critical when sending any sort of instant message. First response time (FRT) is a key customer service metric you can measure with Gorgias through the analytics dashboard. Make sure to track the speed of your responses when you start your support messaging program.

Fast reply to an SMS conversation

2) Consistently let your customers know that you’re available on quick messaging channels

To inform your customers they can now text your brand, we recommend adding “Text us,” plus your phone number, in some or all of these places: 

  • The footer of your website
  • The “Contact Us” page of your website
  • Your Gorgias Help Center
  • Transactional emails (order confirmation, return initiated, etc.)
  • The signature of your support agents

You can put your messaging app information in the same spots, and make sure to say you accept support requests via DM in your social media bios so customers know they can shoot you a message.

Tip: Because conversational customer service usually takes place on a user’s phone, you need to keep responses short and friendly. The long, detailed macros and templates you might use for emails won’t work when communicating through short messages — depending on your platform and your customer’s phone, long messages might not send or might get broken into multiple text messages. Plus, depending on your brand’s tone of voice, conversational channels are a great place to use emojis, images, and GIFs to make the conversation even more friendly and casual. 

Berkey Filters chat prompting people to use the messaging chanel
Source: Berkey Filters

3) Use autoresponders for a lightning-fast first response

Start every messaging interaction with an autoresponder. This tactic lets your customer know that you received their request, and it gives your human agents a small buffer of time to finish up their current encounter before starting the new one. You can also include a link to your help center in case they want to look for their answer on their own.

You can use this tactic whether you’re incorporating chatbots for basic query automation, or using your customer service agents for all customer interactions.

See page XX for an example of an autoresponder Rule for messaging.

4) Create a system to categorize and segment priority tickets 

Some customer support tickets should take higher priority than others. A customer that’s reporting a fraudulent purchase with their debit card needs a quicker response than someone who’s asking if there are any discounts they can use. 

You can start by prioritizing:

  • Tickets that have been open the longest. These are the customers who may be growing impatient, or even angry enough not to shop or work with your business again. This can be set up with a View of tickets that have been open for more than X minutes, where X is an amount of time corresponding to your service-level agreement (SLA).
  • Tickets from VIPs and loyal customers. You can tag these customers and make a View based on that tag to surface their questions and concerns.
  • Tickets that fall into certain intents, like “order/damaged,” which Gorgias auto-assigns through our proprietary algorithms. You can auto-assign these tickets with a “priority” tag using a simple automation Rule and set up a View that has all open priority tickets.
Gorgias' Intent detection can be auto-tagged for prioritization and organization
Source: Gorgias

You can even set up dual priority queues for all priority-tagged tickets: One for priority tickets that are about to go past the first response time in your SLA and another for all other priority tickets. Then prioritize the former, followed by the latter, followed by other tickets, to keep your first response time and resolution time down while giving attention to important tickets.

Beyond prioritizing tickets, it’s also helpful to categorize them if they share similarities. Grouping similar tickets together boosts efficiency. For example, your team can come up with one main solution (create a new discount code because the previous one is buggy) and easily resolve the entire group of tickets in a single pass.

5) Use Macro templates to respond faster to repetitive requests…

If you are responding to customer service messages on a platform like Gorgias that supports Macro templates, you need to take advantage of this time-saving feature. But you can’t just take your existing email templates and drop them into these conversations.

You need to create a specific set of Macros for messaging purposes, using the principles we mentioned earlier: short, friendly, personalized, etc. That means you need to use variables like [Customer first name] or [Last order number] to personalize messages. If you set up your Macros strategically for DM and SMS messaging, many can be reused for live chat, as well.

To prioritize building Macros that will have the highest impact, create Macro templates to respond to the most common questions that have come through your helpdesk. You can also ask your team which responses they end up writing out the most and add those templates too. 

Once you create and launch these Macros, you can automatically add Tags to Macros for reporting to see which Macros are being used the most. This will help you understand where you have gaps (or unhelpful Macros) and can make tweaks to improve your agent workflow and customer experience.

6) …Or deflect those repetitive requests altogether with automation Rules

If your customer service platform supports automation, as Gorgias does through our Automation Add-on, you can deflect up to a third of repetitive, tedious tickets instantly, with no human interaction. Much of this automation can be applied to customer service messaging, as well.

When we mention automated answers, some support professionals say something like, “We don’t want to send low-quality automated responses to our customers.” We completely agree: For many tickets, automation doesn’t provide the best customer experience. 

However, as you know, most tickets your support team receives are repetitive and low-impact, like questions about order status (WISMO) or your refund policy. We recommend setting up automatic responses for these tickets, so customers get instant answers and agents have more time to respond to tickets that actually need a human touch.

Look through your reporting dashboards to see the tickets that are taking up the most time on your support team, and prioritize those requests for automation with Rules, where appropriate.

Gorgias automates answers to repetitive questions (like WISMO)

7) Go beyond text-only interactions with multimedia messaging

WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, and SMS support images, and luckily so does Gorgias. This is a more engaging way to interact with customers, and it also allows you to exchange relevant images like broken parts, malfunctioning equipment, and screenshots for more helpful instructions.

If you want to go this route, maintain a catalog of fun, topical images that your support team can use in their customer conversations, and give them the freedom to collect their own images to insert. It’s a great way to make your support feel more personal and human, but use common sense: Frustrated customers don’t want to receive a picture or meme, they want their problem solved as quickly as possible.

Gorgias lets you send multimedia text messages

8) Provide proactive support at scale on platforms that allow it

SMS and other personalized one-to-one support channels can get a little complicated because not everyone wants to interact on the same messaging application. True SMS support goes out over cellular networks and lands in users’ actual text messages, the same way messages from their friends and family do.

But you may need to be ready to handle other support channels that use similar short, text-based communication. These include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and your website’s web chat. Certain channels may be a better fit for your unique customer base — for example, Instagram attracts a younger audience than Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp is more common outside the US. Likewise, you may have other specialized messaging channels or messaging platforms that you need to support.

Gorgias has SMS, Messenger, and live chat functionality

As a rule of thumb, you need to be where most of your customers are, which varies across businesses and industries. But to reach the desired level of customer engagement, most businesses need to be reachable via most, if not all, the major applications and support channels. 

That’s where a unified customer service platform can be really useful. By keeping all of your customer conversations in one feed, you can handle more channels more strategically, through triage and routing to dedicated agents for specific tasks. For example, you could have one agent who just handles messaging and route all messages to that person for a quicker response.

On platforms like WhatsApp Business, you don’t have to wait around to hear from customers. This allows for a wide range of strategic and proactive support interactions. 

For example, you can send out text blasts:

  • When you have an issue affecting all customers (i.e. website downtime) to let them know what’s going on (and avoid getting excessive tickets about the issue)
  • When you have new product launches or add-ons, driving revenue and customer education
  • When you have relevant announcements for customers: limit these to news that actually affects customers (i.e. shutting down your community or a time-sensitive sale), not company news (i.e. your latest fundraising) 

A proactive approach builds trust with your audience — they will see you going above and beyond with these efforts, and know that you’ll be upfront with potential issues.

9) Integrate your SMS support with your marketing efforts

SMS marketing is a useful tool for your ecommerce store, but it becomes even more powerful when you integrate your SMS marketing tool into Gorgias. Send out SMS blasts and have support agents on hand to handle any questions you get in response, to help nudge those customers closer to a sale.

Gorgias and Klaviyo integration
Source: Gorgias

With certain integrations — Klaviyo, for example — you can even use Gorgias attributes to segment and build campaigns. Use this function for win-back campaigns, or to send a special offer to customers who posted low CSAT scores.

10) Conduct surveys using text messages to collect feedback from customers

Text messages are an effective method for collecting feedback from existing customers, too. Once customers opt in to SMS communication, you can use this point of contact to launch quick surveys that provide valuable feedback.

Response rate is always an issue with email surveys, and other channels see higher response rates. Using a multichannel approach will supply you with more responses and help you make more data-driven decisions with the results.

Note: In a customer service tool like Gorgias, you would use one of our integrations with Klaviyo or Attentive to send the survey to entire segmented lists of customers or prospects, all at once.

SMS customer service templates for common response types

Ready to start implementing an SMS customer service strategy but not sure what to say? We get it: Staying concise yet friendly is tough, and so is conveying all the needed information in such a short space.

We’ve put together a collection of proven templates you can start using today. Adapt as many of these as you need to fit the contours of your business, and bring them into your customer service platform of choice. In Gorgias, you could auto-populate these responses through our Macros.

Note: We’re sharing these templates as text messages, but they can easily be adapted to other conversational channels like social media DMs and live chat. 

Ticket received template

As we mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to set up an autoresponder. This tactic can buy your team time to finish up a previous interaction or send an email, yet it shows you’re on top of the interaction and will be back soon.

Here’s our template for a ticket received autoresponder:

Thanks for texting {Brand Name}. An agent is reviewing your question now. We’ll get back to you shortly :)

Introduction message template

The introduction message is the point where your autoresponder or chatbot passes off the reins to a human agent. It’s the first point of personalization, and you want to make a solid impression. Still, your agents don’t need to be typing these out every single time. Use a template like this one to break the ice (just with a little less repetitive stress injury):

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Thanks for messaging us. What can I help you with today?

Agent introduction template for SMS

Hours of operation template

There are two frequent scenarios where an hours-of-operations text makes sense. One is as an answer for when customers message you on social media or elsewhere just to ask when you’re open. In those cases, use this template:

Hello, {Customer First Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Best, {Your Name}

The other scenario is when a customer reaches out via a messaging channel and there’s no one on the other end. If your helpdesk isn’t open 24 hours a day, use a template like this when the team isn’t live:

Hello, {Customer First Name}! Our live chat helpdesk is open {list hours}. You’ve reached us outside those hours. Leave a short message here and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.

By the way, if around-the-clock coverage is a goal of yours, you might be interested in introducing contact forms into your live chat widget. These forms let you keep your live chat on 24/7 and, when nobody’s available to answer, they ask customers for contact information so you can be sure to follow up. Learn more about Gorgias’ automation add-on and contact forms.

Order status template 

This one’s pretty obvious: You want to let the customer know the status of an order, and there’s no reason to manually type a whole message to do it.

Use this template when a customer asks for their order status. You can create variations of this one for delays or other order status updates, and even customize it further to include tracking information.

Hey {Customer First Name}, great news: Your order has shipped! It will arrive on {delivery date}. Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

SMS template for order status requests

Payment reminder template

Customers with recurring subscriptions sometimes forget the frequency they sign up for or when their next payment will be. Use this template if customers frequently ask your brand when their next payment is:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your next payment of {amount} is coming up. Your card on file will be charged {due date}. Questions? Reply here or call {phone number}.

Pro tip: While there’s nothing inherently wrong with soliciting payment via SMS, many consumers will view this with suspicion. Text channels may not be the best avenue for inviting bill payments or collecting credit card information. It could also lead to more cancellations, which makes it a balancing act, though customer clarity is important to have. Always track the impact of changes to your process and be mindful of how new touchpoints could affect it.

Deals or rewards template

If you’re trying to build brand loyalty or win back an upset customer, sometimes a simple discount code can go a long way. At the end of an SMS conversation, there may be times when you can surprise and delight customers by sending over an exclusive deal. Here’s a template (though you’ll certainly need to customize this one further to fit the details of your offer):

{Customer First Name}, thanks for being such a loyal customer. We’d like to give you {details of the offer}! Click to redeem: {short URL}

Refund issued template

Refunds happen, and they don’t always require a massively complicated interaction with your contact center. If you’re able to resolve a ticket and issue a refund with a simpler interaction, this template can finish the one-to-one portion of the encounter. 

Notice the template specifies that the interaction will finish up asynchronously (via email). It’s a great way to tie off the synchronous, real-time interaction and lead the customer right to the next step (check your email.) 

Here’s the template:

Hey {Customer First Name}! We’ve issued a refund for your last order. We’ll send all the details to your email, but feel free to let me know here if you need anything else.

SMS template for refund issued

Pro tip: You can tie discounts and future order credits into this template, but make sure your entire team is aligned on your official policy as you update the Macros to match it. You may also want to have different tiers of intervention (and offerings) depending on the severity of the issue.

Customer check-in template

The customer check-in is another asynchronous message that occurs outside of an active conversation. Perhaps the customer walked away from a previous encounter or seems to be stuck on the customer journey based on other CRM data.

Whatever the reason, a gentle, well-timed message can sometimes get the customer back on track.

Here’s a model:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Just checking in to make sure everything is working well for you. If you have any issues with our {products/service} or need anything else, let me know!

Templates for SMS marketing and relevant integrations 

Though a customer service platform can handle the above templates, you’ll likely want to expand even further through additional integrations with the platform. If you take that approach, here are some opportunities that open up:

Discount template

If you’re running a sale or trying to drive traffic to your site, a great way to do so is by texting a discount code to customers on your SMS list. Because their phone is probably close by, it’s great way to promote your sale and make sure it gets noticed. Here’s a template you can use (but remember to update with your own promotion!): 

Flash sale, this weekend only! Up to 40% off, including our latest collection. Shop now: {insert URL} 

Discount template for SMS

Appointment reminder template

Medical offices and other organizations that schedule appointments or meetings can bolster attendance and reduce no-shows by providing yet another reminder — one that reaches patients and customers directly via phone.

If your SMS system supports it, you can invite an auto-reply to confirm or cancel an appointment, too. Use this template:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your appointment is scheduled for tomorrow at {appointment time}. See you then! Reply Y to confirm, N to cancel.

Order confirmation template

Order confirmation messages simply confirm that your business has received and is processing a customer order. These don’t typically take place during an active one-to-one customer service interaction. Instead, they’re sent automatically and asynchronously, whenever the order confirms.

Still, you can set them up as personalized messages and enable replying so that, if something happens to be wrong, the customer knows how to reach out.

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your order #{order number} has been received, and we’re working on it now! We’ll message you again when it ships. Questions? Reply here.

Order confirmation template for SMS

Pickup notification template

If you’re in an industry that offers pickup services (whether curbside pickup, custom goods like eyeglasses, or anything else), a text message is a great way to let someone know their order is ready for pickup. SMS reaches customers when they’re on the go in a way that email frequently doesn’t.

Here’s an example:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your recent order #{order number} is now available for pickup at {location}. Stop by to grab it anytime today before {closing time}!

Survey or poll template

This message asks your customers to respond to a survey or poll. It’s a data-gathering tool that can pull in responses from people who ignore your emails or the messages at the bottom of store receipts. Try a script like this:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. We value your opinion as a customer and we’d love specific feedback on {topic}. Here’s a 5-minute survey: {short URL}

Membership renewals template

Membership renewals, like payments, ought to be set up as automatic occurrences. Still, it’s helpful to remind a customer that a charge will hit their bank account soon — you don’t want to track down non-payments, and you don’t want angry customers who weren’t prepared for a bill.

Here’s an example:

Hi, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your annual membership renewal is coming up on {date}. Your card on file will be charged on that day.

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Is conversational and SMS customer service right for your business?

At Gorgias, we believe any industry can find value in conversational support, though some industries and brands will get more bang for their buck with these channels. 

For ecommerce brands that deliver physical products, conversational support is a no-brainer. Imagine your customers get shipping updates via SMS and can just respond to the message if the package isn’t delivered correctly to get immediate help. No need to open up a laptop and log into a support portal or compose an email.

If you’re on the fence about offering conversational customer support, consider whether any of these points are relevant for your business:

First, consider your primary audience. If you sell to millennials and Gen Z, conversational customer service deserves serious consideration. These groups value speed and convenience more than anything: Millennials prefer live chat over every other channel, and 71% of people between 16 and 24 agree that faster customer service would drastically improve the shopping experience.

These two generations grew up texting. It’s a very natural communication style for them, so they’ll feel right at home texting and DMing your brand. They’re also absolutely massive groups — combined, they make up a staggering 42.3% of the U.S. population.

If you’re targeting an older generation, texting may not feel as natural. They have a higher tendency to prefer email or phone, although that’s changing by the day.

Is your marketing team already sending SMS campaigns?

One of the biggest hurdles to implementing conversational support is getting the systems, hardware, and staff in place to respond to SMS texts and messaging app requests at scale. If you’re already sending SMS marketing campaigns, then you already have some of that infrastructure in place.

So, if you’ve already made the investment in SMS for marketing purposes, then integrating messaging with your customer service platform and team requires minimal additional investment.

Fortunately, your helpdesk and SMS marketing software may integrate to give you a centralized way to spark conversations if customers reach out via text or respond to SMS campaigns. With Gorgias and Klaviyo, for example, customer responses to SMS marketing campaigns get assigned directly to an agent for fast response times.

Klaviyo Gorgias integration example

Are customers abandoning conversations on other channels? 

One of the benefits of messaging is that customers don’t have to stay on the phone or by their computer — they can easily continue talking even if they have to take the dog out, go to work, or even fall asleep and respond in the morning. Plus, while email conversations often span multiple days which is frustrating for customers with simple requests, requests on messaging channels usually get resolved before customers lose interest or patience. 

If you notice that your brand currently sees lots of unresolved email threads or phone calls, you might need to offer customers a more convenient and flexible channel to talk to your team. This is a perfect use case for SMS and other messaging channels.

Are you already active on related channels?

It’s important to show up where your customers are. That’s why most brands post and engage with customers on social media pages. But if you’re posting on social media and not providing support to customers who reach out via DM, you’re missing a big opportunity. 

By adding conversational support via Facebook Messenger and Instagram and Twitter DMs, you can maximize your presence on those platforms and provide an omnichannel customer experience for both existing and prospective customers.

Are you struggling to gather customer feedback?

We often discuss the importance of customer feedback to monitor brand perception and constantly improve the product and customer experience. But as most brands know, getting feedback via email can be a challenge because of low survey open rates and lack of follow-up from customers. 

Business texting lets you ask your customer base for feedback on a channel they are less likely to ignore. Text messages have a whopping 98% open rate. Consider sending CSAT, NPS surveys, and other requests for customer feedback on this channel to raise your response rate for more accurate customer support metrics. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility: Spamming customers will quickly damage customer relationships, so don’t send too many messages to their personal devices.

What to look for in text messaging tools

SMS customer service is an avenue that customers are growing to expect. But managing yet another communication channel — much less one that demands real-time responses — takes careful planning.

Implementing a messaging strategy requires using tools built for that purpose. Some customer service messaging platforms offer SMS support natively, while others integrate a third-party SMS integration tool to add this functionality. 

As you consider the available options, make sure the one you choose offers the features you need. Some tools are full-fledged SMS marketing solutions. Others focus specifically on SMS as a support channel.

It’s easier for most businesses to use an all-in-one customer service platform like Gorgias to support an omnichannel approach. With this kind of helpdesk platform, SMS tickets can be handled in the same feed as your other tickets and benefit from the same workflows and automation.

Customer service helpdesk with SMS

Here are some other features your customer service tool needs to have to handle SMS ticket effectively:

  • Conversation history (for SMS and other text-based channels like Facebook Messenger or webchat) so your agents know what this client has asked about or needed support for in the past
  • Ability to create and customize macros as replies to SMS questions
  • Ability to send and receive images or videos (this is great if your support teams need to see the damaged item to issue a refund, for example)
  • Routing or triaging capabilities to make sure SMS conversations don’t get lost in a queue of tickets
  • Integration with other ecommerce tools so your agents have all the context they need to reply in a single space (e.g., surfacing Shopify customer data or CRM data during a support interaction)
Logos of Shopify, Recharge, ShipBob, and others to power up your messaging and customer service

Ecommerce SMS marketing tools to complement your customer experience

As we mentioned earlier, SMS marketing lets brands connect with consumers in a personalized and measurable way, just like with customer service. According to Attentive, average read rates of 97% within 15 minutes make SMS a prime channel for connecting with prospects and customers.

If you’re looking for the right SMS marketing tool to work in tandem with your new SMS customer service channel, consider these four leading tools. Each one integrates with Gorgias, along with most of the rest of your tech stack.

Gorgias, Klaviyo, Attentive, Postscript, and Yotpo SMSBump

Each tool offers a slightly different feature set. Revisit the list of features we compiled earlier in this article to help determine which are the most important to you, then vet these four tools against your customized list.

  • Klaviyo, a Gorgias preferred partner, is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform that leans heavily on SMS communications. Automatically create tickets in Gorgias if customers reply to Klaviyo SMS messages, and send Gorgias events into Klaviyo to create targeted audience lists based on support experiences. 
  • Attentive, also a Gorgias preferred partner, sends automatic text messages to your subscribers at each step of the customer lifecycle. It collects real-time behavioral data on customers as well, and the Gorgias integration allows you to see that customer data within the Gorgias sidebar. If a customer replies to an Attentive SMS, it’ll automatically create a ticket in Gorgias for agents to reply to. 
  • Postscript is an SMS messaging tool that drives revenue growth and improves the customer experience over SMS. If a customer replies to a Postscript SMS, it’ll automatically create a ticket in Gorgias for agents to reply to.
  • SMSBump is a D2C focused SMS customer journey automation tool by Yotpo that boasts powerful results: 45% conversion rate and 25x ROI for D2C brands. By connecting SMSBump with Gorgias, tickets will automatically be created if customers reply to SMSBump campaigns. 

Integrate your SMS tool with your helpdesk for a seamless customer experience

Integrating any of these SMS marketing tools with Gorgias is a great way to unify your marketing and support efforts to improve the overall customer experience.

For example, if customers respond to an SMS marketing blast from a tool integrated with Gorgias, the response gets brought into the helpdesk. The agent can see the initial marketing message and the customers response, so they can answer any follow-up questions. It's like an alley-oop from your marketing to your support team.

Also, these integrations help your marketing team be more aware of active support conversations to avoid tone deaf marketing. For example, by integrating Gorgias and your SMS marketing tool, you can pause marketing campaigns on customers awaiting a response from support. (Nobody wants to get marketing messages if they're waiting on a delayed order, or troubleshooting their last purchase).

Message your customers in real time with Gorgias

Customer service messaging across a wide range of message-based platforms can be a powerful addition to your customer service channels. Of these, the SMS channel is one of the most powerful options for businesses that want to reach customers directly where they are.

The scripts and tools provided in this guide should put you well on your way toward a successful SMS support rollout. But make sure that at the core of your customer service operation, you have a platform robust enough to handle everything you need to do — and whatever functionality you might add in the future. For more examples and tactics to launch a successful rollout of SMS support, check out our playbook of Berkey Filters, an online store that released SMS support to great adoption.

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Gorgias is the customer support and helpdesk platform built for ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat tools and 150+ integrations equip you to reach your customers — whenever and however you choose.

See how Gorgias supercharges customer support and helpdesk via SMS. Alternatively, check out more information about our integrations with:

How To Provide Order Tracking for Your Ecommerce Customers

0 min read . By Ryan Baum
By Ryan Baum

The competition to provide customer satisfaction in ecommerce today is fierce. Now, shoppers demand free shipping on every order and expect lightning-fast order processing and fulfillment. What once were “nice to have” differentiators for small businesses have become necessary for growth and success. 

Similar to getting orders quickly and with no shipping fees, customers expect a tracking number to see an order’s status and its location at any given time. Even better are real-time alerts and SMS or email notifications at each point in an order’s journey from purchase to doorstep. 

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Below, explore the benefits of tracking customer orders and why you should consider implementing an order tracking tool for your business. 

Why your online store should track customer order status

Customers have been trained by huge ecommerce vendors like Amazon and tracking to track their online orders from the order processing stage to the moment a delivery person from FedEx, UPS, or USPS drops it at their doorstep — with photo evidence. This has set high expectations. 

Offering real-time tracking data for purchases benefits both your customer and your business in four distinct ways.

The benefits of providing order tracking for customers: provide a sense of security, allow customers to plan, build customer loyalty, and free up your customer support from repetitive WISMO questions.

Gives shoppers and business owners a sense of security

Once customers place an online order, waiting for it to arrive can be both exciting and stressful. Questions like, “Will it get here on time?” or “Is it ever coming?” are heightened if customers can’t check the delivery status in real time themselves. Plus, as a business, you can follow along to ensure that orders are getting where they need to go. 

A 2021 survey by OptimoRoute found that 24.6% of online shoppers said they were extremely likely to return for additional shopping if a brand provides real-time order tracking.

Allows customers to plan ahead

There are reasons beyond “I'm just curious” that consumers need to know an order is on its way and when it will arrive. For example, if a product is expensive, customers won’t want it to sit on their front porch all day. If a signature is required, they might have to work from home to accept the package. In these instances, status updates are crucial.

According to ProShip, "80% of customers want to track their order status not only online, but also on their mobile devices. And of that 80%, 76% of them want SMS communication throughout the entire shipping process." 

Keeping in constant contact with their order at home and on the go via a mobile device gives customers the transparency they need to plan ahead for a fun unboxing or essential item they can’t live without. 

Builds customer loyalty 

The customer experience you provide on your ecommerce platform is essential to business growth. Providing shoppers with tracking information, email notifications, and delivery dates can create a positive association with your brand, build a better customer experience, and drive loyalty and retention.

The Effortless Experience found that 96% of customers who have high-effort experiences feel disloyal to those companies afterward. And forcing customers to dig or compose an email just to know the status of their order is a high-effort experience.

96% of companies who have high-effort experiences feel disloyal to a brand.
Source: The Effortless Experience

New customers appreciate seamless experiences and are more likely to make repeat purchases from businesses that offer them. Creating a cycle of repeat business will help your business grow, so encouraging loyalty through an easy-to-use order tracking tool is a big advantage.

📚Recommended reading: Our guide to offering free shipping and boosting customer loyalty at an affordable price.

Frees up your customer service team (by deflecting WISMO tickets with automation)

Many ecommerce companies are looking for ways to alleviate customer service workloads and reduce time spent handling simple requests. Providing real-time order tracking is one of those ways since customers no longer need to ask, “Where is my order (WISMO)?” 

Instead of calling and emailing to check their order status — one of the most common questions customers ask any ecommerce business — tracking systems proactively send email notifications or provide access to a portal where customers can take a look at progress in real-time. This solution streamlines the process and cuts down on call volumes. This increases productivity for you or your customer service team because they’ll be freed up to address more complex issues.

Typically, you can automate customer order tracking notifications via SMS, app notifications, or email — we’ll cover this in more detail below. Or, create a self-service portal where customers can use their purchase order number to access order status — we’ll cover this more in a later section.

📚Recommended reading: Our guide to customer service automation for faster, friendlier service.

Lowers the number of returns you can expect 

People often return items because they arrive late and the customer no longer wants or needs them. With detailed and up-to-date order tracking (as well as a clear returns policy), customers can better anticipate the arrival date of the product, making it less likely they’ll just ship the package back to you when it finally arrives. And, as you might expect, reducing returns has a great positive impact on your business’s revenue.

📚Recommended reading: Our list of best practices for reducing returns in ecommerce and our list of the best returns management software.

Why ecommerce businesses should think twice before building a custom order tracking system 

There are numerous advantages to using a customer order tracking system. We recommend using a pre-built solution — and put our recommendations below — because maintaining a manual tracking system is time-consuming. 

A custom-built tracking page may require more data entry than necessary with other solutions. Not only do manual processes open your system up to human error, but they also eat up productivity.

Manual systems require extensive set-up

If you try to provide order tracking yourself, you’ll save in the short term but end up spending plenty of time building and maintaining a system to send tracking information. 

For example, once you sync your tracking components up successfully, you'll need to create different templates that collect or communicate information to your customers. For example, you might build an order form that collects order information like a customer’s name, address, phone number, and credit card information. Or, write a pre-written email that you can use to send out shipment notifications for each step of the order process. 

You might also create templated responses that answer common questions like, “Where is my order?” or that provide tracking information or shipment and delivery updates. 

You need seamless integrations to avoid tab-shuffling

For an order tracking system to work properly, your manufacturers, website, helpdesk, social media commerce, SMS, inventory management software, and shipping carriers’ information must all "talk to" each other. If they don't, information gets bottlenecked or not communicated at all. The result is that your customer isn't able to access their order status, which causes frustration and has them calling your customer support team.

How to set up order tracking: Let customers see the status of shipments in real time

If you’re manually recording and sending out order tracking information in an excel document, you’re likely feeling very frustrated right now. 

One of the most common incoming questions teams get is Where is my order? (WISMO). And the best way to mitigate those messages is to implement an order tracking system that allows for self-service order tracking and automates shipping tracking notifications. Here's how to do it:

  1. Decide on an order tracking tool
  2. Integrate your order tracking tool with your ecommerce platform
  3. Configure your tracking app’s settings
  4. Let automation do its thing
  5. Integrate your order tracking software with your helpdesk
Tracking customer orders with automation decreases the number of "where is my order?" (WISMO) tickets your team gets.

This creates an overall better customer experience by providing transparency and reducing stress or frustration — customers see exactly where their orders are at any point in time. You’ll also be available for customers when they’re most engaged. 

Here’s how to implement one. 

Decide on an order tracking tool 

First, you’ll choose an order tracking tool like ShipBob, ShipStation, or AfterShip — we discuss each in more detail below. These tools take order information like tracking numbers and shipment status and automate their delivery to a customer. Many order tracking apps integrate with different ecommerce systems like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, 3DCart, or WooCommerce. So, you’ll need to make sure that the tool you choose integrates well with the ecommerce system you use. 

As an example, we’ll walk through setting up order tracking with AfterShip on a Shopify store. 

Integrate your order tracking tool with your ecommerce platform 

This is usually quick and easy, depending on the tool. You can add AfterShip from your Shopify store by visiting the Shopify App store from the apps section on the sidebar of your store’s dashboard. Then, click “Customize your store” and search for the AfterShip app. 

Set up order tracking with Shopify.
Source: AfterShip 

Or, you can sign up for an AfterShip account, visit the apps section, search for Shopify, and add it that way. Either way, visit the integrated app section on your Shopify/AfterShip account to make sure that the installation succeeded. 

Configure your tracking app’s settings

Now, you’ll want to make sure your courier mapping, import settings, and tracking page settings are good to go. You can access these from your AfterShip account’s app page — here’s AfterShip’s help doc on to assist with setup

  • Courier mapping: Add all of the shipping couriers you use so that AfterShip’s automation can pick them up. 
  • Import settings: Choose your order fulfillment timeframe and select the timeframe you’d like AfterShip to pull orders from. 
  • Tracking page settings: Choose the tracking page you’d like to use (in the case you had created multiple in AfterShip). 

Let automation do its thing 

Now that you have AfterShip set up, it will sync every three hours and pull shipping information from any new orders via a shopping cart, CSV file, or marketplace. You can also opt for AfterShip to send out automatic notifications via email or SMS at each milestone in the shipping process. 

Integrate your order tracking software with your helpdesk

Create a seamless experience for your customers and support team by integrating your order tracking tool with your helpdesk. By linking all shipping data and tracking information, you can get resolutions to customers faster and access all necessary information in one place. 

Why is this helpful? Well, in case customers end up bypassing your self-service order tracking information and ask your support team about the status of their order. Without the integration, you’ll have to switch tabs and copy/paste order information like tracking number, shipping address, and estimated delivery date. 

With an integration set up, that information automatically populates. Take a look at the image below. On the left is a Macro (or template) sent by a customer service agent, which contains variables that auomtatically pull tracking information from the integration. On the right is the personalized message the shopper receives.   

Use Gorgias to provide personalized order tracking to customers without any copy/pasting.

Set up is as simple as creating a connection between the two platforms so that they can talk to each other. To get an idea of what this looks like, take a look at the step-by-step installation guide to setting up the integration between AfterShip and Gorgias.

Save time, provide order transparency, and create better customer experiences by linking Gorgias and AfterShip  

“With all the Gorgias integrations, my team doesn't need to jump between tools. This has helped us dramatically improve customer satisfaction.”
— Amanda, Director of Operations at Darn Good Yarn

Make tracking information easily accessible

Once you have your automated order tracking system set up, you’re not quite off the hook yet. While many customers will opt in for email and SMS notifications, some may ignore those notifications, lose the tracking link, and still come to your website (or support inbox) looking for the status of their order.

That’s why we recommend putting an order tracking portal in (at least) the following three places:

Order confirmation emails

Whenever a customer places an order, they should get an order confirmation that includes a receipt and any additional information they could need between that moment and the arrival of their new item. This includes a prominent tracking number, and a link to the order tracking portal, whether that’s with a service like AfterShip or directly on your carrier’s website. 

If your fulfillment process doesn’t let you send this information right away, consider adding an additional shipping confirmation email to your post-purchase experience flow.

If you don’t currently send order (or shipping) confirmation emails, take a look at this guide (for Shopify users) on setting one up.

Embedded in the chat widget

While the primary function of the chat widget is to connect with customer support agents in a conversational way, some live chat apps like Gorgias allow you to embed buttons shoppers can click to track their order. In Gorgias, this is called a self-service order management flow.

Self-service order tracking in chat is possible natively in Gorgias, no integration required.

Here’s how the flow works for customers:

Self-service order tracking in chat, with Gorgias

Self-service order management is convenient for customers, and it also serves as a last layer of protection for your customer support inbox. Right when a customer opens the chat widget to send a question, they get the opportunity to see the status of their order, much faster than an agent could tell them.

Embedded in your knowledge base (or FAQ)

If you have an FAQ page or a larger knowledge base (which we call a Help Center), you can also embed order tracking here for customer accessibility.

Standalone self-service order tracking in the Help Center is possible natively in Gorgias, no integration required.

Much like order tracking built into the chat widget, this feature lets customers track their order with just a few clicks, right where they’d find other help content:

Self-service order tracking with Gorgias Help Center.
Source: ALOHAS

To direct customers here, you can include a link to your Help Center at the bottom of all your customer support and automated emails, in an email signature, for easy clicking.  

The best customer order tracking app options for ecommerce stores

There are several great choices on the market for customer order tracking systems that are both scalable and flexible depending on your needs and the ecommerce platform that you use. 

Start with customer support software that acts as your central hub

A powerful customer service team is the building block of a successful order management system. Helpdesks like Gorgias help centralize the communication of tracking requests via apps into one place. From there, customer service teams can respond/automate responses related to tracking and order statuses. These tools optimize the response time and increase the instances of a positive customer experience.

Gorgias integrates with a ton of popular ecommerce tools, making it a great single-view hub. A few of the most popular integrations are NetSuite, Reveal, Tolstoy, Magento, ChannelReply, and Shopify.

Apps that help automate customer order tracking for Shopify and BigCommerce

Choosing the best tools to automate your customer order tracking can be overwhelming. The good thing about having so many options is that you’ll end up with an order tracking system that works exactly the way you need it to. Here are some of the best order tracking providers that you can use to create a successful project management pipeline when it comes to tracking customer purchases.

ShipBob

ShipBob is a global logistics platform that provides online companies best-in-class order fulfillment, so customers receive fast and affordable shipping. With reliable fulfillment services and connected technology that powers their fulfillment network, they help improve transit times, shipping costs, and the delivery experience for your customers.

Check out this app in the Shopify App Store or the BigCommerce App Store. And if you use Gorgias, check out our integration with ShipBob.

AfterShip

With its seven notification triggers, easy-to-use email editor, and filter tracking tools, AfterShip helps your online business provide transparent communication to your customers. It also helps you keep an eye on delivery issues, so you can address them before they become problems that could end up damaging your customer experience.

Check out this app in the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Store. And if you use Gorgias, check out our integration with AfterShip.

ShipStation

ShipStation helps you save time, money, and sell more. You can compare rates and delivery times for all your carriers in one place to get the fastest, most cost-effective shipping for your customers. The app automates almost every facet of your shipping process, and offers intuitive dashboards and seamless interfaces for an optimal workflow.

Review this app's full offerings in the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Store

Extensions that help automate customer order tracking info for Magento 2

Below, take a look at three recommended order tracking extensions that integrate with Magento 2. 

ShipStation

ShipStation is highly scalable and provides everything you need for order management in one location. It integrates with Magento 2, as well as Shopify and BigCommerce. 

See if ShipStation is right for your ecommerce business in the Magento Marketplace.

Easyship

Whether you're shipping 50 or 50,000 orders a month, Easyship can help you lower shipping costs and increase conversion rates. Use this extension to manage your post-purchase process the way it makes the most sense for your business.

Read more about Easyship in the Magento Marketplace.

📚 Recommended reading: Our list of best practices for ecommerce shipping and our list of the best shipping software for ecommerce.

Mageworx

The Mageworx Order Editor extension lets you edit errors customers have made with their street number, phone number, name, and other shipping and billing details that they accidentally get wrong during checkout. You can also add or remove products, change pricing, and add coupons after an order has been placed. This saves your customer support team from having to cancel the order and start it again from the beginning.

Learn more about Mageworx in the Magento Marketplace.

Centralize your order status tracking and customer support management with Gorgias

Employing automation to facilitate easy order tracking, status updates, and real-time delivery information for your customers is a smart move for your online business. By committing to an end-to-end order tracking system, you make it possible for your company to cut costs, increase productivity, and encourage customer retention.

Gorgias is a powerful and comprehensive ecommerce help desk solution that can help you deflect repetitive tickets so your team can spend more time on higher-value conversations. 

Reach out today to learn how we integrate with your order status tracking system.

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