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Time to Talk: the Best Approaches to Building Customer Rapport During Online Chat

If there’s one tool that has emerged in recent years that enhances your ability to engage and build lasting relationships between a company and its customers, it’s the chatbot. Its effectiveness does not just lie in its technical capabilities, but also in its ability to establish a personal connection with customers.

If you are looking to incorporate a chatbot into your business, you’ve got to balance the functions between technical prowess and the personal touch. But what are the best approaches, not just for chatbots but for online chat in general? Let’s show you.

Personalized Greetings and Conversations

If you are looking to integrate a chatbot for website pages, you need to set the tone for the entire conversation. Personalized greetings can do so much to build rapport with a customer. When we look at what a chatbot can do, maintaining this sense of familiarity becomes critical to building rapport. 

We need to make customers feel valued, and therefore being able to maintain context throughout the conversation and reference past interactions can demonstrate that we are being attentive. From the perspective of somebody having an online chat with a customer, it can be easier to refer to some form of bible to maintain better communication with a customer

When building that rapport with people, we should always be courteous and recognize that a personalized approach is going to help the customer open up and be far more relaxed, which can help to create a mutually beneficial solution.

Empathetic Responses

One of the key components of building rapport is empathy. A chatbot equipped with empathetic responses can acknowledge and validate user emotions.

One of the most important aspects of effective chatbot interactions is Natural Language Processing (NLP). This enables chatbots to respond in a human-like manner by comprehending specific nuances of the language and therefore create a more contextually appropriate response. 

Empathetic responses are a far more productive human response as opposed to an emotion like sympathy. Building a relationship with a customer is partly about ensuring that you put yourself in their shoes. Apologizing, but also showing a sense of understanding of the situation can go a long way to tearing down their walls of defense. 

As we gain insight into a specific problem or query when we showcase an empathetic response, this validates the customer’s emotions, and this can be effective whether they are expressing frustration or satisfaction. Creating a positive impression is critical because it reinforces the perception that a business acknowledges and values how its customers feel.

This is very important in the world of online chat because of the lack of personalization that can be prominent. If we are to showcase empathy, whether through online chat or via a chatbot, this is another step in the right direction.

Seamless Integration

There is so much that needs to be improved with regard to online chat, whether through human interaction or via a chatbot. There can be instances when human intervention is invaluable. A chatbot is excellent at automating routine tasks, and when these tasks are not getting the right result, it needs to seamlessly transfer to a human agent. This will ensure continuity and avoid frustrating users. 

Additionally, the components of integration via a chatbot can also make for a better interaction with the brand. We should elevate the customer experience wherever possible.

We can do this via the chat interface through sharing multimedia content such as videos, images, or product demos. Because a customer is not getting the benefits of interacting with the business face-to-face and only has the website pages or other limited information, it may not inform their decision-making completely, which then means they don’t have a sense of autonomy to either complete the purchase or to be in control of the outcome. 

This is what we need to achieve with our customers, and therefore having interactive content sharing captures attention, but it also delivers information in a more memorable fashion. For example, if an online chat customer service advisor can share their screen with the customer, this goes an extra step further to demystify the process.

This is pivotal if a customer is trying to find the status of an order or if something has gone missing. If a customer service advisor has access to more information, this is going to increase transparency between the business and the customer, and this can help businesses deliver better customer service because they are not trying to hide anything.

Proactive Assistance

One of the most essential hallmarks of delivering exceptional customer service is about anticipating customer needs. Customer service agents and chatbots can offer more relevant information and suggestions before a customer explicitly requests them. This goes to streamline the user experience, but it also showcases the business’s ability to add value to the experience. 

Addressing potential queries before they arise is an essential aspect of delivering amazing service. We should figure out how best to add value to our customer’s lives by making things easier for them. Being proactive is one of those fundamental human behaviors that transcends boundaries in customer service.

If we can anticipate what a customer wants before they do, this means we can solve the problem quicker and improve their perception of us, but it also increases business productivity.

Integrating with Customer Data

This is where a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system becomes an invaluable tool. We should anticipate the needs before they do, and one of the best approaches to doing this is to look at how their previous interactions with the business have colored their perceptions. But it can also inform the type of service we give to them.

It’s more than just demographics these days. 

We need to be personal in every single way beyond the ways in which we address them. Chatbots integrated with customer databases can retrieve relevant information such as order history and preferences to tailor specific responses.

Having personalization as a key part of your interactions with a customer can demonstrate a deep understanding of their journey and enhance the overall user experience.

Multichannel Accessibility

Online chat is as much about meeting the customer on their terms as much as delivering the results. Customers engage with businesses through various channels.

Messaging apps, social media, and, of course, websites can ensure a consistent and convenient experience for the customer. It should be a key part of your communication strategy that you also need to maintain context across these different channels. 

It’s more important than ever to have a unified and cohesive interaction between the business and the customer. This means addressing components such as tone of voice and making sure that the wording uttered by the chatbot or the online chat advisor is in line with the business.

The context will contribute to a unified and cohesive level of interaction between both parties. Because when a customer is interacting with a business, they need to feel like they can pick up from their last interaction. 

This is where a CRM is invaluable but it’s also important for the chatbot to be able to access his information, and the customer service advisor to have the ability to scan previous interactions quickly. This can partly be attained through a better user experience for the advisor.

Many in-house systems can be complex or have too many different functions, but we should always remember to keep things simple.

Feedback Collection

Every interaction with a customer should help a business understand how it can improve. So many businesses make the mistake of putting profits before people. Implementing online chat or a chatbot function needs to create a unified experience for the customer that solves the problem, but it should also gather insight into the overall effectiveness of the experience.

Having an iterative approach will demonstrate a commitment to refining this user experience based on the customer’s input.

This means that as the business improves in scope and increases customer numbers, the company can expand in an organic fashion safe in the knowledge that they are always operating with a customer-first mentality. 

Feedback collection should be part and parcel of how we measure interactions with customers to ensure that we can always fine-tune our abilities.

This is particularly important when incorporating chatbots because of the lack of human interaction. So many organizations are now bringing in chatbots because they believe it’s a great way to save money and streamline efforts by conducting services better than the human component.

The fact is that if you want to build a rapport with customers through a chat function, a chatbot is a wonderful resource but as it stands it won’t be the picture-perfect replacement for what a human can do. 

We all know the difference between a chatbot and a human, and while a business can operate from the perspective that streamlining communications by improving interactions can solve the vast majority of problems, there are still 20% of customer queries that transcend the ordinary.

This is where building a rapport between the business and the customer is about striking the right balance between the technical capabilities and the personalization. 

Businesses that utilize chatbots can invariably streamline their operations but also having the human component can sync with the customer, laying the foundation for long-term satisfaction, customer loyalty, and solving all problems.

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