A few years ago, offering live chat was rare on a retailer’s website, but today live chat is popping up on many sites. Live chat is a tool that can either make or break the customer’s entire shopping experience, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are a few things to consider:

Please don’t do it unless you can do it well

This goes without saying: if you don’t have the resources and expertise to offer live chat, don’t do it. It won’t end well. You don’t have to offer it 24/7/365 – but make sure that customers have that expectation when they log on, so they’re not waiting forever for an answer. Clearly state your hours of operation and use a platform that offers an “online/offline” feature. Also, it’s important to note that often the customer care agents who are your best phone agents are not your best chat agents, so select the people who can communicate the most effectively and concisely.

Know your audience – and play to them

Sometimes the best live chat experience a customer will experience doesn’t result in a sale. While that may seem like a waste of resources to the retailer, the result of that one awesome experience going viral can lead to other sales they’d otherwise never see.

Be ‘on’ all the time

Live chat is an extension of your customer care, which should always ‘sound’ like your brand. If you sell home healthcare products, your tone may be serious or sensitive. If you sell surfboards, your brand may be all about surf lingo and crazy fun, dude! Whatever your personality, make sure it shines through in your agents’ live chat responses. Just because they can’t hear your voice doesn’t mean they can’t still hear it!