Many businesses rely on chats to manage customer service, support, and internal project management. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a business these days that doesn’t utilize chat communications in some form.
While chat offers a quick and efficient way to coordinate the needs of multiple customers at once, it comes with its own challenges and business communication etiquette tips to follow.
Let’s review the 10 do’s and don’ts of chat etiquette along with tips for improving communication with your audiences.
1. Be Positive
Business chat essentials include maintaining a positive tone whenever possible and minimizing time wasted on unnecessary chatter. The goal here is to balance a positive tone with a sense of forward momentum. This is particularly true for customer communications; those calling a support line want to feel heard and, perhaps even more importantly, want to get their issue resolved quickly. As such, it’s good business communication etiquette to keep things friendly without letting the conversation veer too far off from the call’s objective.
2. Maintain a Professional Tone
This is an obvious one but worth pointing out all the same. Chat etiquette at work is different from personal conversations; incorrect spelling or slang responses suggest an inadequate or ill-informed customer service team. Ensure all representatives communicate clearly with proper spelling and grammar across all messages.
3. Keep Things Confidential
Be aware that online chat rules work a bit differently than other types of business communication, such as email. Certain messaging systems may lack the privacy and security inherent to other forms of communication, and in some cases, may lack the appropriate controls needed to guarantee mobile communication compliance with certain industry regulations.
Ideally, these issues will be spelled out in a company’s guidelines for using instant messaging in the workplace, but as employees are often the weakest link of a security chain, the advice bears repeating. Employees should avoid sharing sensitive or confidential information over chat applications unless they have the appropriate permissions to do so.
4. Leverage Pre-Built Stock Responses
For most support-oriented calls, businesses will be addressing similar issues over and over—and each support rep may need to juggle multiple calls at once. As such, it can help to set up canned responses that can be quickly deployed across calls to ensure a timely response for each queued client. But remember, personalization is key in business chat etiquette. Leverage stock responses as needed but be sure to give each client appropriate personalized attention as well.
5. End Support Chats Appropriately
This is a small issue that nevertheless has big implications for a customer’s perception of your brand. Make sure you end all support chats appropriately, first ensuring that the issue has been resolved and offering options to follow up, if necessary. Remember to thank them for their time and provide a clear indication that the chat is ending. There’s nothing worse for the customer experience than feeling as if they’ve been left hanging.
6. Tailor the Length of Chat Messages
As a point of chat etiquette, be aware of how readers will engage with, and respond to, the chats you send. While chat is designed as a medium for back-and-forth communication, sending a large number of small messages can get confusing for readers. (We’ve all experienced what it’s like to respond to a message only to receive another chat as we’re typing…)
For business communication, include all pertinent support details in a single text block and try to minimize the back-and-forth on key details. Once the issue has been established, you can begin a more relaxed dialogue.
7. Keep Cultural Context in Mind
Particularly for companies with diverse global markets, it’s important to keep cultural nuances in mind throughout the support experience. Make sure you’re referencing any available customer information to know with whom you’re speaking, where they’re located, and what type of support they’ve received in the past. Different cultures have unique rules for greetings, applying titles to names, and many other issues. Get familiar with your audience and make sure you’re speaking to them on their own terms.
8. Use the Communication Style Your Clients Prefer
When communicating with clientele, it’s always a good idea to default to their preferred communication method. Chats offer quick, real-time communication, but many issues are too complex to be resolved over chat. Additionally, chat requires ongoing engagement from clients who may have other scheduling obligations. Although business chats are a popular outreach method in the era of remote work and BYOD, be ready to extend invitations to continue discussions over email, phone, or whatever method the client prefers.
9. Be Mindful of Group Text Etiquette
While some business communications may require chats with multiple users at once, be mindful of how group text etiquette changes with more users. In particular, make an effort to communicate clearly and concisely, keeping chats on-topic at all times. It’s a question of respecting others’ time. With multiple eyes on each message, side conversations or unnecessary diatribes can quickly eat away at productivity. Respect your colleagues—and your clients—by observing polite group chat rules.
10. Ensure a Cohesive Customer Experience Across Channels
Many customer outreach strategies leverage multiple communication platforms in tandem. It’s common for a business to manage communications across platforms like WhatsApp, LINE, or Signal, along with internal systems like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Without a way to coordinate the data flowing across these applications, it’s hard to guarantee a quick, unified customer experience.
Businesses should seek out secure business communication solutions that integrate with all applications currently in use. Doing so guarantees that all customer information will be aggregated (no matter which platform it’s on) while ensuring that all communications remain secure and compliant.
Master Your Business Chat Etiquette With a Unified System
With so many disparate chat platforms and applications to manage, the typical business may struggle to maintain a consistent online chat etiquette strategy across channels. Solutions like ours at LeapXpert were purpose-built to help companies streamline mobile communication and ensure compliance, security, efficiency, and governance across all touchpoints.
If you’re ready to explore solutions that support better customer service and internal efficiency across the board, LeapXpert can help. Contact us to learn more about our solutions.
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