Chat support is meant to reassure customers that you’re available to help them, but what happens when you’re not available?
How can you demonstrate customers that you still want to help if your chat support isn’t available 24/7? Even if you can’t get back to them immediately soon, how do you make sure they’re still heard?
If you provide live chat assistance to your customers, the messages you send when you’re not in the office are almost as crucial as the ones you send when you’re online.
What are offline messages?
Messages provided to consumers who use your chat support service outside of business hours are known as offline messages.
When a consumer clicks on your chat support box, a notice appears to inform them that they will not receive an immediate answer from an agent. This message could include the following:
- an introduction informing clients that your support team is currently unavailable;
- information on other support channels they may wish to utilise;
- information on your regular working hours, so they know when you’ll be back in the office to assist them.
You can customise this offline message with most chat support systems to match your brand’s tone of voice and internal processes. This means you can ensure that you’re providing excellent customer service even when you’re not open for business.
Offline messaging can be turned on and off manually. Even so, finding an online messaging programme that automatically shows offline messages when consumers contact you outside of work hours is usually easier.
A smart chat support app can also help you incorporate customer communications received outside of business hours into your overall customer service workflow. When a customer sends you a message while you’re offline, your app can transform it into a support ticket that your staff can take up when they return.
Why are offline messages so important?
Real-time messaging can be an effective way to strengthen client interactions. You can answer to consumers’ questions quickly, create rapport with them, and show them that you’re there to help by sending them SMS or social media messages.
Customers who contact you through your chat app frequently expect to have a live interaction with one of your representatives. When you’re not available, they may be disappointed.
You risk losing the relationship you’ve developed with them if you leave them hanging when you’re out of the office, or perhaps sending them to one of your competitors for aid with their problem. Nearly two-thirds of customers, according to Forbes, will not wait more than two minutes for assistance.
However, many customers are willing to wait if they are given regular information on how their enquiry is being processed or if they understand why they must wait.
This makes sending offline messages a simple method to reassure clients that they are not being forgotten. You may let them know you’re out of the office, give them some options for next steps, and establish expectations for when they’ll be able to speak with one of your team members with just one message.
Best practices for setting up your offline messages
So, you’re all set to compose and send your offline message. What should you think about when putting one together?
Make it clear when you’ll be back in the office.
If at all possible, tell consumers when they may expect a response from you. They’ll know how long they’ll have to wait and whether they’d like to obtain help through a different channel this way.
Provide alternative options for finding the support they need
Instead of turning clients away, provide them additional opportunities to fix their problems. Customers may be directed to use your AI chatbot, send an email, request a callback, or check your FAQs page, depending on what you have accessible.
Customers can decide for themselves if they want to try to fix their problem another way or wait till they can chat with a member of your staff if you inform them about the alternative help options available. Even if they’d prefer to wait until you’re available, they’ll appreciate you taking the time to clarify their options.
If they want to wait, they may simply reply to your offline message with a note for your support team to read when they return to the internet.
This would not have been possible in the past with traditional real-time messaging because both the customer and the support team member had to be using the app at the same time or the messages would not be delivered.
Today’s chat support apps, on the other hand, use asynchronous messaging, which means customers and businesses can send and receive messages at their leisure, much like they would in a text message conversation. This means your consumer may ask their inquiry and continue about their business, knowing that they’ll be notified (typically by email) when you respond.
Use chatbots to boost customer engagement.
If your customer can’t discover the answer, they’ll turn to a FAQ for help. You’d be shocked how frequently chatbots can fix a problem and rescue a customer relationship. Chatbots can do the following:
respond to common consumer inquiries about prices, services, and policies
Once you’re back online, look for terms that might suggest a customer is about to churn so you can prioritise their enquiry.
Follow up as soon as you can once you’re back online
When you set up an offline message in your chat app, every time someone sends a message outside of your business hours, a support ticket will be produced.
When you return to the office, attempt to respond to these questions as quickly as possible. This is significant for two reasons: first,
- If a customer says they don’t want to use one of your other help channels, they’ve probably already been waiting a long time for their problem to be resolved. The faster you respond to their question, the more likely you are to delight them with excellent customer service.
- Even if your consumer chooses to resolve their issue through one of your other channels, you should double-check that it has been resolved. This demonstrates that you care about the consumer and allows you to ensure that they are entirely happy by answering any leftover questions or concerns.
Make your offline messages count.
When setting up chat support, it’s easy to overlook offline messages, but they can have a big impact on how your customers feel about your company. When done correctly, they can help you prevent minor concerns from becoming major complaints and even help you build stronger long-term relationships with your clients.
Make sure that the chat software you choose fulfils your high customer service requirements on every level, from offline messaging to chatbots and self-service alternatives.
It’s a small gesture to remind clients that you care about providing a positive experience even when you’re not working.