4 Tips to Respond to Live Chat Customer Service Messages Faster


Customer preferences can change dramatically over a very short time. Just look at the popularity of live chat. What once was impossible is now expected. Your customers and clients expect to reach your business within minutes by using a live chat function, whether that’s built into your website or you’re using an app, like Facebook Messenger. 

The problem is that this expectation is coupled with another – that someone will reply quickly. Often, your people are tied up with other responsibilities, perhaps even assisting other customers. So, how can you ensure that you’re able to reply to live chat customer service messages as fast as possible? We have four important tips to add to your customer support strategy.

The changing world of live chat customer service

Is live chat really that important to your business’s success? Do your customers prefer it over other communication channels? Before we talk about refining your strategy, let’s discuss live chat and how it affects both your customers and your business. 

  • When messages are answered promptly, 82% of customers are happier with live chat than email or phone support.
  • 60% of consumers expect an instant response with live chat and the same percentage expect to wait no more than 10 minutes when specifically contacting customer support via live chat, as opposed to initiating a general chat

As you can see, live chat is a critical communication channel, and your customers expect a swift response when they initiate a chat. How do you ensure that you can deliver?

1. Make it a priority for your business.

It’s hard to respond to chat messages quickly if monitoring that channel isn’t a priority for your people. And you cannot expect your team to automatically know that they need to be on top of live chat messages if that has never been explicitly explained. 

Remember that you’re responsible for setting your team’s priorities and leading by example. Make sure that you make your expectations clear about answering chat messages. Stipulate the maximum time a chat message can wait for a response, how your team should handle multiple messages at the same time, and how they should prioritize various responsibilities. And if you are not able to respond in a timely manner, make sure you turn off live chat or have a message saying nobody is available at the moment and what hours your live chat is staffed.

2. Build in redundancy.

It’s unrealistic to make one person responsible for handling live chat and other forms of customer communication and then expect them to be able to answer every message when it comes through. You need a cascading system that ensures you have the redundancy necessary during times of peak demand.

Here’s an example. Amos is usually responsible for handling customer communication by phone, email, and live chat. Ordinarily, that’s not a problem. However, what happens when Amos has to juggle multiple customers at the same time? One of those customers isn’t going to receive fast responses. That’s where your cascading system kicks in. When she realizes that Amos is tied up, Julie steps in to handle the customer communication that would otherwise go unanswered. 

3. Invest in AI.

Let’s be honest. No amount of redundancy will ensure that every message can be answered within seconds every single time. It’s just not possible. Too many variables affect the situation, from the number of staff members you have to the time of day when the message is sent (after hours, for instance). AI is the only solution that ensures your customers will receive an instant response to their messages 24/7.

AI has evolved immensely in a very short time. It’s completely capable of providing immediate answers to customer chat requests, even if they’re not in English. You can program it to answer basic questions, collect information, direct customers to where they can find further information, and so much more. AI can even have entire conversations with your customers, ensuring that your team members can focus on the task at hand without sacrificing customer satisfaction with slow chat response times.

Today’s AI can even understand customer intent when a question might be phrased differently. By using trigger words, the AI can surface relevant information. It can even suggest handing the customer off to a live agent when the customer is ready, increasing your speed to lead dramatically.

4. Augment with human agents.

Sometimes, AI just isn’t enough. No matter how advanced it might become, some situations are simply too sensitive or complex for AI to handle. That’s when you need human agents who can step in seamlessly, pick up the thread of the conversation, and provide expert help and guidance to your customers while your in-house team focuses on mission-critical tasks and responsibilities. 

By augmenting AI with human agents, you provide a smooth, positive experience for customers, whether they’re messaging your brand for the first time or dealing with a problem. When you train the system with your business’s data, both the AI and human agent will have access to customer history to inform responses and improve outcomes.

Your live chat solution

Live chat is an essential communication channel today. No matter your industry or niche, your customers expect it. They also expect near-instant responses, which is often impossible. Harnessing the power of AI for live chat responsiveness ensures that you’re available whenever your customers might need you. Adding live agents into the mix further enhances the value offered, as well as ensuring an optimum customer experience. 

At Smith.ai, we’ve developed our industry-leading AI over many years, ensuring that it’s the most capable option on the market. Coupled with our expert human agents, that ensures we can provide you with seamless live chat service, allowing you to build a stronger brand and drive success.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.


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Written by Mike Graner

Mike Graner is the Marketing Manager at Smith.ai. He focuses on engaging content, company updates, and in-person events.


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