June 16, 2019

Can Customers Tell if Live Chat Isn't Answered By U.S.-Based Agents?


Research shows that customers prefer to communicate with brands via live chat. One of the reasons for that is that live chat provides an open communication channel through which they can get answers to their queries in real-time.

The other reason customers prefer live chat over other communication channels is the fact that with live chat, customers feel they are speaking to someone who understands them.

Is that still the case with non-U.S. native live chat agents? Can customers really tell if live chat isn’t answered by U.S. based agents?

3 ways customers can tell your live chat agent isn’t U.S. based

While it is possible to train overseas chat agents to respond according to brand voice and guidelines, there are usually some tell-tale signs that show that they’re not based in the U.S. Here are a few of them:

1. Cultural nuances

Culture plays a big role in the way we relate to others. Because it’s inherent, no matter how hard you try to suppress it, it pops once in a while. For example, a live chat operator in India is more likely to have a more rigid and overly respectful (and usually apologetic) conversational style. This is opposed to the more laid back conversational style of most Americans.

2. Language differences

No, I don’t mean to imply that foreign-based live agents will converse with your customers in their local language. Language takes into account sentence structure and word choice. 

While everyone may speak English all over the world, non-native (English) speakers sometimes structure certain sentences differently. This is usually influenced by the way they would structure that particular sentence in their mother tongue. 

Word choice is another tell-tale sign that can alert customers that your live chat is not manned by U.S based agents. Let’s look at these 2 phrases as an example:

“I will revert to you shortly.”

“I’ll get back to you shortly."

You can easily understand how a sentence like this would create a lack of trust in the mind of a prospect.

3. Time differences

“Good morning. How may I help you today?”

This greeting may look 100% okay at first glance - until you realize it’s afternoon here in the U.S. Live agents living in different time zone often make this slip-up. All it takes is an inquisitive customer to point that out and enquire which part of the world the agent is in for them to find out that the agent is not based in the U.S.

Running a U.S. based business? Then you need U.S. based live chat agents

Having U.S. based live chat agents is a great way to avoid confusion and frustration as your live chat agents will have a better understanding of your product, processes, and audience.

Smith.ai Live Web Chat Free Trial

It's time to try live chat on your website. Just one new client captured via chat can pay for a year (or more) of Smith.ai's live web chat service. We provide fully staffed live website chat with professional U.S.-based agents. Outsourced live chat is best for small businesses like law firms, ecommerce businesses, IT consultants, financial planners, property managers, realtors, and marketing agencies (to name just a few!).

Our U.S.-based agents are highly skilled and can answer common questions about your business, qualify new leads, schedule appointments, take payments, and more. You stay in the loop when chat transcripts are sent to you after each conversation and logged in your CRM. There's no setup fee, services are month-to-month with no annual contract, and plans start at just $60/month. Learn more and get started with a 5-chat / 30-day free trial!


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