Have you ever experienced an odd customer service moment? That was a trick question – of course you have. We all have. And, I just experience one yesterday. So, I’m naming this article “Customer Service Awkward Moments: Live Human is Busy”. Let me explain.
I was on a site yesterday and I had a question about a product they were selling. I wasn’t interested in calling customer service, waiting, then wait some more, and then enter their IVR, then get transferred to an agent, and then get transferred to another agent and in the course of getting transferred, have the call disconnected. Not interested in that. But what happens next was both funny and instructive.
Live Human is Busy
So, I opted to try the site’s chat client. I hit on the “chat” button, hoping to get connected to someone that can help, but this is what I was presented with instead:
I had to take a double take. Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? Really? An attractive female agent with the words “Live Human is Busy. Click Here to Leave a Message” overlaid on top of her face. From this experience I draw a few lessons-learned:
1. Make the Service Unclickable
If chat is not available, then it’s important that the chat button be grayed out and unclickable. Perhaps replace the button with text indicating it’s not available or when it might be available. Making the customer click “chat” only to be told chat is not available is a waste of the customer’s time and doesn’t engender good feelings, just frustration.
2. Use Normal, Everyday English
Have you ever, in your life, ever said “live human is busy”? It’s a very strange phrase indeed. People just don’t talk like that. If a service is unavailable, then it’s important that any website copy or message rendered to the customer is friendly, helps them feel like it’s not their fault, and website content that connects with the customer.
Instead, I laughed. Humor is good, but I don’t think this company meant for their message to be funny. And, it clearly didn’t connect with me. Look at me – I’m writing about it – about what NOT to do. That’s not the outcome any company would want.
3. Don’t Ask for a Message
I had a question – this much is true. But, I’m not interested in leaving a message. In fact, having a questions puts me inside the sales funnel. That means I’m close to buying. So, for customers like me, I need to have my question answered or be told something that will invite me to come back. Something like
Hey, we’re sorry but our chat agents aren’t available right now. But, if you come back at (day, time) then we’d be happy to answer your question then. In the meantime, continue shopping. We’re sure you’ll find something you like
Okay, the website copy I propose is long, but (1) it’s friendly, (2) it invites the customer back at a specific day and time, (3) and projects confidence in the customer that she or he will find something they would want to buy and it projects confidence in the company that the actually have something valuable to sell.
You get the point.
Look Alive, Steven
That quote is from Nacho Libre – if you don’t get the inside joke, then just move on and pretend I didn’t even say it.
So, in your attempts to connect with the customer today, think hard and deep about actually connecting. When you do, you’ll find many small and important nuggets of items you can change to improve how you’re running your business. Who knows, maybe connecting with customers might even lead to company and revenue growth. You’ll have to decide that one.