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Hi All

Before you glance thru this document, i would like to question on why do you use etiquette and general manners while you chat in a business forum? In simple terms; The idea is to have good conversation while you troubleshoot most meanest queries from customers in every bomb run, with a sharp, skillful and professional approach.

Set aside questions in your mind on what color of your mood or that you just returned from a funeral parlour or the best and sweetest memory reenacted in slow motion, while you troubleshoot, every query of your customer. These are petty and paltry questions which are highly irrelevant and out of place in a business chat decorum.

However, irrespective of whether you use Rediff Bol, Yahoo or MSN messengers, there is etiquette to be maintained while chatting with a client or colleague. This is especially important when you have never seen the person you are chatting with, considering you need to make a good impression and build a rapport.

Create an identity

When choosing a nickname, avoid jazzy ones like 'Cool-dude 24' or 'Sweetie-pie'. Keep it business-like and simple. If your name has already been taken, try adding a unique number in front of it. For instance, add your vehicle number

in front of your name (Amit 0748) to make it as unique and easy to remember as Amit_sales, if you work in the sales department.

Availability status feature

All IM applications allow you to set your status -- for instance, 'Available', 'Away' , etc. Some also let you customise

messages like 'I am in a meeting until 2.30 pm'. If you are set to 'Available' but are away from your computer, you may upset people waiting for a response, so don't forget to update your messenger's status.

Be polite

You won't be judged by the colour of your skin, eyes, hair, your weight, age or clothing. Not even your accent. You

will be judged only by the quality of your writing. Say 'Goodbye', 'Thanks for your time', 'Good day' or some other greeting, and wait for a farewell from the other person before terminating a chat session. You can politely refuse a customer's unreasonable demand, empathise with a colleague, and apologise to your boss, sound polite, professional and courteous with the right choice or words. Here are some standard chat phrases you can use:

. How may I help you today? . Thank you for being so patient . We value your inputs . I'll get right back to you . I'm glad I could help you . Would you like me to review anything else with you? . I'll take care of that right away Fonts, text, colour and animation

TYPING YOUR MESSAGES IN UPPERCASE is considered rude -- it gives the impression that you are shouting or being aggressive. If you are a slow typist, stick in lowercase. Be careful with your font size. Don't use a size 22 font

when a size 10 will look a lot better. While choosing a font, stick to something conservative like Arial or Times new roman in black letters, as opposed to Monotype Corsica characters in hot pink. It is annoying and distracting to use animation in a business chat. It does not portray professionalism either on your part or that of your organisation, so save it for personal conversations.

Language and tone

During a business chat, spelling, grammar and tone count. Let your tone be positive. Use pronouns like I, We, etc. to add a positive tone. Say, 'When you complete the report' instead of 'If you complete the report.' The latter sounds aggressive and may put someone on the defensive.

Begin all new sentences with capital letters, capitalise all proper nouns, and do not forget to capitalise the pronoun 'I', irrespective of where you use it in a sentence. Beware of spelling errors. Keep a list of most commonly mispronounced word pairs within your reach or paste it on your workstation. For instance, principle/ principle, their/there, advice/advise, etc.

Jargon, slang, abbreviations

When used in a live chat and instant messaging conversation, this can help reduce keystrokes, but may come across

as unprofessional to the person you are communicating with.

Until you get to know a person better, or see them using the same lingo, it is best to steer clear of slang like LOL (Laughing out loud), BRB (Be right back), JAM (Just a minute) and emoticons. If the other person isn't familiar with the lingo, it may confuse them. You can use abbreviations that are acceptable and comprehensible by both chat partners. These include COB (Close of Business) or EOD (End of the day). Look at the Chatter ' s Jargon Dictionary for a comprehensive list of abbreviations and emoticons. And yes, do proofread your text before hitting the 'Enter' key. In situations where emotions are running high, one wrong word can turn a difficult situation into an explosive one. If, at any point, you accidentally have hit the 'Send' button before proofreading your text, send a correction message highlighting the correction. A quick apology and correction will show that you care.

Listen, and pay attention

Use words like 'okay', 'alright', 'sure', 'definitely', 'great', 'absolutely', etc. to imply that you are listening. You can also use phrases like 'I hear you', 'I'm listening, please go ahead', or 'I understand what you are saying' to acknowledge

the other person. Steer clear of slang like 'mmhh' and 'ah' to show you are listening -- it sounds unprofessional. Making the other person repeat himself or herself gives the impression that you are not being attentive. It helps to be complimentary during a chat. For example, if a client asks a difficult question, instead of replying with 'No clue', answer with something like 'Good question, Mr Sharma. Hold on for a minute and I'll find out.' The few extra keystrokes are worth it. Avoid multiple chat sessions, especially while chatting with clients or your boss. You may miss an important point in the other person's messages or lose the gist of the conversation.

Humour? Use caution

Humour is very culture specific. There are all sorts of cultural and personal differences among people from different places, so what may seem funny to you may be considered weak or even offensive to others. For example, if you are chatting with an American client, 'LOL' is acceptable. However, a British client may take offence because they tend to be more formal. Give people enough time to respond. 'Machine gun' messaging is a good way to get people to ignore you in future. Multiple questions sent to a recipient before they have had a chance to answer can seem more like an interrogation than a conversation. A business chat can be a great way to build relationships with colleagues and clients. Getting 'chat smart', then, is something you should work towards as quickly as possible.

5 TIPS FOR BUSINESS INSTANT MESSAGING/CHAT ETIQUETTE

MARCH 23, 2011 BY TOSHIBATELECOM

Until you get to know a person better, or see them using the same lingo, itChatter ' s Jargon Dictionary for a comprehensive list of abbreviations and emoticons. And yes, do proofread your text before hitting the 'Enter' key. In situations where emotions are running high, one wrong word can turn a difficult situation into an explosive one. If, at any point, you accidentally have hit the 'Send' button before proofreading your text, send a correction message highlighting the correction. A quick apology and correction will show that you care. Listen, and pay attention Use words like 'okay', 'alright', 'sure', 'definitely', 'great', 'absolutely', etc. to imply that you are listening. You can also use phrases like 'I hear you', 'I'm listening, please go ahead', or 'I understand what you are saying' to acknowledge the other person. Steer clear of slang like 'mmhh' and 'ah' to show you are listening -- it sounds unprofessional. Making the other person repeat himself or herself gives the impression that you are not being attentive. It helps to be complimentary during a chat. For example, if a client asks a difficult question, instead of replying with 'No clue', answer with something like 'Good question, Mr Sharma. Hold on for a minute and I'll find out.' The few extra keystrokes are worth it. Avoid multiple chat sessions, especially while chatting with clients or your boss. You may miss an important point in the other person's messages or lose the gist of the conversation. Humour? Use caution Humour is very culture specific. There are all sorts of cultural and personal differences among people from different places, so what may seem funny to you may be considered weak or even offensive to others. For example, if you are chatting with an American client, 'LOL' is acceptable. However, a British client may take offence because they tend to be more formal. Give people enough time to respond. 'Machine gun' messaging is a good way to get people to ignore you in future. Multiple questions sent to a recipient before they have had a chance to answer can seem more like an interrogation than a conversation. A business chat can be a great way to build relationships with colleagues and clients. Getting 'chat smart', then, is something you should work towards as quickly as possible. 5 TIPS FOR BUSINESS INSTANT MESSAGING/CHAT ETIQUETTE MARCH 23, 2011 BY TOSHIBATELECOM LEAVE A COMMENT A couple of months ago our call center was upgraded with latest webchat f eature that allows our customers to communicate with us online via our website. When I first started corresponding with customers through chat message sessions I experienced some miscommunications that lead tofrustration on both sides. As it turns out, I was just inexperienced with this new world of instant messaging and chat. As more and more businesses start to adopt instant messaging/chat as useful communication tool between co-workers and customers, the more likely that they will need standards of etiquette to avoid misunderstandings. Here are five tips for business instant messaging/chat etiquette. Keep it simple Keep your messages short, simple and casual. You not suppose to be long-winded or write essay-type messages, especially when a short sentence gets the job done. By the way, the majority of instant messaging systems have limits to number of characters you can send. If you need longer explanations, do not be afraid to take conversation to email or the phone. " id="pdf-obj-1-21" src="pdf-obj-1-21.jpg">
LEAVE A COMMENT
LEAVE A COMMENT

A couple of months ago our call

Until you get to know a person better, or see them using the same lingo, itChatter ' s Jargon Dictionary for a comprehensive list of abbreviations and emoticons. And yes, do proofread your text before hitting the 'Enter' key. In situations where emotions are running high, one wrong word can turn a difficult situation into an explosive one. If, at any point, you accidentally have hit the 'Send' button before proofreading your text, send a correction message highlighting the correction. A quick apology and correction will show that you care. Listen, and pay attention Use words like 'okay', 'alright', 'sure', 'definitely', 'great', 'absolutely', etc. to imply that you are listening. You can also use phrases like 'I hear you', 'I'm listening, please go ahead', or 'I understand what you are saying' to acknowledge the other person. Steer clear of slang like 'mmhh' and 'ah' to show you are listening -- it sounds unprofessional. Making the other person repeat himself or herself gives the impression that you are not being attentive. It helps to be complimentary during a chat. For example, if a client asks a difficult question, instead of replying with 'No clue', answer with something like 'Good question, Mr Sharma. Hold on for a minute and I'll find out.' The few extra keystrokes are worth it. Avoid multiple chat sessions, especially while chatting with clients or your boss. You may miss an important point in the other person's messages or lose the gist of the conversation. Humour? Use caution Humour is very culture specific. There are all sorts of cultural and personal differences among people from different places, so what may seem funny to you may be considered weak or even offensive to others. For example, if you are chatting with an American client, 'LOL' is acceptable. However, a British client may take offence because they tend to be more formal. Give people enough time to respond. 'Machine gun' messaging is a good way to get people to ignore you in future. Multiple questions sent to a recipient before they have had a chance to answer can seem more like an interrogation than a conversation. A business chat can be a great way to build relationships with colleagues and clients. Getting 'chat smart', then, is something you should work towards as quickly as possible. 5 TIPS FOR BUSINESS INSTANT MESSAGING/CHAT ETIQUETTE MARCH 23, 2011 BY TOSHIBATELECOM LEAVE A COMMENT A couple of months ago our call center was upgraded with latest webchat f eature that allows our customers to communicate with us online via our website. When I first started corresponding with customers through chat message sessions I experienced some miscommunications that lead tofrustration on both sides. As it turns out, I was just inexperienced with this new world of instant messaging and chat. As more and more businesses start to adopt instant messaging/chat as useful communication tool between co-workers and customers, the more likely that they will need standards of etiquette to avoid misunderstandings. Here are five tips for business instant messaging/chat etiquette. Keep it simple Keep your messages short, simple and casual. You not suppose to be long-winded or write essay-type messages, especially when a short sentence gets the job done. By the way, the majority of instant messaging systems have limits to number of characters you can send. If you need longer explanations, do not be afraid to take conversation to email or the phone. " id="pdf-obj-1-28" src="pdf-obj-1-28.jpg">

center was upgraded with latest

webchatfeature that allows our customers to communicate with us online via our website. When I first

started corresponding with customers through chat message sessions I experienced some

miscommunications that lead tofrustration on both sides. As it turns out, I was just inexperienced with this new world of instant messaging and chat. As more and more businesses start to adopt instant messaging/chat as useful communication tool between co-workers and customers, the more likely that they will need standards of etiquette to avoid misunderstandings. Here are five tips for business instant messaging/chat etiquette.

Keep it simple

Keep your messages short, simple and casual. You not suppose to be long-winded or write essay-type messages, especially when a short sentence gets the job done. By the way, the majority of instant messaging systems have limits to number of characters you can send. If you need longer explanations, do not be afraid to take conversation to email or the phone.

One step at a time

Do not try to multitask or cram as much information or questions in to a single instant message. This can

result in frustration, confusion and miscommunication. Instead, try to limit the conversation to one subject or

question at a time, and then once it is finished, move on to the next topic.

GEOTJ (Go easy on the jargon)

BYKT, right! You are most likely saying, “What?” When using jargon you must know your audience. If you are chatting with a co-worker you can use some jargon, as long as they know what you are talking about. If you talking to an actual customer, talk the same as you would in person, over the phone or by email. Don’t worry if the person on the other end uses some jargon you cannot understand, you can always Google it, ask co-worker, or just ask the customer to spell it out. Jargon maybe a great timesaver, but it can put a strain on communications and lead to misunderstandings.

Watch what you write

When you write, watch your spelling and grammar. Having misspelled words or incorrect use of grammar

can cause a misunderstanding between the chatting parties. To avoid any spelling and grammar issues, learn some of the most common spelling and grammarmistakes. And always be sure to review what you wrote before hitting send.

Write what you are thinking

When you are in a chat session with someone, it is common to encounter some awkward pauses in the exchange. Your mind will start to wonder, “did he/she leave?” or “did they forget about me?” The longer it takes the other party to respond, the more likely you will start to feel insecure. Being ignored is a very

powerful negative response and something you want to avoid at all cost. In order to avoid what is being described above you need to write what you are thinking. And no, I do not mean to write how you are feeling. What I mean is to write what you are THINKING right after reading the message. For example, if someone sent you a question that will require you to think about the question for a couple of minutes, write back, “Give me a minute to think about the question.” Another example is if you are in the middle of chat session need to step away, write back, “Be right back.” And remember, do not be afraid to ask the other party to take the conversion to email or phone.

Your Turn

What are your thoughts? What has been your experience with IM/chat? If you are new, what do you find the

most difficult to learn and understand? Have you had any humorous moments when chatting with someone?

But chat has rapidly emerged as a highly effective means of communicating with prospects and customers
But chat has rapidly emerged as a highly effective means of communicating with prospects and customers and is
increasingly being used by businesses of all sizes around the world. Traditionally, chat has been a popular means of
communicating with personal acquaintances or coworkers, but over the past several years it’s been adopted by
businesses as an effective business communication tool. Today you’ll find businesses using chat to do everything
from communicate with prospects, customers, partners and vendors; answer product questions; quote and close
new business; and provide remote technical support. Chat is enabling companies across diverse industries to
conduct real-time business while significantly reducing costs, improving operational efficiency and increasing revenue
and customer satisfaction.
While chat has evolved into a real-time business communication tool, the evolution of chat etiquette seems
While chat has evolved into a real-time business communication tool, the evolution of chat etiquette seems to be
lagging a bit. Informal peer-to-peer chat that includes slang, jargon, abbreviations, improper grammar, humor,
emoticons and even profanity has become not only accepted but expected. However, allowing this informal
communication style to spill over into your business communication is not the best choice. Why? Some prospects
and customers, especially international customers, still find this style of communication inappropriate in today’s global
business environment.
The majority of the developed world still values proper verbal and written communication as
a hallmark of intelligence and professionalism.
We are all still graded on how well we communicate. Even through
chat, the words you use and the manner in which you use them greatly influences prospects’ and customers’ overall
impression of both you and your company.
My Google search on “Business Chat Etiquette” served up a number of articles and slides that provide a consistent
set of business chat protocols, most of which sound like good advice your Momma would have provided when you
were in grade school. The following is a summary of practical business chat etiquette which should be reviewed
before you hit SEND on your next business chat session.
● Be polite. When you chat with a customer or a prospect, you’re acting as an
Be polite. When you chat with a customer or a prospect, you’re acting as an agent of your company.
Whether you like it or not, the customer will form an opinion about you and your company based on your
behavior, attitude, tone and ability to communicate. In fact, 80 percent of what your customers will remember
about your company is based on your behavior and attitude. So, do what your Momma told you, and always be
polite, professional and courteous. This can be accomplished by using polite phrases such as:
Good morning or afternoon
How can I help you?
Thank you for your patience
I’ll get right back to you
I’m happy to help you
I’ll take care of that immediately
Is there anything else I can do for you today?
After writing, proofreading and sending your well-written message, pause and allow the recipient of the message
enough time to read and comprehend it. Sending back-to-back messages or “machine gun” messaging will likely
annoy your customers and prospects.
Be positive. Your attitude toward the reader and the subject of your chat message is referred to as your
tone, which is present in all of your communications. The tone of your chat will affect how the reader perceives
your message. Using the appropriate tone in business is an important aspect of communicating your desired
message and of achieving your desired results. So, keep your tone positive. It’s easier to understand, easier to
remember and helps build better relationships.
Get to the point. Keep your messages short and relevant. Don’t try to cram too much information or too
many questions into a single chat message. This will only lead to frustration, confusion and miscommunication.
Try to limit your chat message to one topic or question at a time. Complete one discussion topic before
proceeding to the next.
Use proper grammar. Believe it or not, proper grammar and correct spelling do matter when chatting for
business purposes. In the global world of business chat, you will not be judged by where you live, your
nationality, weight, hair color, clothing or the car you drive. However, you and your company will be judged on
the quality of your writing. Spelling and grammar are as important in chat as they are in any other type of
professional business communication.
Skip the emoticons and CAPS. While the use of fanciful and colorful fonts, emoticons and animation in
personal chat has become widely accepted, it may cause your customer to form an unprofessional opinion of you
and your company. So, save it for personal chats. Be careful with your font size, color and selection. Stick to a
10 or 12 point conservative font like Arial or Times New Roman. Also, TYPING YOUR MESSAGE IN
UPPERCASE gives the impression you are shouting and should be avoided…even if you do want to shout.

Pay attention. One of the many benefits of using chat as a customer support or sales tool is the ability to

 

serve multiple customers simultaneously. This is a both a blessing and a curse because it can cause

 

representatives to become distracted, which can be frustrating for a customer waiting for a response. Letting

 

your customer know you’re listening and paying attention can be accomplished by using phrases such as “I’m

listening”, “I hear you”, “please proceed” or words such as “okay”, “alright”, 'sure, 'great', 'absolutely', etc. to let

them know that you're engaged. Lastly, don’t make a customer repeat a chat message. This will clearly give the

impression that you’re not being attentive.

 
 

Don’t try to be funny. Today's vast global business environment continues to expand across various

 

geographic regions and span numerous cultures. Unfortunately, humor is often culture-specific. Something you

find hilarious could be viewed as offensive by another. Hold back the humor unless you’ve established a good

 

relationship with your customer.

 

Use jargon, acronyms and slang with caution. Using abbreviations, jargon and acronyms can reduce

 

chat keystrokes and save time, but also cause confusion and a breakdown of the communication process if your

customer is not familiar with the lingo. The use of slang can also be viewed as unprofessional by the person with

whom you are communicating. It’s best to play it safe and avoid using these shortcuts during business chats.

 
 

Don’t criticize the competition. Trashing the competition via any communication channel, including chat, is

a proven and tested method of turning off a prospect or customer and should be avoided. Sharing the great

 

benefits of your product or solution is far better than any critique you can write about the competition.

 
 

Pause and proofread before hitting SEND. Don’t let your desire to respond quickly prevent you from

 

proofreading. Pause and take a minute to thoroughly proof your message to ensure it is grammatically correct,

 

free of spelling errors, and professional in tone. This will prevent you from feeling totally lame when you or your

 

boss reviews a chat transcript and find misspelled words, grammatical errors and slang.

 

Real-time business chat can be a great way to quickly and directly communicate with prospects, customers, partners

and vendors to answer product questions, quote and close new business, provide remote technical support and build

customer relationships. To make sure this convenient tool helps rather than hinders your business, take the time to

 

master some basic chat etiquette.

 
It's difficult to imagine an Internet without Instant Messaging (IM), even though it hasn't been around
It's difficult to imagine an Internet without Instant Messaging (IM), even though it hasn't
been around for all that long. The implementation of live chat software has also become
an important strategy for many successful ecommerce ventures in recent years. But like any
tool, if Live Chat and IM are used incorrectly, you'll never get the most out of them - in fact,
they can work against you.
Just as with email etiquette , live chat and Instant Messaging usage has best practice
guidelines. The following tips can help you communicate via these mediums more
effectively, and by doing so, convert more potential clients into paying customers or casual
contacts into valuable partners.
Not all of the following etiquette tips apply to both live chat software *and* Instant
Messaging conversations, but I'm sure you'll figure out which is which :).

Screen name/icon/avatar suitability

In a casual environment, funky and humorous screen names may be cool, but not so in a

business environment. First impressions count, so use separate screen names for your

 

business related contacts. The same goes for your avatar; which is a picture/photo

 

associated with your profile.

 

Introduce yourself

Be it a first contact through Instant Messaging or responding to a request for live chat from

a potential client, always introduce yourself by name if your screen name doesn't reflect it.

Commence a conversation much the same way as you would in a business telephone call

 

e.g. "Hello, I'm Michael Bloch from Taming the Beast.net", not "Hi there!"

 

Does the other person have time to chat?

When you first "buzz" someone via Instant Messaging, you really have no indication of what's happening
When you first "buzz" someone via Instant Messaging, you really have no indication of
what's happening on their end of things at that point in time. This is a personal peeve of
mine where an IM window pops up and the other person immediately launches into their
request or spiel. Always ask if the other person has time to chat first - regardless of how
important you think what you have to say is, it's not going to be well received if the
recipient is busy.
Know what you want to discuss
In a business environment, most people won't want to chat just for the sake of chatting;
they have too many other things to do. Before you try to get their attention, ensure you
know exactly what you want to discuss.
chat Live Chat Software data or a specific page on your site. In the case of
chat
Live Chat Software
data or a specific page on your site.
In the case of live chat software, have all of the relevant information about your goods and
services close at hand - people won't want to wait around while you try to find technical
- Boosts sales, a great marketing tool -
- Helps to reassure your visitors -
- Makes ecommerce more "human" -
- Track visitors on your site in real time -
Learn more about the benefits of using live
software in your online business, read
a review and try out a free service!

Messages should be short and to the point.

Many Instant Messaging services limit the amount of text that can be sent in a single

 

message and thankfully so :). There's nothing worse that receiving a 500 word IM message

where the writer could have consolidated it into couple of dozen words. Again, bear in mind

that you don't know what's happening on the other end, nor the other person's reading

 

abilities or attention span. Keep your messages brief and relevant.

 

Don't "SHOUT"

TYPING YOUR MESSAGES IN UPPERCASE is extremely rude - it's considered shouting and very aggressive. If
TYPING YOUR MESSAGES IN UPPERCASE is extremely rude - it's considered shouting and
very aggressive. If you're a slow typist, stick with all lowercase.
Give people time to respond
"Machine gun" messaging is a really good way to get people to totally ignore you in future.
Multiple questions sent to a recipient before they've had a chance to answer can seem more
like an interrogation rather than a conversation. Pose a question, then give the other person
the opportunity to respond - they may not be as fast a typist as you or may have been
distracted. Most IM and live chat applications these days will show in the status bar if the
other person is typing out a response. As a courtesy, you should also only ask a single
question in each message and acknowledge the person's answer when they do respond.

Remain polite and non-judgemental

While you may spend the majority of your life on a keyboard, I'm told there's many people

 

who don't :). Not only may these people be slow to respond, but their responses may seem

too brief, curt or bordering on what appears to be illiteracy! Try not to judge the person

 

based on your initial conversations. If a person seems to be abrupt, there's no need to

 

match the abruptness; remain professional but polite. Just because someone else may not

 

use the terms "please" and "thank you", it's no reason for you not to.

 

Pay attention

If a person has taken the time to request a live chat with you; give them your attention.

 

You know what it's like at a store when the person is serving you and also speaking on the

 

phone; it's just plain rude.

 

Wherever possible, give the person you are communicating with your undivided attention.

 

It's not just a sign of respect, but if you have multiple conversations happening or are

 

allowing other issues to distract you, you may miss an important point in the other person's

messages or lose the gist of the conversation.

 

Jargon, slang and abbreviations

Jargon, abbreviations and slang used in live chat and instant messaging conversations can

 

help reduce keystrokes, but may come across as being unprofessional to the person you are

communicating with. Worse still, if the other person isn't familiar with the lingo, it may

 

totally confuse. Until you get to know the person better, or you see them using the same

 

lingo, best to steer clear of it.

 

Humor - be cautious

Just as with email communications, be very careful about the use of humor in live chat and

instant messaging communications. In fact, in initial business conversations steer clear of

 

jokes etc. unless the other party initiates them, and even then be careful as to how far you

push it. There are all sorts of cultural and personal differences among the population, so

 

what may seem funny to you may be considered weak or even offensive to others.

 

Use emoticons

Most IM and Live Chat programs include emoticon features. Emoticons are a good way to clarify
Most IM and Live Chat programs include emoticon features. Emoticons are a good way to
clarify the feeling attached to a message. If you are going to joke with the other party, a
smiley :) is a good way to clarify that's exactly what it is.
Don't use custom fonts, text sizes and colors
You might think that your message texts look groovy in 22pt. hot pink, but think of the
other person. I've had some conversations where the other person has decided to be
"creative" and I've very nearly had to wear sunglasses :). Just stick with standard
type/size/color messaging fonts.

Probing questions

It's quite amazing what types of information people will ask over IM - including very

 

personal questions or questions relating to business that would be considered very

confidential. Don't ask such probing questions unless you know the party very well or it's

 

directly related to the service/product you are offering - start digging too deep with a new

contact about their business or personal life and you may scare them off.

 

Be careful with confidential information

Instant messaging and live chat applications are not very secure by default. If you need to

 

relay or receive confidential information, some applications will allow you to run secure IM

sessions - check the application help file for that feature.

 

In regards to live

software , it's always best to run it via an SSL (https://) connection.

While this may slow down sending and receiving as the data will need be encrypted and

 

decrypted, it will demonstrate to your clients that you take security seriously.

 

Using canned text

Many live

software applications have features that allow for storing texts that are

 

used often; such as a response to a commonly asked question - this is called "canned" text.

You select the title of the text you want, click a button and it then appears in your message

window ready to send.

 

Canned text is a great time saving feature, but one that is routinely abused. Canned text is

fine if it applies 100% to the question that the person has asked, but in most instances it

 

should be edited to suit the situation - use canned text with care.

 

Think before hitting the enter key

I've been in a number of IM conversations where things become a little heated, but I
I've been in a number of IM conversations where things become a little heated, but I always
try to stop and think before hitting the enter key.
With email, you may have a few minutes before your response is sent, but with IM and Live
Chat, hit that button and it's out there. So much damage is done through people not taking
a few more seconds to consider the effect what they have written may have on a situation.
If you're in a conversation that's getting a little too fiery, either break it off to reconvene a
little later, or finish it face-to-face or via the phone. As with email, Instant Messaging
conversations lack the advantages of physical signals such as body language and vocal
intonation. In situations where emotions are running high, one wrong word can turn a
difficult situation into explosive.

Unexpected events

Before sending a file, image or "pushing" the person you're messaging to a particular web

 

page; warn them/ask their permission first. With so much nasty stuff happening on the web

these days, people are understandably apprehensive when something occurs during a

 

conversation that isn't expected.

 

Ending a conversation

It's important to properly end an IM conversation - you may think the chat is over, but the

 

other person may not. While you're off doing other things, they may be sitting there staring

at the screen waiting for further communication from you :).

 

At the end of the conversation, summarize the discussion and points to be actioned, ask the

other person if they have any more questions and if not, thank them for their time.

 

Use availability status features wisely

All Instant Messaging applications allow you to set your status; e.g. "available", "away" etc. and you
All Instant Messaging applications allow you to set your status; e.g. "available", "away" etc.
and you can also customize status messages - use these features (wisely). If you're set to
"available" but you are in fact away from the computer you can really tick people off while
they sit and wait for a response that will never come :).
With live chat software, there's usually 2 status settings - "online" or "offline". When in
offline status, the live chat button on your site will usually invited the person to leave a
message. As with instant messaging, be sure to set your software correctly, bearing in mind
that the more often you are available for live chat, the better conversions you'll experience -
it really is a great way to improve your online sales.
Monitoring live chat conversations
If you run an online business where multiple staff members are engaging in live
conversations with clients, take the time to review conversations for quality control

purposes. These people are representing your company and you need to ensure that they

are relaying the type of image regarding your operations that you want. Most live

 

applications allow for the storage and retrieval of transcripts; some will even

send the transcript to the software administrator automatically via email.

 

Finally, as with email, bear in mind that messaging sessions can be stored, then copied and

pasted elsewhere. I've seen many IM/live chat conversations being posted up around the

 

web on forums etc. much to the embarassment of the company or persons being targeted.

The term "confidential" is somewhat rubbery these days, so again, think before you hit that

enter key :).

 
Chat is a powerful business tool that, when added to a website, causes more visitors to
Chat is a powerful business tool that, when added to a website, causes more visitors to engage in
conversations with sales people – visitors that would otherwise have browsed away without ever calling or
filling out a form. In our experience, at least 25% more visitors will engage with a business that has chat on
their website. Great! But once visitors engage, how do the best sales people convert conversations into
appointments and sales? This post provides some guidelines for effective communication and website chat
etiquette.
Add A Photo
It’s a bit ironic that the first key to better chat conversations is a picture and not something to do with words,
but first impressions count and building rapport is the number one key to effective chat conversations.
ContactAtOnce! enables you to upload a professional looking photo that will appear in the consumer-facing
chat window, and in the drop in business card. This photo should be a headshot of you smiling and looking
relaxed, taken at your desk or in your work environment. Consider yourself ugly or unattractive? Even
better! Our experience has been that website visitors are more likely to trust pictures of “normal looking
people” than they are pictures of beautiful, curvy models off the pages of magazines. Adding a photo
personalizes the live chat experience for the customer, humanizes your website, and allows you to establish
the rapport required for a productive conversation. And don’t forget, if your conversation with a site visitor is
successful they’ll soon be walking through the door of your business so you’ll want them to instantly
recognize you.
Introduce Yourself
Answer inbound chat requests with “Hello, my name is
How may I help you?” or a similar greeting.
This will often prompt the customer to give you their name and tell you what they are looking for.
Keep Messages Short and To The Point
Keep messages simple, concise and give people time to respond. Follow these guidelines:
Ask only one question per message sent.
Provide one answer per message sent.
Don’t use the “machine gun” technique of sending lots of messages in quick succession – it will
only confuse and irritate the visitor
Do give the visitor ample time to reply after each message you send (hint: ContactAtOnce! shows
you when the visitor is typing so you can get a good sense of what they are doing…)
Acknowledge every message you receive, even when an answer is not required. For example,
visitor say “I really like green” and you respond “ok”.
Humor – Be Cautious
As with email communications, be very careful about the use of humor within chat conversations. In fact, in
initial business conversations steer clear of humor and jokes unless the other party initiates them, and even
then be careful as to how far you push it. There are cultural and personal differences among the population,
so what seems funny to you may be considered weak or even offensive to others.
Jargon, Slang and Abbreviations
Jargon, abbreviations and slang used in live chat and instant messaging conversations can help reduce
keystrokes, but may come across as being unprofessional to the person you are communicating with.
Worse still, if the other person isn’t familiar with the lingo, it may totally confuse them. Until you get to know
the person better, or you see them using the same lingo, it is best to steer clear of it. That said, with the
incredible popularity of text-based communication of all sorts, you will encounter an increasing number of visitors
incredible popularity of text-based communication of all sorts, you will encounter an increasing number of
visitors that will use slang to communicate with you. Make sure you know the basics so you can understand
what they are saying to you and/or asking you. For your reference, a chat slang guide was included in
another post on this blog
Don’t “SHOUT”
TYPING YOUR MESSAGES IN UPPERCASE is extremely rude – it’s considered shouting and very
aggressive. Use lowercase letters.
Relax, Fat Fingers…
Chat is less formal than email so proper punctuation, capitalization, spelling and grammar should be
considered a bonus but not a requirement when chatting.

Many corporations have turned to business chat lines to make their businesses run more smoothly. Of course, it isn't the executives or the assembly workers who will be using business chat -- it's the sales professionals. If you work in sales and you are asked to chat with customers on the Internet, there are a few rules and guidelines to which you should adhere. Not only is your reputation at stake, but also that of your business.

Ask Customers If They Can Hold

You might be trying to conduct thirty conversations at once, either selling your product or

helping customers troubleshoot problems. Whatever the case, each of those customers deserves your undivided attention. During business chat, following telephone etiquette rules and ask

customers if they are willing to hold for a moment while you conclude another conversation. If possible, use their name and don't forget to be polite.

Choose a Professional Identity

Your company might choose your identity -- handle, screen name, whatever you want to call it --

but if you are allowed to choose your own, make sure it's professional. No one wants to purchase

incredible popularity of text-based communication of all sorts, you will encounter an increasing number of visitorsweb hosting package from someone who calls himself Heavy_Metal_Bum. Instead, use your first name and a number or job description. For example, mine might be Thompson_Sales if I'm in the sales department. Adjust Your Availability Most instant messager and chat services allow you to demonstrate an "Away" or "Available" status icon depending on whether or not you're at your desk. Make sure you never leave the "Available" icon up when you leave your office because you're going to irritate customers and colleagues. Sales professionals must always use proper manners for business chat, which means not misleading potential customers. Proofread Your Work Business chat might not be the same thing as a report or a presentation, but you should still proofread your message before you tap that Enter key. Make sure that you've used proper capitalization, punctuation and spelling, and never use 'Net Speak'. If you communicate incorrectly, you might upset a customer or enrage a colleague, which should be avoided at all costs. Ask If You Can Help After you've solved one problem for a customer or sold one product, don't just abruptly end the business chat session. Instead, ask if there's anything else you can help them with. This ensures that you're answering all questions or making all of the sales that are necessary to satisfy the customer, and you'll appear polite and attentive. Wait for Acknowledgement Never terminate a business chat session by saying, "Goodbye" and then closing the chat window. Instead, say something along the lines of, "Thank you for using ABC Company and I hope we " id="pdf-obj-9-20" src="pdf-obj-9-20.jpg">

a web

hosting package from someone who calls himself Heavy_Metal_Bum. Instead, use your

first name and a number or job description. For example, mine might be Thompson_Sales if I'm in the sales department.

Adjust Your Availability

Most instant messager and chat services allow you to demonstrate an "Away" or "Available" status icon depending on whether or not you're at your desk. Make sure you never leave the "Available" icon up when you leave your office because you're going to irritate customers and colleagues. Sales professionals must always use proper manners for business chat, which means not misleading potential customers.

Proofread Your Work

Business chat might not be the same thing as a report or a presentation, but you should still

proofread your message before you tap that Enter key. Make sure that you've used proper capitalization, punctuation and spelling, and never use 'Net Speak'. If you communicate

incorrectly, you might upset a customer or enrage a colleague, which should be avoided at all costs.

Ask If You Can Help

After you've solved one problem for a customer or sold one product, don't just abruptly end the

business chat session. Instead, ask if there's anything else you can help them with. This ensures

that you're answering all questions or making all of the sales that are necessary to satisfy the customer, and you'll appear polite and attentive.

Wait for Acknowledgement

Never terminate a business chat session by saying, "Goodbye" and then closing the chat window. Instead, say something along the lines of, "Thank you for using ABC Company and I hope we

were able to meet your needs". Then wait for the customer to either acknowledge your parting words or terminate the chat session.

Avoid Canned Phrases

To save time, many sales professionals use "canned" phrases rather than replying to a

customer's actual question or statement. While this might be considered the industry standard,

you're like to upset a customer because it sounds like a canned phrase. Some of these to avoid during business chat sessions include:

---"We value your input" ---"I'll take care of your question right away" ---"Your business is very important to us"

Use Appropriate Fonts and Colors

Ideally, you should use black 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font during business chat, particularly if you are a sales professional. You'll want to make sure that everyone can read what you type on the screen and that none of your messages is misconstrued. Avoid bright colors, "wacky" fonts or tiny type.

Focusing on online chat - A Real-Time Customer Service Tool

What companies say – and how they say it – should be directly tied to the technology they use to do it. Focusing on online chat as a real-time customer service tool, the more verbose online chat agents are in their interactions, the higher the chance of frustrated customers.

Establishing chat etiquette

A critical component to running an effective chat sales or customer service program is to define chat etiquette upfront by which all agents will be measured. Consider the following:

•Is the agent polite and speaks positively about the company, the products and the competitors at all times throughout the chat? •Does the agent offer empathy when appropriate? •Is the agent energetic and excited during the chat with the customer? •Does the agent ask for permission to have the customer on “hold” if needed? (Do they explain why the hold is necessary? Do they set a timeframe? Do they thank the customer when returning to the chat?) •When a chat transfer is required, does the agent inform the customer where the chat will be transferred and why? •Does the agent ask for permission to send links to the customer? •Does the agent respond to customers within a reasonable timeframe? •Does the agent check in with customer within a specified timeframe if a customer is unresponsive?

These are just some of the ways you can improve your chat etiquette.

With all the chatter about social media these days, it’s important not to forget the more traditional service channels to connect and engage with customers. While Facebook and Twitter are great and quick tools to address customer questions, companies must select the online tools appropriate for the customer experience. One underutilized channel (still to this day) is online chat. Online chat is not new. The ability to have real-time, two-way text communications between an agent and a customer over the Internet has been

around for a while. Many companies have implemented live chat on their websites with varying degrees of success when it comes to customer satisfaction. When done well, chat can significantly enhance a company’s overall customer service while reducing contact center costs. When done poorly, it can wreak havoc on a company’s brand, damage customer trust and lead to overall losses in sales.

Chat benefits can be impressive

Several studies have pointed to the tremendous ROI for including online chat as part of a multi-channel

customer service strategy. A 2008 Forrester

   

study indicated a 15 percent return on investment

for reactive chat and an impressive 105 percent return for proactive chat. Likewise a 2010 e - tailing

around for a while. Many companies have implemented live chat on their websites with varying degreesForrester Research study indicated a 15 percent return on investment for reactive chat and an impressive 105 percent return for proactive chat. Likewise a 2010 e - tailing group study sponsored by Bold Software indicated that live chat was the best way to reduce shopping cart abandonment, with one e-retailer seeing a 6-8% decline in this metric. Best practices for chat From our recent benchmark study examining the chat practices of Fortune 500 customer service leaders (based on ACSI or NPS), it was clear that agent skills may be the leading factor in delivering effective online chat. How an online chat agent communicates with its customer has a big impact on both satisfaction and sales. What companies say – and how they say it – should be directly tied to the technology they use to do it. Focusing on online chat as a real time customer service tool, the more verbose online chat agents were in their interactions, the higher the chance of frustrated customers. Establishing chat etiquette A critical component to running an effective chat sales or customer service program is to define chat etiquette upfront by which all agents will be measured. After working with several of our own contact center clients to enhance their chat practices, chat etiquette would often include the following: ● Is the agent polite and speaks positively about the company, the products and the competitors at all times throughout the chat? ● Does the agent offer empathy when appropriate? ● Is the agent energetic and excited during the chat with the customer? ● Does the agent ask for permission to have the customer on “hold” if needed? (Do they explain why the hold is necessary? Do they set a timeframe? Do they thank the customer when returning to the chat?) ● When a chat transfer is required, does the agent inform the customer where the chat will be transferred and why? ● Does the agent ask for permission to send links to the customer? ● Does the agent respond to customers within a reasonable timeframe? ● Does the agent check in with customer within a specified timeframe if a customer is unresponsive? Better chat writing strategies for better customer service To further enhance the chat practices of our own clients, we analyzed the online chat transcripts of Fortune 500 companies such as Zappos and Nordstrom, and were able to list several recommendations that can boost sales ROI from social CRM. Whether it was conversation flow, staying on point, or closing a chat session, less was always more. In other words, agents that stuck to the point, were concise and brief, scored best in overall customer satisfaction scores. Here’s a sample of what works: 1. Skip a wordy greeting; offer help right away : 2. Welcome to [Company] Live Chat! My name is David. Thank you for waiting. How can I help you? 3. Appear seamless. If you transfer a customer to another agent, you do the transfer. Don’t make the customer engage in a new chat session : 4. It sounds like it could be one of several issues, but I am unfortunately not equipped to diagnose the problem you are experiencing. I think the best course of action is to call Technical Support at 1- 800-***-**** or e-mail them at support@company.com . I could also connect this chat to their department. Would you like me to? 5. Stick to the point. Support the customer with links to the specific resources they need. Use short and to-the-point answers: 6. Customer: Is your site protected? 7. Agent: Yep! http :// www . zappos . com / shop - with - confidence 8. Customer: Okay, I see. Can you tell me about your shipping policies? " id="pdf-obj-11-22" src="pdf-obj-11-22.jpg">

study sponsored by Bold Software indicated that live chat was the best way to reduce shopping

cart abandonment, with one e-retailer seeing a 6-8% decline in this metric.

Best practices for chat From our recent benchmark

around for a while. Many companies have implemented live chat on their websites with varying degreesForrester Research study indicated a 15 percent return on investment for reactive chat and an impressive 105 percent return for proactive chat. Likewise a 2010 e - tailing group study sponsored by Bold Software indicated that live chat was the best way to reduce shopping cart abandonment, with one e-retailer seeing a 6-8% decline in this metric. Best practices for chat From our recent benchmark study examining the chat practices of Fortune 500 customer service leaders (based on ACSI or NPS), it was clear that agent skills may be the leading factor in delivering effective online chat. How an online chat agent communicates with its customer has a big impact on both satisfaction and sales. What companies say – and how they say it – should be directly tied to the technology they use to do it. Focusing on online chat as a real time customer service tool, the more verbose online chat agents were in their interactions, the higher the chance of frustrated customers. Establishing chat etiquette A critical component to running an effective chat sales or customer service program is to define chat etiquette upfront by which all agents will be measured. After working with several of our own contact center clients to enhance their chat practices, chat etiquette would often include the following: ● Is the agent polite and speaks positively about the company, the products and the competitors at all times throughout the chat? ● Does the agent offer empathy when appropriate? ● Is the agent energetic and excited during the chat with the customer? ● Does the agent ask for permission to have the customer on “hold” if needed? (Do they explain why the hold is necessary? Do they set a timeframe? Do they thank the customer when returning to the chat?) ● When a chat transfer is required, does the agent inform the customer where the chat will be transferred and why? ● Does the agent ask for permission to send links to the customer? ● Does the agent respond to customers within a reasonable timeframe? ● Does the agent check in with customer within a specified timeframe if a customer is unresponsive? Better chat writing strategies for better customer service To further enhance the chat practices of our own clients, we analyzed the online chat transcripts of Fortune 500 companies such as Zappos and Nordstrom, and were able to list several recommendations that can boost sales ROI from social CRM. Whether it was conversation flow, staying on point, or closing a chat session, less was always more. In other words, agents that stuck to the point, were concise and brief, scored best in overall customer satisfaction scores. Here’s a sample of what works: 1. Skip a wordy greeting; offer help right away : 2. Welcome to [Company] Live Chat! My name is David. Thank you for waiting. How can I help you? 3. Appear seamless. If you transfer a customer to another agent, you do the transfer. Don’t make the customer engage in a new chat session : 4. It sounds like it could be one of several issues, but I am unfortunately not equipped to diagnose the problem you are experiencing. I think the best course of action is to call Technical Support at 1- 800-***-**** or e-mail them at support@company.com . I could also connect this chat to their department. Would you like me to? 5. Stick to the point. Support the customer with links to the specific resources they need. Use short and to-the-point answers: 6. Customer: Is your site protected? 7. Agent: Yep! http :// www . zappos . com / shop - with - confidence 8. Customer: Okay, I see. Can you tell me about your shipping policies? " id="pdf-obj-11-35" src="pdf-obj-11-35.jpg">

study examining the chat practices of Fortune 500 customer service leaders

(based on ACSI or NPS), it was clear that agent skills may be the leading factor in delivering effective online chat. How an online chat agent communicates with its customer has a big impact on both

satisfaction and sales. What companies say – and how they say it – should be directly tied to the technology they use to do it. Focusing on online chat as a real time customer service tool, the more verbose online chat agents were in their interactions, the higher the chance of frustrated customers.

Establishing chat etiquette

A critical component to running an effective chat sales or customer service program is to define chat

etiquette upfront by which all agents will be measured. After working with several of our own contact center clients to enhance their chat practices, chat etiquette would often include the following:

Is the agent polite and speaks positively about the company, the products and the competitors

at all times throughout the chat?

Does the agent offer empathy when appropriate?

Is the agent energetic and excited during the chat with the customer?

Does the agent ask for permission to have the customer on “hold” if needed? (Do they explain

why the hold is necessary? Do they set a timeframe? Do they thank the customer when returning to the chat?)

When a chat transfer is required, does the agent inform the customer where the chat will be

transferred and why?

Does the agent ask for permission to send links to the customer?

Does the agent respond to customers within a reasonable timeframe?

Does the agent check in with customer within a specified timeframe if a customer is

unresponsive? Better chat writing strategies for better customer service To further enhance the chat practices of our own clients, we analyzed the online

   

Fortune 500 companies such as Zappos and Nordstrom, and were able to list several recommendations that can boost sales ROI from social CRM. Whether it was conversation flow, staying on point, or closing a chat session, less was always more. In other words, agents that stuck to the point, were concise and brief, scored best in overall customer satisfaction scores. Here’s a sample of what works:

  • 1. Skip a wordy greeting; offer help right away:

  • 2. Welcome to [Company] Live Chat! My name is David. Thank you for waiting. How can I help

you?

  • 3. Appear seamless. If you transfer a customer to another agent, you do the transfer.

Don’t make the customer engage in a new chat session:

  • 4. It sounds like it could be one of several issues, but I am unfortunately not equipped to diagnose

the problem you are experiencing. I think the best course of action is to call Technical Support at 1- 800-***-**** or e-mail them at support@company.com. I could also connect this chat to their department. Would you like me to?

  • 5. Stick to the point. Support the customer with links to the specific resources they

need. Use short and to-the-point answers:

9.

Agent: Yes, it is free shipping and free return shipping. Standard shipping is about 4 - 5

business days.

  • 10. Like the opening, the closing sets the tone and supports the overall corporate brand:

  • 11. Agent: Did you have any other questions or anything else?

  • 12. Customer: No. I'll call-in later.

  • 13. Agent: If anything else does come up, we are here 24/7 for you! Have a great day!

Start by analyzing the chat transcripts of your own agents. What tactics does your CRM team follow to effectively communicate with customers via chat? Can your chat etiquette be improved?