The Pitfalls of Managing Live Chat Inhouse And How To Avoid Them

The Pitfalls of Managing Live Chat Inhouse And How To Avoid Them

Taking live chat in house? It’s worth understanding the types of people you may encounter on live chat, the pitfalls associated with each, and how to manage them.

So by now it’s obvious we love chat. We live it, we breathe it, we provide it, we know it delivers instant results with up to 400% increase in online conversions – click here to get a demo.

BUT we aren’t delusional. No one and nothing is perfect, not even our beloved live chat.

There are many things that can either put customers off, put YOU off, or be annoying to the point of wanting to throw in the towel.

So before deciding to take live chat in house to be managed by a member of your team, it’s worth understanding the types of people you may encounter on live chat, the pitfalls associated with each, and how to manage them. 

The Old Schoolers

oldschoolSomeone comes to your site and it’s a surprise they are on there at all.

It’s a surprise they are on the internet, as they still like to flick through the catalogues that come with the Saturday paper, and they still ask for catalogues.

These people are the old-schoolers. They like to kick it old school.

They might be a little older or they might just be so fed up with our tech obsessed age that they ignore it altogether. These people are not so great for live chat because they just don’t like it. They hate it or they don’t get it. The chat box pops up and they are either so confused they ignore it, or they ignore it because they don’t want to waste their time with something they hate.

But just because there are old-schoolers doesn’t mean that you should abandon live chat all together.

You might have to take phone calls still. And we’re willing to bet that those phone calls are from the old schoolers.

But truth is the world is still full of overwhelmingly tech-savvy people that aren’t so cool with having to pick up the phone just to get a simple answer.

So keep your live chat box live and manned, while having other more traditional forms of customer care and lead generation available, like displaying your email address, phone number and using a simple form on your website.

This way, you are catering for all of your audiences. Even the die-hard old-schoolers.

The Pranksters


Give someone anonymity and they will take it to the limit. We set it on social media every day. It is also a common misperception in live chat that the person on the other end of a chat box isn’t actually a person at all (which happens). When you combine these elements, you get the prankster, an unfortunate pitfall with live chat on any site.

The prankster doesn’t want help. They’re never going to be a lead and is complete waste of time. Usually they enjoy chatting up chat agents, or saying super rude things. Sometimes they abuse chat agents to see if they can get a response. Sometimes they might just be lonely and bored, and get somewhat of a small thrill out of being a chat pest. Whatever way you look at it, they’re not a genuine customer and can be a bit of a burden.

Unfortunately, it can’t be avoided. Unless you’re willing to end chats that seem like they might be with a prankster. But this is bad customer service, even with someone that’s hell bent on wasting your time. Our advice to you is to have sound protocols for your chat agents to deal with these pranksters while wasting as minimal time as possible.

We like the two minute rule. Engage with them politely for 30 seconds. Again for another 30 seconds, repeat until two minutes is reached. If they are still not using the chat agent’s time effectively, just close the window and let them know they may contact you any time in the future if they need anything.

Make sure agents are equipped to deal with this type of scenarios with proper ongoing training and debriefing process. If you are staffing it yourself, be mindful of the prankster. Never take anything seriously.

People can say some truly bizarre things, and you should remember it’s the anonymity of the internet that’s made them slightly loco.

The internet gets really weird, really fast at times.

There’s no way to avoid it, just make sure you waste as minimal time as possible on pranksters and try not to get freaked out.

The Don’t-care-how-I-want-it-now


Timeliness is a critical component for creating leads and converting more on live chat, whether it’s done by agents or yourself. The don’t-care-how-I-want-it-now people are purely a product of the internet generation. They want everything immediately. No time to wait, time is always of the essence. Because of the nature of these ‘now-ers’, response time is absolutely critical.

If you have agents doing the chatting for you, it’s best to read transcripts and ensure they are working as quickly as possible without straying from your established script and process. We recommend no more than five chats at a time to ensure speedy responses. 

If you or your staff are manning chat, this is where it becomes a bit trickier. We find the best approach is to have the chat box disappear when no one is available.  The whole point of chat is to have an immediate response. Asking potential customers to leave details is just going to turn them away. We absolutely guarantee this one.


The Sticklers for Communication

communicationThe funny thing about live chat is that it’s based on effective communication.

Well, it’s fairly obvious I guess but you’d be surprised how often it can become a major pitfall.

There are two things that can hinder your leads and customer service that relate to people that are obsessed with correct communication.

And the first one is canned responses.

People don’t always like to talk to robots or computers or a system that does the answering for you.

It can be majorly off putting.

We also know that canned responses are an effective way of managing your response time.

So, make sure your canned responses are as natural as possible.

Customise them as much as you can, using language that is extremely personable and chatty.

Chat should be chatty.

This will mean that when you do use canned responses, they won’t drive people away.

And of course, just don’t rely on canned responses too much in general.

Use real-life people as much as you can, always.

The second type of stickler is someone that will be wholeheartedly put off by incorrect grammar, misspelled words or by an agent who cannot understand them.

It’s important to avoid or at least minimise spelling and grammatical errors. Read over your responses if you man chat yourself before hitting the send button. If you use chat agents on your live chat, reviewing transcripts become even more important.  Make sure their grasp on English is good enough that they will understand someone else that’s not as good as them at English.

It happens! Sometimes it’s hard for two people with English as a second language to communicate, especially if one is not as good as the other.

Sticklers are quite easy to keep happy. Communicate with them effectively and you should never have an issue.

The Essay Writers


Word limit is a big issue. 

Some people like to go in depth with things, and that’s just what the essay writers like to do. They’re not satisfied with 25 quick words.

Tell me more! Tell me everything about it. I want to become a master.

Or they want to tell YOU all about it. From start to finish and including everything in between.

This sort of communication doesn’t fit well with live chat.

Just like when dealing with the old schoolers, the remedy for this downfall is much the same.

Make sure that you are contactable by email or phone also.

Especially email, because if you need to send any sort of document to a customer or client this is going to be the way to do so.

And again, just like the old schoolers, this pitfall doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use live chat at all.

It simply means live chat isn’t perfect. Human, almost, isn’t it?


Need help managing live chat? Our highly trained chat agents turn web visitors into hot leads all day, every day. Click here to request a demo.



Gary Tramer
Gary Tramer
Gary Tramer is the co-founder of LeadChat (the best way to increase website conversions) who is a B2B sales junkie and CrossFit addict. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected]
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