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How & When to Use Emoji in Customer Support

The customer support department plays a crucial role when it comes to customer satisfaction. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise us that there are always new developments in this field, all aiming to increase customer happiness and retention rates.

In some cases, the customer who is seeking the help of customer service may display a certain dose of discomfort and edginess. Realising that customer support agents should have more tools at their disposal to offer help to the customer, this is why we present you the emoji hack.

You may already know that emoji represents an image that stands for an emotion or idea and that it is widely used in digital chat sessions. It is more appropriate for private chat sessions.

But did you know that support agents can also use them in order to provide a better service and make the conversation more effective and interesting?

Message Conveys Emotions

Customer support software comes in many forms, and one of them is live chat software. Since this software allows direct connection between support agent and dissatisfied customer, it is of great importance to make the whole interaction more personal through the use of emoticons in order to provide better service.

This way, sent messages can convey emotions to a customer and make him/her feel like he is cared for, and that there is a real person on the other side who has a personality and a wide range of emotions.

Which emoticons should support agents stick to? The variety of choice falls down to several emoticons. Yes, there are dozens of them, but support agents can achieve their goals by using just a couple of them, depending on what they want to convey (apologetic/sympathy ☹, disappointment :/, happiness ☺, excitement :D).

Please remember, the goal here is to establish the emotional connection with the customer in order to make him/her feel like they are understood and that they are rather interacting with a human being.

How Emoji Improves Customer Support

We all know that we feel more satisfied and that we actually got something more out of conversations when real emotions are exchanges. This applies especially in the case of customer support. A chat that helped resolve a customer issue, and was meaningful on top of that, will lead to increased satisfaction rates. This superior service will make the customers share their experience with their friends.

As we have earlier mentioned, customer support software allows an agent to directly engage an unhappy customer, but if all the agents use the same templates and directions for a chat, not one of the chat sessions will be treated as genuine. Since customers are regular people, and people love genuine interactions, hence an emoji is exactly what can add to the  uniqueness of each chat session. On top of that, the customers will feel he/she is understood.

The researchers from The University of Cambridge have come to the conclusion that emoticons represent a very powerful way of communication in modern society. They have proven that the use of positive emoticons is linked to social influence. And this social influence extends beyond the private chat session, as emoticons can be used while addressing the customers who asked for help publicly on the public social media page of the company.

Using emoticons in chat also makes the customer feel that he/she is understood. This also influences the overall customer relationship, and these types of policies may quickly find their spot as the best practices in the knowledge base of the company.

Emoticons have another powerful benefit. By using them in chat, your support agents will make the customers feel important and special, and if a support agent is able to inspire this feeling in an angry customer, there is a great chance that he/she will be softened up right after the first sentence.

The bottom line would be that by displaying emotions via emoticons in chat, the agents will provide superior customer service, which helps forge positive relations.

General Guidelines

Using emoticons in customer support comes with few guidelines, of course. The most important would be to not use them at all if you are having a chat with a disgruntled customer. An experienced agent won’t have trouble recognizing such a customer.

Their agitation becomes visible in the message tone. This is why new trends encourage companies to use knowledge base software. Sharing their experience with the examples of the senior support agents can be of great help to younger colleagues and also in the onboarding phase of new support hires.

One general rule that applies to using emoticons in customer support is never to use them on the first contact. Keep in mind that it would be best to use the emoji as a reaction attached to a proper answer. So, never use messages containing only one emoticon.

We have mentioned the basic emotions you should be using in chats. So try sticking to these, as they are the best options for you to convey an emotional message.

Last but not least, don’t overuse them. It may make you seem unprofessional and incompetent in the customer’s eyes. This way you will do more harm than good.

Don’t forget to encourage all of the customer support employees to share their knowledge and experience in regard with emoticons, by using the knowledge management software. Some of the inputs may provide excellent material when you decide to create an online FAQ page.

As you can see, using emojis in customer support has it benefits, as long as some of the simple rules are followed. This emotional aspect of customer support is really important and it improves customer relations and increases the level of provided customer service.

Written By

David Miller is an educational researcher who has vast experience in the field of teaching, online testing and training. He is associated with prestigious universities and many leading research organizations.

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