5 Chat Etiquette Tips That are Essential in Businesses
If you’ve ever made a bad first impression, you’ll know how important they are. Whether meeting new customers or introducing yourself to a hiring manager, first impressions count; it is why we are told the value of a handshake from a young age.
But as our business landscape evolves, so does our business communication. Whereas traditional face-to-face interactions were once the norm, modern workplaces have gone digital. Live chat allows companies to connect to their customers 24/7 and from anywhere in the world.
As businesses embrace going online, the need to familiarize themselves with digital etiquette grows. Just as in-person conversations have rules to follow, so do our online interactions. The perfect digital conversation treads the line between engagement and familiarity.
The Importance of Remote Collaboration
With organizations relying on online collaboration to connect, observing proper chat etiquette is essential. Chat tools have made remote work not only accessible but engaging too. It is certainly not an understatement to say instant chat is one of the best productivity tools available online.
Over the past few years, in-house collaboration has morphed into online collaboration. Because of this, companies use instant messaging tools to communicate and engage with one another. Not only that, but these tools offer a personalized experience for the customer. Utilizing proper chat etiquette helps deliver exceptional customer service. And by following chat etiquette rules, remote workers can maximize their effectiveness, reducing any unnecessary issues that may plague their experience later on.
5 Essential Chat Etiquette Tips
Let’s look at five chat etiquette tips that will help your business overcome these statistics.
Use correct greetings
When communicating via digital chat tools, it’s easy to fall into the trap of over-familiar messaging. Greetings such as “what’s up” and “hey” are common outside of work, but within the workplace, there needs to be a level of professionalism.
That’s not to say you can’t use informal communication amongst work pals; familiarity promotes a productive workplace environment. But it’s worth remembering that friendly rapport doesn’t happen overnight. It can take months, if not years to establish familiarity within a relationship.
So unless you have built a friendly rapport with upper management, it’s best to keep things professional. Greetings such as “good morning” and “good evening” are always the go-to responses for chat etiquette. And if you offer live chat support to customers, it’s best to show good etiquette by adapting your formality. Friendly greetings and introductions go a long way in CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores. If customers skip a greeting, it’s best to pretend the “hello” was implied.
The goal of an online agent is to provide exceptional services. By introducing yourself and keeping it short and sweet, instant messaging will demand an instant response. Customers need to be aware that you are there to help, so a simple “Good morning. My name is John, how can I help?” will set the tone.
Be clear and direct
We’re all busy people. Offices have numerous workers who are multitasking projects as we speak. A conversation that begins with “how was your weekend?” while polite, doesn’t scream urgency to the recipient. Busy employees will leave non-crucial messages on the back burner and tackle those that do.
That is why it’s worth avoiding ambiguity. Being specific with your intent from the beginning ensures a more immediate response. There’s no need for long introductions as they affect efficiency, especially when time is on the line.
By ensuring your communication is clear, employees risk the chance of a misunderstanding. Discussing a waiver agreement template can have disastrous consequences if the conversation isn’t transparent. Important information may be missed in the document as collaboration wasn’t clear.
It is why chat etiquette demands clarification. A simple “yes” and “I understand” can go a long way in ensuring communication is on track. What’s more, employees can ask for clarification during the process, preventing consequences down the road.
Give prompt responses
As your messages will be clear and to the point, there should be no delay in response. However, we all have those colleagues who receive a message but reply days later. Causing the sender to write the dreaded message “did you receive my last email?” while simultaneously tearing their hair out.
In business, speed is the name of the game. Employees who are late to reply can come across as uninterested in their colleagues and customers. And the seen notification without a response can irritate and end friendships at the drop of a hat.
That’s why it’s best to respond to an instant message instantly. Even if employees are busy, a simple “I’ll answer this query later” will suffice. Or better still, turn your status to do not disturb to avoid confusion. Customers who receive delayed responses to queries risk going elsewhere with their business. It’s why companies are leveraging chatbots for SEO success and better customer interactions. SEO rankings move a company to the top, but customer service keeps them there.
As delayed responses reveal an employee's indifference, spelling mistakes walk the same path of unproductivity. Poorly written messages hurt an employee's reputation as well as their confidence. Disastrous mistakes reveal the carelessness in a sender's work - especially since proofreading takes a short amount of time to complete. There are also remote working tools and resources available online to help with such matters.
The currency of online chat is digital messages. Users don’t have the luxury of being able to talk their way out of a sticky situation, digital communication is final. Messages need to be free of error as they can lead to misunderstandings along the way. So before you send a message, make sure to proofread it. Because if you're not willing to participate in chat etiquette, why should your colleagues and customers?
Understand cultural differences
Our digital landscape has evolved into a global ecosystem. We no longer have to go door-to-door in business; our door-to-door is the world. Online tools such as an enterprise VoIP solution have paved the way for global collaboration.
The capabilities of remote work mean businesses can cast a much wider net for potential employees. These potential employees may be of different cultures and nationalities with various traditions. By adhering to online chat etiquette, companies should research different traditions to avoid feelings of isolation amongst the team. It includes avoiding taboo subjects such as politics and familiarizing themselves with religious holidays, so communication is limited these days.
Due to virtual office software enabling remote work, employees need to be aware of different time zones. It is no use bombarding colleagues with message after message if they’re asleep; this will only irritate them and affect your working relationship. Employees need to be mindful of the time zones that separate them.
Collaboration within the workplace has gone from office interactions to global conversations. Digital tools mean colleagues no longer sit next to each other, instead they sit on the other side of the world. But as our business environment evolves, so do our processes. With remote teams utilizing communication tools, our digital landscape is being revolutionized. And by ensuring online communication is positive, the future of collaboration is endless.
Tanhaz Kamaly - Partnership Executive, UK, Dialpad UK
Tanhaz Kamaly is a Partnership Executive at Dialpad, PBX hosting and modern business communications platform that turns conversations into the best opportunities, both for businesses and clients. He is well-versed and passionate about helping companies work in constantly evolving contexts, anywhere, anytime.
Check out his LinkedIn profile.