How to use mirroring technique in live chat service
Mirroring = when one person subtly emulates aspects of another person’s verbal or non-verbal behavior.
Mirroring (sometimes referred as mimicry) is a technique of adopting physical, verbal- and non-verbal behaviour on another. Usually it is unconscious but can also be harnessed in use consciously.
Between people who know each other well, it’s almost certain for them to start using same words, phrases and adopt gestures from each other (look at a group of kids – or your partner!) when together.
Next I’ll go through the ways that one can make use of mirroring technique in live chat service.
Mirroring can be a powerful tool in sales
Everyone in sales is familiar with the concept of rapport. One needs to establish a connection. Trust. Liking. Nobody’s going to buy from someone they dislike.
When used right, mirroring can be a powerful tool in sales and lead to prospect building subconscious friendship (with above merits) with the salesperson. They’re so much alike!
Mirroring in live chat support
Live chat service is in this way no different to any other method of communication. Mirroring works and can deliver significant improvement in the conversion. Next I will show few examples how mirroring can be used in live chat service.
Mirroring works, if the prospect doesn’t realise that you’re acting on purpose.
1. Use of words that the visitor is using (do not insist on company jargon!)
2. Does the visitor use short sentences? Use them too and cut your responses in shorter pieces.
3. Visitor threw in a smiley? Well you shouldn’t be afraid using them too then.
4. Emotions are shown in the messages? You can as well show a little.
5. Remember to summarise the message and/or need of the visitor every once in a while. It’ll ensure you understood correctly – but also shows you’re “listening”!
Seems simple? It is. On paper. It’s extremely important to not over do it. Mirroring works, if the prospect doesn’t realise that you’re acting on purpose.
Other than not over doing the mirroring in chat service, there are few major blockades that need to be solved before mirroring can be added to the chat agent’s “toolbox”:
1. “It’s customer service, stupid.”
One of the major arguments we always need to tackle is that the chat service is there for customer service only and responding to a request as quick as possible is the key to success. Wrong.
Showing empathy is the key for building the sense of trust
First off, chat service can be much more than a customer service channel. Actually in most cases the chat should not take over seats of customer service. It’ll let CSR’s to actually focus on the customer service while taking care of the selling opportunities (just like in-store salespeople!).
Especially in sales, but also in customer service, showing empathy is the key for building the sense of trust. Do this right and it will conclude in not only solved cases, but better results in sales.
2. “So… Where can I see the difference?”
Sad truth. You probably can’t. Yet.
Conversion and basket value to name a few
To actually make sense of what a chat service is doing, one needs analytics and someone who can read them through, make corrections and optimise.
Companies have woken up to report rigorously on their customer service teams. Mostly it is limited to solved cases (time) and rankings (scale) given from the customer.
When a chat service is implemented correctly on a website, it brings few more measures to the board. Conversion and basket value to name a few.
To make most out of your efforts in live chat service, it’s important to make use of all the data available and make decisions based on it.
3. “You don’t tell me how to do my work!”
Perhaps the biggest blockade to apply mirroring technique in live chat support are the men and women working in it. The agents.
Accepting and working for change is a struggle. The cost in time and money should not be underestimated when evaluating options for live chat support.
As an example, after a close selection of our chat agents in recruitment, we at Finnchat spend continuous effort in building best practices among our chat agents. Constant improvement is part of our culture.
Results from mirroring technique in sales are well… great.
The impact is not given but mirroring/mimicry in sales is widely accepted to improve results significantly. Few studies have resulted in over 400 % increases.
Think back to your last visit to a store or a service provider. Did you identify to any degree with the person who was in charge of selling you something? If you did, did you not make the purchase?
Now. Tell me that the live chat service on your website “can’t be improved”.
Wikipedia: Mirroring (psychology)
Sciencedirect.com Chameleons bake bigger pies and take bigger pieces: Strategic behavioral mimicry facilitates negotiation outcomes
Zendesk Blog: The 16 Customer Service Skills of Great Customer Service Agents
LiveChat Inc. Blog: Improving chat quality