Presentation: Finding the Right Tone in Live Chat

Below is a presentation I gave at a company-wide meetup, covering all the nuances of language when communicating with users via text.

Video, Part 1

Video, Part 2

Here are the topics covered:

1. Kindergarten Taught Us Wrong

2. Walk a Mile in Their Head

  • How tech-savvy is the user?
  • What is the user’s communication style?
  • How resistant is the user?
  • Who does the user blame for their issues?
  • Have we made a fair assessment of the user’s mindset?

3. Convey Warmth and Friendliness (When Appropriate)

  • A proper greeting
  • Suggest instead of command
  • Modalities
  • Whimperatives
  • “Need” versus “want”
  • Softeners
  • Avoid accusations
  • Smileys and exclamation points
  • Mirror the user’s communication style

4. The Delicate Art of Saying “No”

  • The Power of “Because”
  • Turn “no” into a positive
  • Ask for clarification
  • Double-check
  • Offer alternatives

5. Create Empathy

  • Direct users to support pages in a reassuring manner
  • Reflect back the user’s concerns
  • Keep empathy and explanations separate

Annotated slide deck