As a digital/social media marketer, you know the importance of addressing your customers' concerns promptly and effectively. Live chat can be a great way to accomplish this goal anytime — but right now, in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be a more important tool than ever.

New research from Super Office found that live chat is expected to grow by as much as 87% in the next year to year and a half. And 99 Firms reports that 63% of consumers who access live chat support are more likely to return to a website.

So, what are the right moves you need to make to employ live chat correctly at this sensitive time? You want to do this by offering compassionate and user-friendly service and by employing varied and expanded options so customers can get their needs met with maximum ease and convenience.

Focus on the following points to ensure you're covering all bases.

Expand the number of social media platforms you make compatible with live chat options.

Research from early this year by Smartly.io finds that 96% of retail marketers use Facebook and report it gets them the greatest return on their ad spending. However, 75% of those marketers use Twitter, and 59% use Instagram, too.

Spread out the capabilities your customers need across all platforms. Make sure you don't blanket platforms with endless ads, of course, but a few well-placed daily ads will make just the right impression.

Brainstorm new tools for your live chat capabilities.

Messaging, machine learning applications, and software that can help you set up and monitor your live chat execution can be invaluable. Spruce up your tech game and you make customer satisfaction so much easier to achieve.

Call a Zoom meeting with your IT team and ask for their input regarding innovative and creative ways you can add the most productive technology without glitches.

Know when to use bots and when not to.

High-volume times are perfect for using chatbots, yet you definitely don't want to discount the incorporation of live customer service reps at this time. A compassionate human interaction will be highly comforting and reassuring to many of your stressed-out customers right now.

Make sure you clearly state the availability times of speaking to a human being on your platforms and sites, and of course stress the convenience of chatbot service, too. Supportive, clear info is simply essential. Which is why you want to be sure you're...

Making kindness your No. 1 mission.

Emphasize the need to be helpful, sensitive and warm above all else. Don't drop any self-serving or crass marketing attempts into their messaging — this is not the time to try to sell unnecessary products by preying on your customers' weaknesses or fears. Be respectful and solve their issues, and your customers won't forget how terrific you were to them when they really needed you.

Be speedy.

Now more than ever, you need to address your customers' concerns swiftly, effectively and completely. Go forward with the model that your live chat needs to be to take whatever issue they are having off their plate and lighten their load so they can focus on the rest of their (upended) lives.