Symon Edmonds – February 21, 2017
How to Use Live Chat to Improve Customer Service in Your Call Center
In this digital era where we spend so much of our day online, often interacting with automated response bots, a little human touch can go a long way. However, customers are not prepared to sit through long call waiting queues for the opportunity to have a real person answer their questions. Call centers were born out of an essential need to support sales and after-sales services of companies. It is the life line communication tool between the company and the customer. This is where “Live Chat” comes in. It’s basically a professional instant messenger platform where customers are “talking” to one of your agents in real time.
An Econsultancy survey found that live chat offers the highest customer satisfaction rate at 71% with only 44% for phone support and 61% for email support.
Live chat has been around for almost a decade but it has only been in the last year that its benefits have been fully appreciated as people move further away from phone communication opting for text based interactions. Customers want answers to their questions to come quickly with relevant and accurate information.
Customer Service levels are greatly enhanced with the Live Chat option. This is due to the agent being able to promptly respond to the customer’s query. Chat agents have to step up their game to become engaging on a personal level as well as knowing as much information as the company’s sales and support personnel. Today you have to offer omnichannel options if you want your business to be taken seriously. It takes the best attributes of e-mail support – like clear content, professional tone and instant transcripts, mixed with a live “conversation” but at a much quicker pace.
Big Perks for Customers:
- Customers don’t have to dial a toll free number, go through the endless numeric options and wait to choose a specific option – which deters them from staying on the line
- They can connect to a live person automatically without having to be stuck with an IVR for 5-20 minutes
- They don’t have to listen to the awful recorded music playing in a loop
- Customers don’t have to pay that much attention while the chat is activated –they can be multi-tasking, looking at other sites, listen to music, watch TV while their issue is being attended to in the background. It’s a relaxed yet professional way to communicate
- Customers don’t have to spell everything out –no dictating and repeating information to make sure the agent has it correctly. You can type or copy and paste it correctly immediately. It easy to take down key information like ticket or order numbers. No more complex data entering
90% of customers consider live chat helpful according to an ATG Global Consumer Trend study. In an emarketer.com survey they found that 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat .
Huge Pluses for Agents:
- The agents can be conducting multiple conversations simultaneously. This significantly reduces turnaround time for each query.
- Your live chat can be offered in many languages. You can offer support across the globe in the language preference of the customer
- You can field a wide range of customer issues with the tools and resources available to the agent. These problems used to have to be dealt with on the phone but that has now all changed to intelligent live chat call center software
- You can automate some of the answers to speed up the pace of the call. Obviously you don’t want to end up sounding like a machine so you must use these types of answers minimally and to great effect
- The agent will be privy to the customer’s membership details as being able to see exactly what the customer is browsing and the current page they are looking at with tools like –real-time visitor monitoring. This information helps the agent to give a customized solution to the customer and assist with steering the conversation
- There is a proactive chat feature that allows agents to invite customers to engage in communication. This fosters longevity in client relationships
Ultimately live chat will reduce the overall operational costs of your call center. Installation and integration is fast – just one day for a simple system, 10-20 days for a highly customized solution. There is also the great opportunity to brand your live chat window to keep encouraging brand recall. It works as an effective advertiser tool. You can customize and personalize it with a friendly, welcoming message.
Tips for Training Agents in the Best Live Chat Etiquette
- Your team must be armed with up to the minute info on your products and service so they can answer all of the customer’s questions quickly and with useful answers. In this regard cheat sheets and canned messages will really aid their responses
- Make sure answers don’t sound too formal and robotic – it’s a LIVE chat. The customers want to know it’s a human on the other side
- Keep sentences short, concise and to the point. Stay away from long sentences and paragraphs
- If an agent receives great feedback they should encourage the customer to post a comment on one of your social media pages
- Be sure you are giving customers the benefit of all the features of live chat where they can increase the font size etc.
- Offer to email a transcript of the live chat to your customer at the end of the live chat session.
- Use a pre-chat survey to engage the customer as well as to give the agent information so that they can enter the dialogue more prepared. The customer’s description of their issue will also make sure that the right agent, most qualified to handle the concern, can pick up the chat
- Utilize the typing indicator feature so you can see exactly what the customer is typing in real time – so you can pre-empt your response
- The software must also provide the agent with an alert sound, both visual and audible that will let the agent know when their client has pushed the “send” button. This is particularly useful when an agent has multiple conversations on the go
- Train agents to be prepared to transfer chats when their expertise runs out. They must inform the customer and then transfer the chat to an agent that can assist them
- All chat requests must be answered automatically – in no more than 10 seconds
- Make sure previous chat transcripts with customers are available to the agent so they can get up to speed on the customer history
- Get your marketing team to embed chat buttons in their emails – but make sure your call center agents are given the content of the newsletter so they can respond accordingly
- Ideally your online support should be available 24/7
- Be genuine, helpful, engaging, present and thankful. Always end the chat on a positive, high note
Live chat software really saves on employee task time as well as on your monthly phone expenses. It lowers average interaction costs for your call center. It also vastly increases efficiency which means you don’t have to hire loads more agents due to the multi-tasking nature of live chat. The best benefit is that customers won’t get frustrated by long call waiting times.
At Nectar Desk we are launching live chat software solutions for call centers and we would love to give you a demonstration of its unique, cost saving features. Our aim is to always assist you to exceed your service level standard with our sophisticated call center software. Start a free trial today and see what our software can do for your call center.