Written by Kushal Dev | Co-founder, Customer Guru
Live chat is a customer service phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common on business websites. The reasons for this phenomenon are many but it is primarily because customers are expecting more robust service from their respective brands. Customers are becoming an impatient and restless lot, not wanting to wait to get their problems resolved. And what better way to solve the problem than to have a real-time web chat available for customers, where executives are guiding them through every step. Customers, in turn, just love this proactive approach that organizations are using and they appreciate the fact that this medium provides a convenient, effective and quick solution to their problems.
But it is not just the customers that are happy! The various benefits to business entities in implementing this service are low operational costs, quick response times resulting in an overall superior customer experience. According to a report by Zendesk, use of live chat has soared from 30% in 2009 to 52% in 2013 and continues to climb. In fact, nearly a third of consumers expect live chat to be available when they come into contact with a brand. Customers have also reported the highest satisfaction rates on live chat (73%) as compared to traditional platforms like email (61%) or phone (44%).
With the growth of this new trend, there has to be a decisive approach to it as well. Here are 7 tips to improve your web chat experience for fantastic customer service:
Provide effective training to staff
Web chat agent are the face of the brand, so it is but obvious that they should know everything there is to know about it. The customer may end up asking a multitude of questions and it is important that the executive be able to answer and resolve most, if not all of the queries.
Besides the knowledge of the product and service, they should also be trained in how to communicate with the customer over chat. Writing is a skill very different from speaking and extensive training will ensure that the message is conveyed in a proper and professional manner. Hence, training the workforce on effective writing skills, on not being wordy and repetitive and on being precise and concise. Also, not all customers can make sense of corporate jargon. So, the best bet is to consider the customer base as laymen and communicate in the same manner. Additionally, the workforce must be trained to add a personal touch to their conversations, making it a pleasant experience for the customer.
Just as the voice is all that the customer hears when speaking to an executive, so the messages sent by an executive are all that a customer sees when chatting. Since this is a medium where a customer can not hear/see the person, it is important that an executive ensures that he doesn’t sound rude, unempathetic and unhelpful. Remember, you can still convey a lot through your voice on phone. On the other hand chats don’t convey voice tone, therefore coach your chat agents to use the right words.
Ensure that the waiting time is displayed
It is always critical to set the expectations of the customer right. If your web chat is a busy forum, then make sure that the customer can view the wait time before someone can attend to his query. This will avoid a potential complaint and a frustrated customer on the other side.
Provide 24/7 service
Customers don’t follow a periodic schedule or a time table when they want to touch base with you. Considering that they are from different time zones and demographies, they might want to shop, browse and explore at any time of the day. A thorough study of the analytics will give you an idea of capacity planning and if, for some reason, you can’t do it internally, then consider outsourcing the requirement.
Plan for peaks and lulls
Staffing for web chat can have similar challenges as staffing for a call centre. A detailed study of your peak and lull periods will help plan staffing requirements and drastically reduce wait times, because at the end of the day, customer love web chats for their quick response times.
Encourage the customer to believe in themselves
Galileo Galilei once said
“We cannot teach people anything; we can only help them discover it within themselves.”
Imagine what a great value add it would be to the overall customer experience if the agent can explain to the customer what he did to resolve the query and encourage him to perform the same function. A simple walk through or flow chart will instil confidence in the customer for future or similar issues that he may face, making him feel empowered.
We believe these are the stepping stones of building a flawless web chat experience. Spend some time assessing them and watch your operations soar from good to great! Can you think of any other simple yet effective ideas? Do share them with us.