Providing support through a traditional contact center or call center creates a lot of communication barrier between the agent and customers - like pushing them into an unnecessary back-and-forth due to lack of visibility and burdening agents to manage a high volume of a support call at a time.
Many companies have turned to cloud-based contact center software (or call center). The software offers features like easy call routing, callbacks, an interface that include session records, easy integration with multiple devices, and video calls - has made life easier for support agent as well as for the customer.
How modern contact center solutions have changed?
Contact center solution which was earlier designed to provide only phone support has now switched their focus in providing omnichannel customers service.
Information integration across different channels, which, in turn, improves the customers’ experiences has become a necessity.
Some of the prominent channels used by a modern contact center software to provide customer service and support are Email, Social media, Website support, VoIP, Live Chats, etc.
Among all live chat has gained the maximum attention of the contact center solution provider.
Why your contact center needs a live chat?
Contact centers are rapidly adopting intelligent live chat software as several studies have shown that integrating a live chat feature on your website and apps improves one-time contact resolution.
According to businees2community - It takes only 42 seconds to solve problems using live chat.
Live chat is important in the contact center because it helps to eliminate the need for a complicated IVR system. Essentially, live chat:
- Cuts down customer waiting time
- Lowers the operating cost associated with customer support
- Improves one-time resolution with visual engagement
- Interprets common customer queries and suggest a solution
- Reduce understanding barriers with intelligent auto-suggestions
- Enables you to see and interact with customers screen real-time
However, the questions still arise that Why should you add contact center chat to the contact center channels you already use? First of all, let's look at it from the customer's side.
According to a survey by eDigital, 73% of customers who use live chat are satisfied with their experience. This is far higher than other customer support options.
A study by the American Marketing Association found that customers are 3X more likely to convert when they've used live chat. Furthermore, the average ROI when you use live chat can be as high as 305%.
So if you want to attract a customer to buy your product or pay for your service, it's a no-brainer that you give them a great user experience on your website. Having said that, how does live chat contribute to your bottom line?
Now, you can see how important live chat is -- if it’s not already interested on your website, this might be the right time to do so.
A solution that makes your customers happy and increases revenue is a solution most businesses would go for.
Live chat strategies for a successful contact center
If live chat is absent on your website and you plan to add it, how do you go about the process? Of course, just installing live chat on your website won't lead to all the benefits you're looking for.
You need to follow the best practices to get the results you want.
1. Capture customer data before initiating a chat
Live chat is a means to an end and not the end itself. You want to answer your customer's questions now, but you also want to be able to reach them in the future.
To do this, you'll have to capture their data before beginning a chat. The data you request for will depend on what you need.
Do you want to call them on a later date? You can ask for their name and phone number. Want to add them to an email sequence? You can ask for their name and email address.
HDFC provides an excellent example of this, any HDFC customers who wanted to make any sort of information request, like account information, balance details loan approval process, have to simply click on the option available on their pre-chat form.
This helps the agents to get a pretext of the questions the customers are going to ask - further by collecting personal and/or account information (i.e. full name, case number, email address, phone number, etc.) via the pre-chat survey - increase agents’ efficiency in addressing customer concerns, it minimizing chat durations, chat hold times, and chat queue wait times.
2. Provide a unified conversational experience
Customers who have reached your business before want to avoid answering the same questions over and over. This can lead to a bad experience for them.
When you save their past conversations, it's easier to communicate better and only ask new questions.
You can achieve this by integrating your live chat software with customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps you to track customer interactions.
It’s a great way to grow your leads and contacts while nurturing the relationship you have with them.
Here’s the truth: When you come in contact with a new prospect or users in your live chat system on a daily or weekly basis, these are potential leads for your business. So don’t let that crucial lead data to be trapped or abandoned inside your live chat system?
When you integrate your live chat software with your CRM, you can utilize important data such as contact information to create new leads and contact records.
Interestingly, your sales team can now follow up with the leads to turn them into paying customers.
3. Think about your agent's utilization time
Even though you pay for your live chat software, don't forget you also pay the agent in charge. You have to ensure you're getting the best productivity from your employee.
To do this, track how many chats your agent is handling daily and how many concurrent chats they handle. When are they idle?
This formula explains agent utilization time better:
These insights will help you make the right decisions regarding your live chat agents. Do you need additional resources due to a high workload? Or you need to add other tasks to the agent's work?
4. Give your contact center a brain
You can improve live chat experience for your users when you incorporate other supporting features to it. Consider these activities:
i). Use of live chat on contact points
When visitors visit your pages, it's important that they're able to access live chat when they need it. You can have live chat on all your website pages. But if that's impossible, you should have it on your service and sales pages.
Track the pages which are often visited by your audience. See who is currently browsing through your website or mobile apps, and approach them in the right way.
ii). Use of co-browsing to provide real-time assistance
Co-browsing helps your customer agent see the screen your customer is seeing. This is beneficial when a customer is looking for a part of your website.
It also helps if you run a software platform and customers ask about how to carry out some tasks.
ROBIN, an eCommerce Customer Service Company for retail brands relied on co-browsing to reduce call/chat handling time by up to 50% and delivering a significant ROI for the company.
Co-browsing is exceptionally helpful to industries who have complicated support and service procedures. Taking an example of ICICI - ICICI succeeded to decrease average operating time by 50%, by adopting co-browsing technology.
All that a customer has to do is to provide 6 digits access code on the phone and the agents are able to access the secured online documentation by using co-browsing feature - helping them to fill the tedious form in few clicks.
iii). Use of AI-assisted chatbots to address routine queries
Over time, you'll notice that your customers ask some questions frequently. You can program your AI-assisted chatbots to answer these questions when customers ask them.
This way, you'll only need your agents when customers ask unique questions.
In summary, these AI-assisted chatbots can address routine queries by:
- Replacing IVR processes
- Improving self-service
- Ensuring a more accurate call routing
- Delivering a faster customer service
- Enhancing personalization.
5. Help your agents to do their best
Like most activities you carry out in your business, you need to train your employees to get the best out of them. And the same applies to your live chat agents.
You want to ensure that your live chat agents are able to reply to customers with empathy. Robotic responses can chase your customer away if it's not addressing their specific problems.
Your live chat agents need to be trained on how to use your live chat software. Added to that, they need communication skills training to send the right messages to your customers.
6. Identify Common Customer Service Problems
What are the common issues that your agents may face while trying to provide live chat services?
To get this information, you'll have to ask your live chat agents. Some common problems that your customer service may encounter are:
- Having to transfer a customer to another agent.
- Angry customers who just want to vent rather than ask a question.
- Customers asking for solutions a customer service agent can't provide.
- Lack of tools to solve customer's problem.
- Questions that a customer service agent has no answer to.
Keep in mind that 56% of people have stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service, according to Microsoft.
When you're aware of these problems, you can have a system in place that helps you to solve these problems whenever they occur.
7. Program your live chat inline with your contact center workflow
Companies are always looking for the best ways to engage with their customers. Acquire, a live chat solutions provider, in a study, found that live chat is a unique way to answer customers’ questions and satisfy their needs almost instantly.
At different stages of your customer journey, there are different issues they may face. And in some cases, they may be asking questions that are specific to their past interactions with your business.
For instance, if a customer asks about the status of their product delivery, a customer service agent may have no access to this information. Generally, there are two ways to go about this:
- Use a customer relationship management software that will allow your customer service agents access to a customer's past interactions with your business.
- Use a sequence-based bot that will route the customer's chat to the right department depending on their stage in the buyer’s journey and the information they require. For example, if a user is on acquire.io/pricing, then send the following message:
Would you like to ask questions about pricing?
Next, you can route chat to your sales team. Simply use rules to redirect qualified customers to the appropriate sales rep, who will, in turn, answer their questions and close requests faster than before.
8. Maintain chat transcript
Essentially, Live chat transcript can help to improve your customer service. First of all, you can track your interactions with various customers.
Another benefit is that you can use your transcript to find frequently asked questions and use your live chat agents’ responses for auto-responses in the future. This can also assist in creating your frequently asked questions page.
Do you have a blog? The chat transcripts will give you ideas on topics to address in your knowledge base articles.
Unfortunately, most companies fail to keep transcripts. Superoffice found that 55% of companies do not keep transcripts once the chat has ended.
See an example of a live chat transcript below:
This is another example where you can see the chats:
Note: Chat transcript is important because the customer can revert back to it to learn more about your solutions.
9. Monitor Contact center ROI with key metrics
If you're using live chat on your website, you want to justify the money spent on the software with a positive return on investment (ROI). Because without that, you'll just be wasting money. Some metrics to consider are:
i). Metrics for end users
What effects does your live chat efforts have on your customers? How many customers go on to buy after going through live chat? Do they ask the same question again?
ii). Metrics for agents
You need to gather important data like the number of customers your agents are attending. Also, you can track the time they spend attending to each customer.
And more importantly, you can ask for customer feedback after a live chat session. This would indicate if a customer service agent is effective in their duties. Some metrics to track are:
- Service Level
- Average Time in Queue
- Number of chats handled
- Average handle time
- Average number of chats
- Abandon rates
- First Call Resolution
With these metrics, you can have hard figures about the effect of live chat on your customers and revenue. This would inform the necessary changes you might need to make to your live chat strategy.
Providing live chat on your website is now a necessity if you want to satisfy your customers and increase your revenue.
Follow these best practices to get the best out of your website’s live chat implementation.