Considering most of today’s most successful contact centers are taking an omnichannel approach to customer service, it only makes sense that live chat has become a focus among them. This technique brings together automation and live service - the best of both worlds. However, that only applies when it is being used correctly.
What is Live Chat?
Live chat is a platform that is typically built into a company’s website allowing consumers and agents to directly interact. It allows consumers who may have questions or concerns to address them with agents who can assist them quickly and via a channel that is both convenient and comfortable for them. In a sense, it could potentially be the best thing for customer service since the phone call!
One of the biggest benefits of utilizing live chat as part of your multichannel approach to customer service is that the medium provides more independence for those seeking self-service opportunities, but also provides more opportunity for direct communication for those who need it.
Here are just a few of the ways that your center can use live chat to provide a better customer experience to your clientele:
Make It Obvious
Think about your current live chat feature. If you have one, is it very obvious on your website? Can a consumer who is visiting for the first time clearly see where it is and how to use it?
If your live chat feature is hidden, it can become all but useless in assisting customers. After all, the reason the feature exists is to replace other channels and to offer an easy, intuitive approach to consumer care. If those consumers can’t even find the prompt for your live chat, they won’t know that it’s available and they won’t utilize it.
Get your investment’s worth when it comes to your live chat feature software by ensuring that the program is always visible from every page and always ready for use.
Agent Be Nimble, Agent Be Quick
No one is impressed by your live chat feature if it sits idle and unanswered after they input a question. Most software programs designed with a live chat feature deliver a prompt that helps those using it to know when they have received a message. However, the best way to stay on top of the conversation is to be ready with an answer for whatever the consumer might ask or say.
How can your human agents possibly know the answer to everything that another person might possibly request of them? While that isn’t necessarily possible, what is entirely feasible is thorough agent training. Providing adequate training will prepare your agents to better serve consumers - and keep them from faltering when any question is posed.
It is important to note that your service staff isn’t capable of being available 24 hours a day- unless you have several shifts worth of staff members to rotate. If this is the case, make the best use of that schedule by enlisting several team members from each shift to solely focus on live chat engagements. IF you work a more traditional schedule in your office, be sure to leave an “away” message or prompt on the screen of your live chat feature after hours. This way, consumers will know when live agents are available to assist them - and won’t be left waiting for an answer that isn’t coming any time soon.
Have you ever had a phone call or even a conversation with a person in which you could suddenly tell that their attention was elsewhere? It’s hard to explain; sometimes it isn’t silence or awkward responses, but rather a general lack of interest and speed of response.
Remaining focused is imperative to your success when using any communication channel with consumers - and this holds true of live chat. Just as you use active listening on the phone, you should use the equivalent when interacting via a live chat feature. Do not let yourself be distracted or pulled away from the conversation unless you are momentarily pausing to collect information or otherwise actively serve the customer. Everything else that might be at the back of your mind can wait until after your chat has concluded.
Collect Important Information Early in the Exchange
Few things are more frustrating for both call center agents and consumers than having to ask for or repeat important information multiple times. This slows down conversations and prevents any real, meaningful progress from being made.
Begin your chat by gathering the information that you know will be relevant later. Ensure that you have all of that information correct before proceeding. Then, only revisit this information if required.
Don’t Get Carried Away with Scripting
While call center agent scripting is an important component of success - especially for newer or less-experienced agents - it shouldn’t overtake your team’s ability to interact and engage authentically with customers.
Train your agents to rely more on their own social skills and on experience to make genuine, friendly conversation with callers. With live chat there is no need for flowery language - just be straightforward yet polite. This will better serve your efforts than even the best-written scripts.
Preparing for Live Chat Success with the Right Technology
Before your team can begin providing all of this improved customer service, they will need the necessary tools and technology to do so. If you want to assist with that effort, consider outfitting your operation with upgraded software or integrating a new live chat feature that works seamlessly with your current suite - all by partnering with the experts at ChaseData.