Providing quality customer service is paramount to running a successful contact center. Disgruntled customers are more likely than happy customers to tell people about their experience This statement is based on a study conducted for Coca Cola by TARP in 1980. However, in 2020 the amount of people a dissatisfied customer has the ability to reach is much larger. The average person has 338 friends on any given social media platform. One post on their page has the potential to not only reach their friends but their friends’ friends, their friends’ friends’ friends, so on and so forth. So, how do you ensure our customers have the best experience possible?
First, you need to examine what makes customers happy. During the course of an interaction with an agent customer happiness is influenced by a few things.
- Response Time
Customers appreciate a short response time. They would rather get a response in real time than have to slog their way through a series of menu options only to be put on hold. They also do not like to wait a long time to receive a response to a question.
- Issue Resolution
When a customer reaches out to an agent for help with an issue they are having they expect it to be resolved in an efficient manner. Agents must have a wide knowledge base and be able to act quickly and efficiently.
- Personable Interaction
Customers are happy when they feel the interaction is personable. They should feel like the person on the other end of the conversation wants to help them.
The best experience possible
In the past, voice calls and email ruled the customer service world. But now, there’s a (not so) new kid on the block: live chat. Online chatting became popular with young people using AIM (AOLl Instant Messenger). Originally, it was a way for people to communicate casually with their friends.Today, instant messaging is used by people of all ages for all reasons.
Contact centers have found there is an advantage to using online chat. It is faster than email and more efficient than voice call. Adding a chat widget to a business website is becoming standard practice and for good reason. Webchat has minimal response time, efficient issue resolution and allows for a personable experience. Website visitors not only prefer a live chat feature but expect a website to feature one.
Live chat is beneficial to customers and agents alike. Adding live chat software to a website improves customer satisfaction by improving agent efficiency.
What makes an agent efficient?
An efficient agent should be able to:
- Answer questions thoroughly
- Field a maximum amount of “calls”
- Have a large knowledge base
- Be personable
- Anticipate customer’s needs
Given the right tools, any agent can be an efficient agent. Live chat makes it easier than ever to ensure that agents are able to provide the best customer service possible.
How can agents use live chat?
Live chat has a variety of tools that agents can use to be more efficient. In order for an agent to be efficient there are three important areas they must excel: customer support, sales, and productivity. Let’s examine how live chat tools lend a hand to each area.
Agents can better support customers using live chat tools. They can receive and answer questions in real time. Furthermore, agents can provide more thorough answers in less time than they can on a voice call. Sometimes customers ask questions that require long, technical answers. With live chat, these answers can be presented, read and clarification questions then asked. Other times customers may need to be led through a step by step process. Live chat allows those steps to be laid out easily. This is not only beneficial to the customer but also to the agent. The agent has the ability to ensure they are giving clear, easy to follow directions.
Live chat helps with sales in a few ways. Most sales are based on leads. The faster an agent can respond to an inquiry the higher the conversion rate to a lead. The faster that lead is followed, the more likely it is to become a sale. Live chat enables agents to respond quickly to enquiries thus driving sales and agent efficiency.
Some live chat tools also allow agents to access sales history in real time. This information helps agents anticipate their customer’s needs. Agents can make informed suggestions regarding their customer’s needs using live chat tools.
Agents can have more influence over whether a customer will go through with a purchase or not. Chat widgets can be placed just about anywhere on a website and one that is strategically placed can potentially increase sales.
With live chat agents are not limited to one conversation at a time. While Customer A is trying to find their part number, an agent can be assisting Customer B in finding the correct size seat for their motorcycle and Customer C with a question about what kind of oil goes in their specific engine. The more customers an agent can serve, the better.
Customer etiquette is a delicate balance. Live chat tools help agents find this balance.
Agents should be:
Live chat tools help promote these etiquette values. It provides a platform where agents can easily be cheerful, professional and empathetic in their responses. Some of these tools are simply built into the way live chat functions while others are programmable and personalized.
Interactions with customers can range from monotonous to complicated to downright awkward. Live chat reduces the impact of unfavorable interactions. An agent can somewhat remove themselves when they use live chat. When handling a complaint an agent has to worry less about reacting emotionally and off the cuff. Live chat makes it easier and less stressful for agents to handle negative situations.
Aside from supplying a natural filter, webchat gives agents the tool of canned responses. A canned response is a ready made phrase. The type of phrases that are made into canned responses are ones that are given with frequency. Using a canned response allows an agent to automate a portion of their responsibilities that is time consuming.
It also allows them to have ready made responses to stressful situations. Agents don’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing on the spot if they have canned responses at the ready. Canned responses take the pressure off agents allowing them to do their job more efficiently.
While canned response can help in a pinch it is of course always better to use a natural speaking voice, even when interacting digitally.
Live chat allows room for agents to sound as professional or laid back as the brand needs. A surf shop might encourage employees to speak in a laid back manner with lots of lingo. An agent doesn’t necessarily have to be hip to the lingo but can have a word bank to help them along. Conversely if the conversation and brand need the agent to be technical live chat can help here as well.
Live chat makes it easier for agents to be professional. Voice calls make it easy to slip into a casual tone of voice or sound unprofessional. When chatting with customers using live chat agents have the chance to review what they say, before they say it, reducing the likeliness of sounding unprofessional or giving an incorrect solution.
Some live chat software allows agents to access past interactions or purchase history. Having access to this information further elevates the customer experience. When this customer visits the website where they originally purchased an item, a live chat tool can access past purchases. Some websites already use algorithms to do this. But with live chat a real human can make a personal suggestion tailored to that customer’s needs.
Unlike voice calls or email, live chat is available 24/7. As customers ourselves we understand that not all problems happen during regular working hours. Live chat software allows customers to get solutions in real time, no matter the hour.
Live chat is a powerful tool that helps agents and customers alike. No longer do customers have to wait days to get responses to questions and agents can be confident they are giving the best customer service possible. Adding a chat widget to a website has never been easier or more beneficial. Live chat is the future of quality customer service we all deserve.
LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today.