Why does your contact center need live chat?
First and foremost, you may need it because of customer preferences. According to a Kayako.com survey, 52% of customers are more likely to purchase again if a company has live chat support. Web chat allows them to have their questions answered more quickly than by making a call because waiting time, in this case, is usually shorter. Moreover, they can do other tasks while waiting for an agent’s response. So it’s no surprise that, according to the same survey, 79% of businesses said that “live chat has had a positive effect on sales, revenue, and customer loyalty”.
Source: Kayako. Live Chat Statistics. Live chat trends and insights from 400 consumers and 100 businesses. Kayako.com
Secondly, your company can cut down on operation costs. One agent can work with several chats at the same time so the costs of running your contact center become lower.
Thirdly, live chat increases workflow automation. Your agents can use canned messages during conversations with customers. It will allow them not to search answers for repetitive questions every time and give them an opportunity to personalize their service. Live chat widget in our cloud contact center software allows your website’s authorized users see their correspondence history and receive it on email if they want to save this information. Also, it has a file exchange feature so your agents and users don’t need to switch to email when they have to send some files (scans, filled-in forms, and so on). Therefore, using a live chat solution you achieve four goals at once: make your website more attractive for visitors, improve customer experience, boost your sales, and enhance your agents’ productivity.
Live chat strategies for a successful contact center
It is not enough to just launch a webchat module on your website. This communication channel requires specific rules and strategies to be effective. Let us outline some of them.
Be proactive but not overuse live chat
Your live chat support may be proactive or reactive. Reactive chat means that an agent does not initiate conversations with website visitors but only answers their questions. It may seem ok because this support does not come across as intrusive. But some customers are reluctant to start a conversation with an agent or simply don’t think about that. That’s when proactive chat support comes in handy. Your agent can initiate contact with a website visitor if seeing they are browsing a checkout or FAQ page longer than average. It doesn’t look too intrusive and can reduce shopping cart abandonment rate. Proactive customer support increases your sales and leads. Moreover, when an agent approaches a visitor who is on the verge of buying something there is an opportunity to upsell. So be proactive but do not overuse your webchat. It may drive your potential customers away.
Consider a chatbot
Do your agents receive many repetitive questions? Consider using a chatbot. This virtual assistant will help you to handle tasks that do not require agents’ involvement - for example, tell a customer how to restore a password or what is their purchase delivery status. If the customer’s issue is too complicated, a chatbot will route them to an agent. More advanced bots can learn during the interactions with customers and route them through the website to what they need. Do not worry about how your website visitors may react. A recent Intercom’s survey found that 74% of consumers expect to see a chatbot on your website and that, according to business leaders, chatbots increased their sales by an average of 67%. So chatbots are able not only to free up your agents to handle more difficult requests but also to benefit your business financially.
Save a transcript
It may benefit both you and your customers. Using live chat transcripts you can define most frequently asked questions and use the most successful agents’ answers for auto-responses. Also, you may find there new ideas for your company’s blog. For customers, saved chat transcripts are important as well. They can return to past conversations in order to learn more about your products or to use the information they got from agents. So if your live chat solution hasn’t had such an option it’s time to implement it.
Remember about mobile users
Nowadays, people do many things on the move: read books, watch videos, buy some goods or services. So pay attention to the mobile version. It has to be as user-friendly as desktop one: have simple account verification and a webchat with short text responses and small file attachments.
Use web chat to extend opening hours
Consumers often expect 24/7 service and it is great if your company is able to provide it. How can you do it? Use some outsourcing company or hire agents who will work from home. Nowadays remote work has become a new normal for contact centers so it will be ok if you provide round-the-clock webchat services using homeworkers or an outsourcer.
To learn more about the challenges contact centers faced during the Covid-19 crisis when their agents switched to remote mode, review the transcript of our webinar.
If the 24/7 option is not for you, you have two other options. Set up a contact form to replace your chat widget when your agents are offline. It will allow your website visitors to ask questions when webchat is inactive and get answers on their email. Or you can hide the chat widget during offline hours. It all depends on your website settings.
Gather customer feedback
Consider customer feedback as the room for improvement and use all opportunities to learn what customers think about your business. You can do it in different ways after contact: asking clients to grade service level from 1 to 10, encouraging them to share their experience in social media or other websites, creating a survey with more specific questions in a webchat, etc.
Get customer data before initiating a chat
Live chat is a good way to improve your customer experience but you can also use it to reach your customers in the future. Ask customers to enter some data except their name when they open a chat. It may be their telephone number or email address. These data can be used for cold calling or cold mailing campaigns.
Optimize your agents’ utilization time
There is no predefined formula that would allow you to calculate how many concurrent conversations and how many overall chats every agent can handle effectively. You can figure it out only by trial and error and you have to do it to make your contact center cost-effective and avoid emotional burnout among your agents.
Measuring Live Web Chat Performance
So, you’ve implemented a live web chat solution on your website and it is working. But how can you measure its performance? There are some metrics that can be helpful.
Webchat volume. It is the number of conversations your agents handle per some amount of time. Webchat volume shows how efficient they are in answering customers’ questions. Comparing it to the number of visitors, you can estimate if you have enough agents for live chat support. It is also important that webchat analytics allow you to differentiate the number of conversations initiated by customers and agents so you can see your agents’ proactivity.
First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate. This figure shows how many customers’ issues were resolved during the first conversation. Sure, it’s not always possible to do but if the FCR is low, you definitely need to improve your live chat support. For instance, divide customers’ requests into categories (account number, delivery status, discounts, etc) and add this information to the pre-chat form. It will allow your live chat agents to know what kind of help website visitors need and reduce chat queue wait time.
Sales conversion rate. This metric is very important. Knowing how many chats result in sales you get a good indication of your sales team performance and can decide if your employees need additional training.
Customer satisfaction rate. As we have already mentioned, customer feedback gives you an opportunity to see how to improve your customer experience. Customer satisfaction shows whether your product or service makes your customers happy. According to another Intercom’s survey, “website visitors are 82% more likely to convert to customers if they’ve chatted with you first”. It indicates that a webchat really matters and you should gather customer feedback in all possible ways.
All in all, web chat can give significant benefits to your business. If properly handled, it may become an effective way to increase your customer experience, boost your sales, and enhance your agents’ productivity.