#technology#customer service#ROI

A Direct (On)Line To Your Customers: Chat For Customer Service

Dustin Dean, VP and GM of LivePerson
|Nov 22|magazine12 min read

Change is an unstoppable force. The more we try to stick to outdated practices of the past, the more it hinders our progress. Mobile technologies and social media have opened up new avenues for interaction and customer engagement. This shift in customer preference means that businesses need to connect with their customers in the way most convenient for them without losing sight of personlisation.

Hence, traditional methods of customer service are being replaced by the ability to connect on social media that has enabled open-ended, two-way communications through which customers can provide feedback throughout the entire customer experience. 

As such, the world will continue to be re-imagined through the lens of an always-on, always-connected consumer and businesses need to keep up. The question is then, how can businesses maintain a high and personalised level of interaction in this digital age?

Live engagement channels like chat, not only gives businesses a way to meaningfully connect with consumers, but also boost conversion rates and significantly impact ROI.

The success doesn’t lie in the channel alone. The chat agent plays an integral role in the success of any live chat implementation. They are essentially the face of your brand, and are the differentiation between your engagement strategy and that of a content heavy website or FAQ. Well -trained and knowledgeable chat agents are they key to making your digital engaement program successful and can vastly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty while also lifting sales.

1. Create a dedicated team of chat agents

While the volume of call and chat requests can fluctuate, it’s generally better to have a group of chat agents focused solely on the chat channel, rather than move them between the chat requests and traditional phone hotlines. Not only will you gain more productivity from your staff, but your consumers will also notice the difference.

2. Create a chat mindset

Chat and telephone agents do similar jobs. They respond to inquiries and requests for help from customers. They resolve problems and issues quickly and as effectively as possible. However, that is where these two roles diverge.

Where a phone agent is responsive, chat agents are pro-active.

Live engagement allows a business to use analytics and tracking to identify points in a customers’ experience where he or she may be frustrated, and may benefit from assistance through a live chat agent. They know where a customer is on the site, and what they have been looking at, allowing the agent to bypass the customary ‘how may I help you today?’ script.  It is this instant help – the chat mindset – that is the key to success.

3. Learn from the best agents

Analysing chat conversations allows brands to learn how to improve chat agent performance and also reveal ways to optimise the website. The conversations let business see exactly what is and isn’t working, and help focus their designated chat team on the most effective strategies. 

4. Effective training introducing chat

All agents, regardless of the channel, should possess comprehensive knowledge of the product and processes in order to be as effective as possible. It is also important for agents to be properly trained on the new live chat medium. Techniques, especially those employed to close sales, differ from the voice to text-based chat, and website operators who are introducing the new live engagement tool should train existing agents accordingly.

5. Promote the channel

As chat is increasingly seen as a more effective way to connect with customers over voice, companies should be promoting it as such. Those businesses that have already integrated live engagement chats into their websites find that employees prefer it over the call centre. Beyond the ability to chat with multiple customers simultaneously, the text medium allows deeper collaborations between agents. 

It may seem that ultimately, phone and chat agents are doing very similar jobs, and both work to actively engage customers, it’s important to coach those moving into the text-based chat medium to ensure their success.

At the end of the day, it is vital that organisations analyse the business benefits of humanisation of the digital channel and drive their customer engagement strategies accordingly. Those that don’t will find themselves at a disadvantage and perhaps soon left behind. It’s time for businesses to come to grips with the new era of customer engagement.