Gone are the days when live chat was an innovative support channel. Today, live chat is a must. Live support gives clients the chance to receive immediate answers to their questions, without having to wait for hours (or days) for a response.
For your contact center, the benefits of a live chat process include slashing phone costs and boosting efficiency because employees can handle more than one chat at a time. For your customers, an online chat system provides immediate access and lowers wait time. And live chat can have a big impact on your bottom line:
- Adding a live chat feature on a website can lead to a 20% increase in conversion rates.
- 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
- Customers who engage in live chat spend 60% more per purchase than those who don’t.
There are many benefits to live chat customer support:
1. Increase Contact Center Efficiency
Live chat support allows agents to juggle more than one customer at a time and increase efficiency. In contrast to one-on-one phone support, where an agent is typically laser-focused on one issue at a time, live chat means they can switch between multiple chat windows.
Doing so reduces the time spent on each customer interaction. Plus, as agents can handle multiple calls at the same time, you can save on staff expenses while maintaining quality customer service and allowing agents to build better chatting techniques.
2. Increase Sales
The live chat process has been shown to increase the number of sales and average order value for businesses. Customers who have questions or doubts about the product or service can enter into a conversation with the company right away and get their concerns resolved before making their decision. It helps them move along the customer journey.
It’s easier to sway a customer who is on the fence and “strike when the iron is hot,” as the saying goes, instead of answering the next day. Not to mention, the live chat process also helps to upsell, as agents can suggest other products that customers may be interested in based on what they have previously viewed on the website. If a customer is dissatisfied, the contact center agent can offer a discount code to keep the customer and maintain brand reputation. Cross-selling and upselling are crucial chatting techniques for your agents.
3. Stand Out From The Crowd
As obvious as the live chat process may seem for businesses, live chat support service is still not something every organization offers.
Take advantage of this and distinguish yourself from your competitors by offering a live chat support service. A customer who is shopping around is more likely to be swayed by a website offering live chat, as they can talk with a real person instantly and resolve their concerns on the spot. Live chat (and training your agents on chatting techniques for success) is a small investment that can give you a big edge.
4. Connect With Customers
You can enter into a conversation with customers on social media, but the live chat process is a bit more direct and intimate. Wouldn’t you much rather have a customer express a concern directly via live chat so you can fix it right away than broadcast their concern with a public post on a social platform?
Chat support offers an excellent opportunity to communicate one-on-one with customers. This kind of personal communication helps create a stronger bond between the company and the customer. Customers know they’ll receive personalized help, creating happier customers and more repeat business for you.
Live Chat Support Tips
If you’re ready to leap to live customer service, here are some key live chat support tips to ensure your agents deliver quality customer service from the start.
1. Tackle The Challenges Of Written And Live Support
Just like phone support, agents also need training in live chat etiquette. Strong spelling and grammar are a must, but more subtle communication practices must be acquired. Tone can be more easily misinterpreted in writing versus on a voice call. Clarity is key.
Agents should also be able to communicate with the client frequently and keep them updated on progress. For example, if an agent must consult someone else to answer a question, it could take a few minutes. It’s important the agent tells the client they are doing so and checks back in after a few minutes if they need additional time. These are just a few examples of moments when agents can use the live chat support tips you teach them.
Effective multitasking can be another challenge for agents who are handling multiple live chats at the same time. Agents who are handling simultaneous chats must learn how to effectively manage each of the customer conversations in a timely manner. This means knowing when to take the time to explain how to solve a problem versus sending a link that will explain an in-depth resolution, for example.
The agent should have tools to help reassure the customer if they are handling multiple chats. They can give the customer a time limit for when they will be away, plus the reason they are taking extra time. In the example where an agent provides a link, they can remind the customer they will be waiting if the customer has further questions.
Agents should be taught not to interrupt customers in the middle of a chat, so they don’t inadvertently make the customer feel rushed. They should also be given specific training on ”soft skills,” and then tested on the mastery of those skills in the form of a mock chat session or a written quiz on chat support etiquette.
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2. Empower Your Agents To Be Human
Customers reach out through live chat support to contact a human, not a robot. Apart from agents introducing themselves and asking the client what they need help with, scripted texts should be avoided. Customers easily pick up on scripted responses, and this can leave an impersonal impression. If scripts are obvious on the phone, they’re even more obvious through chat.
Empower your agents to be human. Tell your agents that their scripted answers should serve as a guide — but they should improvise and respond naturally. This makes the conversation more personal and enhances the customer experience. This is a crucial part of training your agents on chat support etiquette.
3. Plan Agent Staffing Accordingly
Anxious about how you’ll staff your contact center with around-the-clock live chat agents? Don’t be — 24/7 support may not be necessary. If you know your clientele and their shopping habits, you might only need to be connected within a certain time frame every day.
Based on peak time frames, you can determine when you’ll need more manpower and can schedule agents according to traffic fluctuations. Consider seasonality as well. For example, if you’re a B2C company offering holiday gifts, you may need agents well-versed in chatting techniques 24/7 during November and December.
4. Collect Data In The Live Chat Process
Live chat is an ideal channel for improving and providing quality customer support thanks to the data it collects. Every conversation becomes an instant transcript, which can be analyzed much more quickly than a phone conversation can. You can spot and act on customer complaints and pain points right away.
Not to mention, voice of the customer (VoC) surveys within chats get a much higher response rate and give a well-rounded overview of how agents are doing. Bonus: You can analyze responses to use in future training and coaching for chat support etiquette.
Looking into offering live chat customer service? Services such as Zendesk can help you take your business a step further. And if you’re looking for improved quality customer service, Playvox can take your contact center the extra mile. Find out how.