- Live chat has the capacity to elevate the customer experience
- Companies don’t always invest in live chat, which can result in customer frustration
- You can use a variety of methods to improve live chat
If you were to ask your customers what they thought of your live chat efforts, what would they say? Would they respond that they love talking to your agents over live chat – the experience is convenient and simple? Or would they complain it takes too long to reach an agent, and when they did reach an agent, the person didn’t know how to solve the problem?
Here are some of the best tips to improve live chat so it elevates the contact center customer experience.
When live chat is good, it’s very, very good…
Live chat has enormous potential to create an excellent customer experience. Here are some statistics that bear this out:
- 75 percent of people prefer live chat over any other channel
- 44 percent of consumers say that being able to ask questions of a live person when they’re shopping online is one of the most important features a website can offer
- 63 percent of Millennials prefer live chat to answer basic customer support queries
- The average customer satisfaction rate for live chat in the tech industry exceeds 87 percent
…But when it’s bad, it’s very, very bad
Yet despite its potential, there are times when live chat doesn’t improve the customer experience. In fact, it makes it worse. Here’s why:
- Agents are slow to respond
- Agents don’t always have the right information
- Companies don’t invest in improving live chat so it can offer a better experience
Agents are slow to respond
When customers use live chat, they expect that someone will respond to them quickly and solve their problem in a short amount of time. They don’t want to sit and wait for an answer.
Slow agent responses have a negative impact on the customer experience and cause customers to turn away from live chat.
Agents don’t always have the right information
Poorly trained agents who don’t have the right answers frustrate customers. Customers want answers to their questions when they turn to live chat.
Companies don’t invest in improving live chat
The two factors mentioned above (long response time and uninformed agents) are the outcome when companies don’t invest in improving live chat.
When decision makers think about live chat, what comes to mind is cost-effectiveness. They don’t always choose to implement live chat because they believe it will improve the customer experience. However, when they don’t invest in effective training, it leads to the issues mentioned above.
How to elevate the customer experience through live chat
Here are ways to elevate the customer experience through live chat:
- Train staff properly
- Give staff access to the knowledge they need
- Connect staff to internal resources
- Monitor agents and measure performance analytics
- Consider adding virtual agents
Train staff properly
What does training your staff properly entail?
It means ensuring they understand how to use live chat technology and preparing them for questions customers will ask as well as how best to answer those queries. Furthermore, agents must learn how to handle difficult situations quickly to create a positive contact center customer experience. Agents must also learn how to balance multiple chats at once, a skill that requires practice and proper training.
Give staff access to the knowledge they need
Good training is an important first step, but there will be times when agents will need to consult a reliable, accurate source of information to solve problems.
Use a contact center solution with a built-in knowledge base so agents have access to the information they need at their fingertips. Moreover, choose contact center software that integrates with important business applications, such as CRMs. These applications give agents the data they need about customers to help serve them better. For more information about creating effortless customer engagement, see RingCentral’s contact center solutions.
Connect staff to internal resources
You’ve trained staff. They have an internal knowledge base and they can access critical business applications. However, what happens when someone else in the company is responsible for dealing with a given issue?
Agents will need to reach out to internal experts for help with certain problems. That’s why having access to collaboration tools is crucial – they connect agents to team members in the rest of the organization so they can help customers solve problems.
Monitor agents and measure performance analytics
There’s a saying that if you can’t measure something you can’t manage it. Monitoring agents and measuring performance analytics help you understand what’s happening within the live chat channel so you can manage it better.
Market-leading contact center software allows managers to monitor on-screen interactions such as live chat to better understand agent performance. With this knowledge, they can coach agents who need more assistance and reward those who are doing well.
Additionally, built-in analytics give managers a deeper insight into things such as:
- How quickly agents respond to customers
- If agents are responding to issues on the first go
- Customer retention rates (are customers sticking with your company after their live chat experience?)
Analytics help you pinpoint problem areas so you can work on remedying them.
Consider adding virtual agents
A virtual agent (not to be confused with a virtual assistant) is software that follows certain rules to answer customer questions. Virtual agents use natural language processing (a branch of AI) to read, understand, and derive meaning from human language.
What’s the difference between virtual agents and chatbots? Chatbots only respond to simple questions and scans customer questions for phrases, while virtual agents understand what a customer types and provides meaningful, personalized responses.
A virtual agent complements your existing live chat program by handling a number of interactions at once. They’re also always on-call. And when a call is too difficult for a virtual agent to handle, it will pass it off to a human.
Improve the contact center customer experience with RingCentral
Originally published Jul 30, 2021, updated Jan 17, 2024