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6 ways to succeed with contact center live chat

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  • Live chat has the potential to deliver an amazing customer experience
  • Live chat fails when agents can’t answer customer queries quickly
  • There are six contact center live chat best practices to follow, including training, giving agents the right tools, monitoring, and measuring analytics

Out of all of the channels customers use to communicate with companies, which would you say is the most challenging? Some might argue it’s live chat. Customers expect answers in real time, and you can’t exactly put them on hold while you look for an answer.

In this post, we’ll explore the top tips to succeed with live chat at your contact center, so your customers and agents have an excellent experience.

What you need to know about live chat

If you’re on the fence about offering live chat, here are some statistics that highlight this channel’s importance:

  • 79% of consumers prefer live chat because agents can respond quickly to their queries
  • Out of all the channels, live chat has the highest consumer satisfaction rate at 92%
  • 63% of consumers who use live chat on a site are likely to go back to that site
  • Website visitors who use live chat are 85% more likely to become customers

How live chat can go wrong

The statistics above give you a sense of what happens when live chat works well. Unfortunately, there are many times when live chat falls flat. Why does that occur?

  • Agents are slow to respond
  • Agents don’t have the right information
  • It doesn’t create a better customer experience

Agents are slow to respond

Customers chose live chat because they expect a speedy response. However, if an agent takes more than a couple of minutes to respond, that irritates customers.

Agents don’t have the right information

When customers reach out to an agent through live chat, they expect the agent to be sitting in front of the computer with ready access to information at their fingertips. That can often be a mistaken conclusion.

If the contact center doesn’t give agents the tools they need to do their jobs properly, they can’t answer customer queries quickly (or at all).

It doesn’t create a better customer experience

When live chat doesn’t work, the customer experience suffers. Customers feel irritated and disappointed, and there’s a good chance they won’t come back to you.

How to succeed with contact center live chat

Here are some tips that lead to contact center live chat success:

  • Train agents effectively
  • Give them the tools they need to collaborate
  • Give them the information they need
  • Monitor agents
  • Measure analytics
  • Consider adding virtual agents to the mix

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Train your staff effectively

To succeed at contact center live chat, agents must receive thorough, comprehensive training. They must be taught how to respond to difficult situations, where to turn for answers, and how to do these things quickly for a positive customer experience.

If agents receive remote training, supervisors should make use of videoconferencing, screen sharing, and the recording of on-screen interactions to see if there are any gaps in the agent’s knowledge.

Give agents the tools they need to collaborate

As well-trained as an agent can be, there’s no way they can know everything. Sometimes, they’ll come across a situation with which they’re not familiar, and they need help.

That’s why putting the right collaboration tools in place is crucial. The right collaboration tools allow agents to reach out to their colleagues in other departments so they can get the answers they need quickly. A presence indicator shows which colleague is available, so they can call, chat, or video conference with a person who can solve the problem.

Give agents access to the information they need

For years, agents operated in silos. They didn’t have access to the systems they needed to get vital information.

Market-leading contact center solutions integrate with CRMs, so agents have a full picture of the customer. Additionally, they have built-in knowledge bases so agents can easily figure out which processes and procedures apply in a situation.

Monitor agents

Another contact center live chat best practice is to monitor agents. Supervisors should review agent interactions over live chat to ensure consistency, adherence to company procedures, and the delivery of a positive customer experience.

The right contact center software allows supervisors to monitor on-screen interactions so they understand what’s going on over live chat.

Measure analytics

Do you know what your average handle time is for contact center live chat? What about your first call resolution rate? Analytics matter in live chat the same way they do in other channels.

It’s possible to measure analytics to understand how long it takes agents to respond to customer queries, if they’re resolving questions on the first go, and if live chat is helping you retain customers (or if agents are driving them away because they’re not adhering to best practices).

Consider adding virtual agents to the mix

Virtual agents are sophisticated software that follows certain rules to provide answers to customer questions. They use natural language processing (a branch of AI) to read, understand, and derive meaning from human language.

Unlike a chatbot, which can only respond to simple questions and scans customer questions for phrases, a virtual agent can understand what a customer says and grasp their intent to provide meaningful, personalized responses.

Why might you consider adding virtual agents to your contact center? Virtual agents never need to take a break; they’re always on-call. Moreover, they can handle a number of interactions at once, while an agent can’t juggle many conversations successfully.

Virtual agents aren’t meant to replace agents, but they supplement them. When a virtual agent encounters a situation it can’t handle, it will pass the interaction off to a human.

Offer a better customer experience with RingCentral’s live chat

RingCentral’s live chat allows agents to deliver an excellent customer experience. It provides the right training tools, collaboration resources, access to information, analytics, and monitoring capabilities. To learn more, get a demo.

Originally published Jul 26, 2021, updated Jun 20, 2024

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