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In this article, we look at one way you can scale your customer support while keeping costs low and still delivering an outstanding customer experience.
If you were a customer, what would you want your customer service experience to be like? One that’s memorable– for all of the right reasons. You would want a support experience that’s positive, helpful, and gets the job done quickly and well.
It should be no surprise that this is the support experience your customers want as well. But how can you craft this sort of experience? In this article, we’ll show you how to achieve this with the power of live chat.
Now don’t get us wrong– we understand that phone calls and emails can be the very heart of customer support. So we’re not suggesting that those things go away, but we are suggesting that those things (like any channel) have their limitations. By incorporating live chat within your existing customer support mix, you’re expanding your ability to help customers in various ways as quickly as possible.
Live chat is an additional channel you can use to connect with your customers and help alleviate some of the volume from other support channels such as emails, phone calls, support tickets, etc.
The idea to include live chat in your company’s support mix isn’t anything new– but it has become more expected than ever in the last few years as customer behaviours have shifted.
What do major software giants like Apple, Google, and Spotify all have in common? You guessed it– they’re all using live chat as a primary pillar of their customer support strategy. And for good reason… This is what consumers have come to expect over the last few years.
People are buying more things online than ever– things they used to reserve strictly for brick-and-mortar stores like clothing, food, and even larger ticket items such as jewellery and mattresses. And to take things a step further, clients are making decisions more rapidly and buying things more quickly than ever. For this reason alone you need to make sure your support solutions can match the pace of your customer’s expectations.
Now more than ever, if your customers have an issue, they’re going to grab their phones and attempt to find a solution. When you have live chat on your site, your customers can get the attention they desire immediately, and not have to worry about finding a phone number or emailing you. As you can see, a carefully crafted customer service experience all starts with availability.
A major shift in consumer expectations has been when they expect your business to be open and available to serve them. Now, potential customers expect you to be available 24/7 at their convenience. Do you have the staff and budget to stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet customer demand? With live chat, you absolutely can– and without breaking the bank.
When your main channels of customer support are phone calls and emails, it can create a bottleneck. These are powerful support tools but can be challenging to scale. So what is the solution? Well, you can still keep your phone and email channels active and functioning– but by adding live chat you can save costs and give customers immediate attention.
One thing to keep in mind - what’s worse than no support? Bad support. Simply “having live chat” isn’t enough– if you implement a solution that isn’t top quality, you’re going to harm your customer support reputation. Here are some things to consider when implementing either live chat, a chatbot– or a hybrid of both– into your customer support mix.
A poorly set up chatbot can be more frustrating than no support at all. Unless you take the time to set it up properly and fine-tune your chatbot, it can cause customers to go in circles, get the wrong information, or get fed up and leave the site without solving their issue.
Taking the time to set up a chatbot with a seamless, intuitive flow will allow it to handle many frequently asked questions and other basic inquiries, leaving your agents to handle the people who truly need help.
Also remember: Chatbots should never be ‘set it and forget it.’ It’s crucial that you periodically test and retest the user journey that is being delivered by your chatbot. Your customers are constantly evolving, so your chatbot must also evolve to keep up.
Before you let your agents talk directly to your customers, one thing that is commonly missed is not giving them the correct training. Many strong communicators on the phone or in person can fall short when trying to translate those skills using live chat.
This is no fault of their own, they simply need the training to elevate their strong communication skills on the live chat channel. When your agents are well-trained in language, spelling, and proper communication, it can elevate your brand's appearance. The opposite is also true, however: if you deliver typos, terse wording, or poor language skills, you risk making any issues the customer had worse and damage your brand’s reputation.
This approach is great when it comes to scaling your live chat. By using a chatbot to handle the most common and basic questions, you can have an agent step in when that solution falls short, or the customer needs something more individual or uncommon.
The trickiest part of this mix, however, is knowing when to transition. When should you shift from chatbot to live agent? What’s too soon (wasting agent’s time), and what’s too late (losing customers who have grown frustrated)? It’s more of an art than a science– but it should be backed by data.
One key tip is to review your current customer journey and see how people are behaving with the chatbot. Also, make sure your FAQs are up to date, and all of your site information is current and correct– this will give you a good indication of where that sweet spot between chatbot and live agent is.
And if you’re still struggling to find that all-important sweet spot, here at The Chat Shop, we’d be happy to give your chatbot a look and make some recommendations.
One of the strongest benefits of live chat is its ability to engage multiple customers at the same time. While phone and email are powerful tools, they require an agent’s full attention, and can only be completed one request at a time.
Live chat is a fluid and dynamic channel that allows for multiple conversations to occur at once– for a seasoned live chat agent, that is. A seasoned live agent can have multiple chats going at once. In addition, you can even pre-load some popular (and well-written) “canned responses” that veteran agents can use to save time during conversations. These can be handy when certain language or other customer behaviour is occurring that tips the agent off to what their issues might be.
Some examples could be phrases like:
“Oh, I see you’re looking at our shipping FAQ. Can I answer anything for you?”
“Hi, there! I’m sorry you’re having a negative experience. Let me take a look at that for you personally.”
“Can you provide me with your order number and address, please? I’ll look that up right now.”
As you can see, these responses are professional, helpful, and don’t feel like they’re “canned”-- but can save a lot of time typing out common responses. And remember: you can always add more as time goes on and customers exhibit different behaviours.
If your role is to ensure the best customer service and support possible, hopefully, you’ve found this article useful in your journey. Here at The Chat Shop, we specialise in helping Customer Experience Managers, Customer Success Managers, Customer Support Managers– and everything in between– hit their customer support metrics.
Whether you're building your brand in the early stages, or you’re a global PLC– you can lean into our years of experience. Let our expert team help deliver the customer support journey that customers expect and deserve.
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