Customer Experience (CX) is rapidly evolving due to higher competitiveness among businesses. Companies need all the competitive advantage they can get in order to be successful. However, finding the competitive advantage through their product and service alone has become impossible. By implementing live chat strategy the customer experience can be improved, as the customers can bring to the fore an advantage that will help them in creating better relationships with their own customers.
Why live chat strategy is important?
Customer service can be challenging at times. Usually, the customers face a lot of challenges in their buying journey. One of the first common problem customers encounter is long resolution time for their queries. Many customers lose their temper because they are being switched between departments. Sometimes a customer might receive a faulty product and the complaint is not accepted.
Live chat tool is the preference of customers as it helps to communicate with the support agent in real time via the chat window. Customer service representatives can provide support to users who have questions regarding products or website navigation.
Unlike reactive support like email or phone, the proactive live chat support enables you to see the activity of the user on the website. You can reach out to your customers pro-actively, means you can get proactive about moving customers through the buyer journey, answering common queries, and delivering an effortless customer experience.
Implementing live chat part of overall customer communication strategy can help business with
For sales and lead generation – Lead generation is vital for all businesses, particularly for the small business. Forrester report states that live chat use among customers has escalated substantially in the past few years, from 38% in 2009, to 43% in 2012, and to 65% in 2015. These growing numbers indicate that more and more customers are visiting company websites via live chat.
- Convert website visitors into leads: Live chat is an excellent way to maximize leads and optimize ROI. The quicker and better is your customer service, you will have more repeat customers and of course generate more sales. Chat tool reduces the wait time of the website visitor and enhances the customer experience.
- Shortened sales process: With the help of proactive chat sessions you can target your leads who may need to ask a question about a product/price for a push to make a final purchase. Live chat for sales strengthens the bonds between the company and its audience, thus generating more leads and improving customer loyalty.
For customer support and engagement – Econsultancy reports show that customers applaud the advantage of being able to use live chat without committing a huge chunk of time and priority to the task. The quality of your product or customer support determines the success of your business. One of the best ways to engage and deliver customer experience is to provide real-time assistance and automate help 24×7 with live chat for customer support.
- Highly operational efficiency: A chat software with high operational efficiency when compared with other channels like phone or email, chat agents can handle a minimum of 5 to maximum 10 customers at the same time.
- Reduce customer support costs: Online chat tools not only reduce your operating costs but also increases your revenue. It offers customizable routing capabilities, video chat, and co-browsing that allows to view and control the customer screen at the same time.
- Increase customer engagement: If your visitors can easily connect with you with queries and issues related to your product or service they are using, they will be more confident in your company and a source of satisfied customer support and valuable knowledge.
Steps to implement live chat strategy
There are a couple of key areas that need to be properly planned for successfully implementing the live chat strategy. Go through the points discussed below to get an idea about the important steps to be considered.
1. Evaluate your business needs
In order to understand how implementing live chat strategy can be useful, you need to first understand and evaluate the objectives and the use cases of live chat software. Your team should able to answer some of the following questions before you even start searching for the right solution.
- What are your customer’s expectations? Do they want to support the website or do they prefer support across multiple channels?
- What the objectives of implementing live chat? Is it for lead generation or customer support or both?
- How you are going to measure the KPIs?
- Who will be managing your live chat?
- What kind of training is required for your employees to deliver the right support?
Having an understanding of the above will help to understand your customer’s preferences and features you need in your live chat platform. An article by New York Times says – customers hesitate to ask for assistance first. With live chat for small business, you’re able to get the upper hand and deliver assistance whenever needed.
2. Define KPIs to measure ROI
Key performance indicators (KPIs) help businesses to understand and measure important metrics about
- Customer satisfaction ratings to understand if it meets the expectations of the customer
- Team and agent performance in terms of business metrics and conversations
- Cost and ROI associated with the live chat support
There are a couple of key metrics or KPIs you must track to review your live chat implementation in order to measure how profitable they have been in gaining the objectives.
- First response time (FRT): First response time refers to how long your agents take to make the first reply on a case. It helps to understand how agile the business is about customer communication. The high rate of first response time indicates that customers might switch for not getting any message so you have to keep your FRT as low as possible.
- Customer satisfaction ratings (CSAT): For every business customer satisfaction is the key ingredient. A CSAT score allows for a customized questionnaire so that we can go deep to find out different strengths and weaknesses and further seek the best way to make customers happy. Tips to measure customer satisfaction
- Make a plan, set goals
- Select survey trigger and time
- Analyze the survey data
- Check for adjustments
- First Contact Resolution (FCR): First call resolution helps to measure customer satisfaction and contact center efficiency. Higher the FCR, the happier the customers. A study by SQM Group published “For the average call center an alarming 41% of customers are not able to resolve the inquiry or problem on the first contact.” On the other hand, lower the FCR means your team is not efficient and wasting efforts on useless processes.
- Cost per successful chat/ conversation: As a business, you need to measure the ROI about how the resources and time you invested in terms of live chat, is helping your business. So how can you understand whether the live chat is implemented successfully or not?
Imagine you have an email support channel where on average you manage 100 emails per day and you have 3 full-time employees to answer the tickets.
Now, the same way, you can understand how many conversations are now moved to live chat and you can compare that with the reduction in terms of helpdesk tickets. So that will help you to estimate the cost per successful conversation before and after adding live chat as a primary communication channel.
- Visitors to leads/ sales conversion: Live chat is the ultimate tool to maximize sales conversion. It is a simple yet powerful way to bump your website conversions in real-time. There are many studies that show that live chat contributes 30% approximately in the conversion rate. Customers love live chat option and it helps them in making buying decisions.
- Live chat is quick and backed with a human touch so preferred more by customers.
- Maximum customer finds it perfect for troubleshooting.
- Enhances conversion rates and final sales.
- Customers choose live chat as the direct buying method.
- Delivers higher customer satisfaction and makes loyal customers.
3. Selecting the right live chat platform
Customers look for faster responses to their queries. Customers are very impatient these days and 90% of them want their questions to be answered within 10 minutes or less!
That is why it is now time to add a new channel to communicate with your users and customers and that is live chat strategy. Live chat app will not only add another dimension in customer experience but also it increases your sales by making your visitors into buyers. Finding the right live chat platform actually depends on your business requirements.
- Does it have an omnichannel platform?
Customers choose multiple platforms to communicate with you. They can contact you from web chat, social media, phone, email etc. and these touch points should be interconnected with your live chat platform for seamless customer experience. Omnichannel service reduces your customer’s pain points and omits inconsistencies in your customer support.
According to Aberdeen Group – the companies with good omnichannel customer engagement can retain 89% of customers, as compared to 33% companies that do not follow omnichannel customer engagement.
- Does your business provide real-time engagement?
Advanced technology and new marketing strategies have offered a number of ways to connect with the customers and deliver better customer service experience.
What if your website visitor is browsing the service or the pricing page?
Delivering real-time engagement through video chat or live chat guides the customer in the right way with his queries and help him to walk through the services and provide accurate information. Following real-time engagement benefits your company in several ways.
- Instant resolution of the customer queries
- Time-saving for the agent and the customer
- Simple and easy to use for the customer
- Raises chances of sales conversion
- Complete customer engagement and satisfaction
Do they provide ready integration with other business apps that you use?
Implement a live chat strategy that easily integrates with your CRM and other business services you use. Smooth integration is convenient and gets instant access to the required information right in a live chat. Live chat like Reve Chat, provides API that allows smooth integration with a large number of services.
There are a few other questions that need to be looked into while choosing the right live chat platform like – Do they have mobile apps? Does the live chat platform have access to API? And Should you go for an on-premise or cloud-based platform?
4. Train your team
A well-planned live chat strategy enhances the customer experience and increases the conversion rates. But your efforts might go waste if you don’t have a well-trained support team. Your customer depends upon your sales and support agents to possess product or service knowledge and have the ability to deliver the information in a quick yet pleasant manner.
What should companies focus on when training the support team?
Follow some tips that will help to take the benefit of the live chat to the brim.
- Soft skills training:
- Train your support agents to be patient and empathetic. Agents should use, for eg. “you are completely right”, “I agree with you” to give a special feeling to the customers and trust that their problem will be resolved.
- Being polite and gentle towards your customers will end up with positive results. Using courteous phrases like “Let me find out for you”, “I’m glad that was able to help you” always adds a wow effect.
- Product knowledge training:
- Customer support team should successfully handle inquiries and requests for support, product and service knowledge.
- When the products and services are upgraded, ensure that you acknowledge and advise to your support team. Upgrade the knowledge bases and inform the agents about the same.
5. Define internal processes
For planning a live chat strategy there are multiple things that need to be defined in order to deliver excellent customer service. You can define –
- How your team will handle questions which they don’t answer?
- Where your internal knowledge management system?
- How your team will escalate issues when a customer is angry?
- What intervals do the agents need to get updated with product knowledge or internal training?
- How your agents can prepare the weekly or monthly reports to the team lead or management?
Properly defining these areas will help to gain better customer experience.
6. Complement live chat with AI bots
Businesses both small or big can reap the advantage of chatbot implementation. With chatbots and automation, the live chat tools give you the ability to have live, dynamic, conversations even when the agent is not there at the end of the messenger. It helps in simple transactions, lead generation, sales, filtering of spam and more.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.
Benefits of chatbots along with the live chat tool
- Bots are handy in delivering 24×7 instant replies to the customers
- Chatbots can multiple chats at the same time
- Easily collect data from the chatbots and further retrain them
- Customers get feedback immediately
7. Focus on customer satisfaction
Customer experience is an imperative part of customer relationship management (CRM). A customer with a satisfied and positive customer experience with your business might become your loyal or repeat customer. Delivering better quality of service and reducing the response time helps in gaining better customer satisfaction.
There are different ways to check out what your customers are looking for or share their experience after using the product or service. You can implement chat surveys to collect feedback. This will help you to know the loopholes to fill and improve the areas that the customer is looking for. Planning to set an effective live chat strategy helps in complete customer satisfaction.
8. Define an incentive program to reward your team
Many companies have well-defined incentive programs for the sales and support team. A target is set by the company and the sales/support agent has to meet or cross the target to showcase his exceptional competencies. Rewards in form of money or title are given the best performer.
Here are a few examples:
- Give recognition to the employee who received maximum votes in a customer feedback survey.
- Start a “Great Customer Service Achievement email Award” on a monthly basis for the whole company acknowledging one employee with amazing performance.
- Start an internal award for customer satisfaction and encourage employees to nominate their friends whose work serves as an example for customers.
9. Regular calls with reporting
Live chat strategy implementation helps in reporting with the calls initiated by agents for customer service. You have to evaluate the customer conversations and communication on a regular basis to:
- Understand metrics: live chat helps to understand the customer journey.
- Follow-up things: With the help of the previous chat records follow-up can be made with the customers who have shown interest in the product or purchased the product.
Conclusion – The future road map of intelligent chat strategy
Planning a live chat strategy helps to achieve business objectives but you should also consider other key factors such as omnichannel, team management and internal training to get optimum results. With AI bots, live chat can become the most powerful channel to deliver sales and support assistance and also automating your routine tasks. So it’s best of both worlds, better performance and lower costs.