Customer Experience (CX) is rapidly evolving due to higher competitiveness among businesses. Companies need all the competitive advantages they can get in order to be successful. However, finding a competitive advantage through their products and services alone has become impossible.
41% of consumers prefer live chat to connect with the support teams and have the highest consumer satisfaction rate at 92%.
Leveraging digital communication channels like live chat allows businesses to connect instantly with customers and address their queries. By implementing a live chat strategy, you can improve customer service communication that enhances the experience and develops strong relationships with 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 problems customers encounter is the 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 them and send proactive chat triggers based on their journey and deliver an effortless customer experience.
Implementing live chat as part of the overall customer communication strategy can help businesses across key business functions.
Sales and lead generation
Lead generation is vital for all businesses, particularly for the small business. According to the Forrester report, “Live chat use among customers has escalated substantially in the past few years.” 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 return on investment (ROI). The quicker and better is your customer service, you will have more repeat customers and generate more sales. Online chat tool reduces the wait time of the website visitors and enhances the customer experience.
- Shortened sales process: Proactive chat sessions with the target leads, helps in addressing their sales-related queries in real time and encourages customers in making quick sales decisions. Using live chat for sales allows sales reps to assist customers in their journey and push them to make a final purchase.
Customer support and engagement
As per the Econsultancy report, “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 product & customer support determines the success of your business. One of the best ways to deliver an excellent customer experience is to provide real time assistance by automating help 24×7 with live chat for customer support.
- Highly operational efficiency: Live chat software with high operational efficiency when compared with reactive channels like phone or email, empowers agents to handle multiple conversations 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 collaborating with the customer in real 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 satisfying customer support and valuable knowledge.
9 Effective 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
Identifying your core business requirements is vital for implementing a live chat strategy. Evaluating the objectives and the use cases of live chat software helps in making the deployment successful. Your support 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?
- What kind of training is required for your employees to deliver the right support?
Having a thorough understanding of the above will help to understand your customer’s preferences and the right 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 businesses, you will be able to get the upper hand and deliver proactive assistance whenever needed.
2. Define KPIs to measure RoI
Outlining the key performance indicators (KPIs) is important as it helps businesses to understand if they are able to meet customer expectations and measure customer satisfaction scores. The metrics also help to measure agent performance in terms of how they are handling customer conversations. Also, the live chat KPIs help businesses to calculate the cost and RoI associated with the online chat support.
Here are the key metrics & 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.
- First Contact Resolution (FCR): First contact resolution helps to measure customer satisfaction and contact center efficiency. Higher the FCR, the happier the customers. For the average call center, an alarming 41% of customers are not able to resolve the inquiry or problem on the first contact. Lower the FCR means your team is not efficient and wasting efforts on useless processes.
- Cost per successful chat: 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.
- Visitors to 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. Studies show that live chat contributes 30% approximately in the conversion rate. Customers prefer the live chat option and it helps them in making buying decisions.
3. Selecting the right live chat platform
Customers expect faster responses to their queries and delay in response can risk your business to the competitors.
Hence, adding the best live chat tool helps to communicate with your customers. Live chat app not only adds another dimension to customer experience but also increases your sales by making your visitors into buyers. However, choosing the right live chat platform actually depends on your business requirements.
Here are some key criteria to look for while considering the live chat strategy.
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 a seamless customer experience. Omnichannel service reduces your customer’s pain points and omits inconsistencies in your customer support.
“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 a 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. Support training as a part of live chat strategy
A well-planned live chat strategy enhances the customer experience and increases conversion rates. But your efforts might go to 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:
- The 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 your support team. Upgrade the knowledge bases and inform the agents about the same.
5. Define internal processes wisely
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 for the team lead or management?
Properly defining the above areas will help to deliver a 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.
According to Gartner, “Customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.”
Key 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 the best of both worlds, better performance and lower costs.