Chat popularity continues to increase due to customers’ preferences for immediacy and convenience. According to ICMI research, more than half of the customers surveyed prefer to interact with companies via live chat and another study by Econsultancy showed the top two reasons were multitasking purposes and the ability to shop while they work.
Global Response, an operator of U.S.-based outsourced call centers, is witnessing a similar rise in the popularity of chat with almost half of its brands implementing the chat function or increasing staff to support need. As an experienced partner, Global Response recommends a few key elements to optimize your customers’ experience through this channel.
- Determine your chat strategy: Reactive, Proactive, or Both: Deciding on where and how to connect with your customers is fundamental for the overall customer experience. A Forrester research study shows that investment in reactive chat – triggered per user request – produces a return on investment (ROI) of 15%, while an additional investment in proactive chat capabilities – which are initiated manually or automatically when website user behaviors trigger preset rules – will produce an incremental 105% ROI. VP of Operations at Global Response, Steve D., says “customers won’t find chat as easy to use if they encounter a problem and do not know where the option to chat is. Proactive chat can facilitate for immediate resolutions at the right time in the process. You can set the business rules that will trigger the chat, designing it to be there for the Customer just in time.”
- Document the process: Once you have determined the overall strategy, the work to align the team and identify process gaps begins. Global Response leadership will assist you in mapping your chat journey and recording the standard operating procedures (SOPs). These materials will help the team determine the types of inquiries best suited for chat versus those that should be routed to alternative channels. For instance, a customer who is in-cart, experiencing a coupon issue can find resolution quickly via an efficient chat, while contacts involving sensitive information or lengthy explanation may be better served via phone.
- Educate yourself on developing technology: There has been a lot of conversation about AI and the use of chatbots in text-based service channels. Both are a great automation options to filter traffic, free up your resources and, ultimately, save money, but do they best suit your needs and culture? Properly developed AI can increase effectiveness by defining the types of inquiries that can be resolved by a chatbot or will require manual intervention. It is, also important to ensure that your chatbot responses do not discourage customers to seek total resolution. Global Response can provide the monitoring and reporting to protect brand voice, professionalism, and efficiency.
- Realign Quality Assurance to chat: Review and adapt your Quality Assurance procedures to consider chat specificities, such as target response times, professionalism, how to communicate hold times, response length and how to show empathy. As a Stella Service Elite chat provider, Global Response fully understands how to audit the channel for specific procedure and overall experience. Kurt U., VP of Operations at Global Response, highlights the importance of adapting the language used when handling a chat; “word choices have to portray your soft skills. It is important to use empathy statements during chat interactions, even more than on the phone, where you have other ways to demonstrate empathy.”
Chat interactions designed to be dynamic from beginning to end will provide customers with an unparalleled experience. Undoubtedly, offering chat support contributes to customer democracy – especially accommodating to millennials and international customers who may not be able to reach you via phone. Partnering with Global Response to adopt chat will prove to increase revenue and improve the customer experience – putting you ahead of the game.