Wise-up to Web Chat

Posted by Sam George

Web chat has been one of the most rapidly adopted contact centre technologies of recent years.  According to Dimension Data’s 2013 Global Benchmarking Report, it supports customer service in 30.7% of organisations and sales in 29.7%.  And the number is rising fast.  Here are out tips for getting the most out of web chat in your organisations, replacing casual chatter with purposeful conversations that deliver positive results.

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 Don’t compromise quality. 

Most organisations introduce web chat to reduce costs, on the basis that it enables agents to manage several conversations simultaneously as opposed to just one on the phone. That’s true, but we advocate a maximum of three concurrent calls to avoid deterioration in the customer experience. Customers expect their conversations – online just as in person – to have pace and will quickly spot if your agent is distracted by other conversations or struggling to keep up.

Integrate to the knowledgebase

Using technology to enable your agents to respond quickly will help too.  Integrate your chat engine to your knowledge base so that, as your customer is typing his question or comment, relevant responses are already being pushed to your agent.

Make the link

Use link generator technologies to allow agents to compile customer specific information packages that can be delivered via a single URL to the customer. It makes it  easier for your agents to deliver a personal service fast.

Be proactive

 It’s not good enough any more just to post a chat option on your web page and hope people will click it.  Offer chat proactively at points where it will make a difference;  when your customer is obviously struggling to complete a task, is dithering over two purchase options or struggling to complete a transaction at the checkout.  Use analytics to determine where your chat invitations are having the greatest positive impact on customer behavior.

Get out of the can

 Any web chat operation will make use of ‘canned responses’; a library of agreed replies to  questions or comments that recur again and again.  Its fine, but don’t use them slavishly. Encourage chat agents to edit and personalise as they go, creating the energy and responsiveness of ‘real’ conversation.

Go social

Increasingly companies are placing web chat options on their social media sites.  It allows conversations you don’t want to have in public to be easily escalated to a private channel  without any inconvenience for the customer.

Think out of the box

Contact centre agents aren’t the only people who can chat.  We use it to bring specialists – from technicians to dieticians or doctors – into direct conversation with customers.  Use the agent as the gateway to navigate to appropriate subject matter experts in your organisation.