There’s no doubt that telephone remains a stalwart customer service channel. Many consumers still prefer to call companies for support, particularly when the + Read More
If you’ve ever asked somebody to describe their customer support experience with a company’s call center, there’s a good chance they started their answer with a heavy sigh.
As many as 66% of customers are frustrated before they even start talking with a customer service representative on the phone. The reasons behind this are endemic within many call centers – long waiting times, endless phone transfer tag, and of course the dreaded Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menu are often unavoidable when picking up the phone to speak to your average call center.
For any organization concerned with providing good customer experiences, that’s a real problem. All of this creates low customer satisfaction, and low customer satisfaction means churn – as much as 49% people reported switching to a competitor because of bad customer service. All because your well-meaning call center just happened to operate in a way that customers tend to hate.
But it is possible to improve customer service and shake the stereotype, through tweaking processes and allowing technology, like live chat, to deliver service in ways that customers prefer. Here some of the ways that chat can help.
The invention of IVR revolutionized the way call centers handled customer queries. While IVR was groundbreaking in the 80s, technology now gives us opportunities to modernize it, automate it, and take it digital.
Instead of requiring the customer to do the heavy lifting, what if the technology was smart enough to automatically route their query based on attributes it automatically mapped to each customer, ensuring that each customer gets through to the right person with minimal effort on their part? That’s exactly how routing in live chat works.
You can set custom criteria for different types of visitors in your live chat agent console, such as the landing page they arrive on, or the number of times they’ve visited your site before. Chats can then be routed to the most qualified agent based on these criteria. A prospect who is on the pricing page and is a net new customer can be assigned to a different agent compared to a returning customer who’s looking around in the FAQs of your website.
It is 3x more expensive to handle and escalate a customer query than to resolve it on the first point of contact. Routing queries to the most qualified agent in the first instance saves customers the effort of repeatedly explaining their issue to different agents – and increases your First Call Resolution (FCR) rate, no phone transfer tag required. Not all live chat providers offer fully customizable routing capabilities, but the ones who do give your agents an advantage while simultaneously reducing effort for customers.
And it’s been shown that reducing customer effort is one of the most important factors in increasing customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers who get expert answers with low to no effort are much more likely to come back over frustrated ones. Eliminating the need for clunky IVRs and slow manual transfers can play a huge part in making customers happier and allowing them to receive support which feels more automatic, intuitive, and more closely aligned to their needs and expectations.
High call volumes and long waiting times can reduce customer satisfaction before a customer even connects to an agent. In fact, only 28% of customers call customer service as their first attempt to solve a problem – most will explore any other avenue to avoid making that call.
With other traditional channels of support, like the phone, agents can only handle one query at a time. Live chat lets support agents handle as many as 3 to 5 queries at once, helping more customers, and reducing wait times. Since many call centers are facing higher call volumes of increasing complexity, providing agents with the tools they need to efficiently handle customer inquiries can ensure that those queries can be handled efficiently without needing to increase headcount.
Efficiencies can also be gained through the features built into the live chat software itself. With live chat, agents get a wealth of tools at their disposal to make help them handle queries more effectively. Automatic greetings, canned messages, shortcuts, and customer histories at-a-glance mean that customer inquiries can be answered with accuracy and precision.
Customer support is tough enough without having to defuse unnecessarily irate customers, who might have not been annoyed at the point they got on the phone but certainly will be after having been forced to listen to the same hold music on a loop for an age. When a customer is able to get speedy service and a quick response to their question, your chances of ensuring that customer walks away happy are so much higher. Your agents will certainly be thanking you too.
Modern customers expect easy service on their terms, and with intense competition in many industries, they’re all too happy to walk away to a competitor if they don’t receive it. Customer experience is truly a differentiator for many businesses, who recognise that giving customers the gift of convenience with an easy, frictionless customer experience is paramount to securing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Live chat provides digital answers for digital audiences, since as many as 57% of customers start online when looking for answers to their questions. In this way, adding chat to your call center ecosystem helps your business meet your customers on the channels they prefer. This allows you to build bridges with customers who hate phoning call centers, giving them a welcome alternative to allow them to receive service instantly, easily, and conveniently.
And remember to do your homework when you’re adding live chat to your contact center technology stack! Ask yourself first, are you using it for sales, support, or marketing? Which live chat vendor fits your requirements the best? How will you deploy it and maintain it going forward? Live chat isn’t a set it and forget it tool, make sure you have a comprehensive plan in your back pocket to maximize benefits for your contact center.
There’s no need to embody the 1980s stereotype of the inconvenient, difficult and unfriendly call center any longer. Embrace digital convenience and make more customers happier by adding live chat to your call center ecosystem.
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