Live chat is a technology that is all about making customers happy. Far from being a “backroom” application, live chat should be front and center as a powerful customer touch point for your business. According to McKinsey, “Done well, it can represent a paradigm shift in customer satisfaction.”
According to Zendesk, “In the last 5 years, the number of U.S. online shoppers who used live chat increased from 38% to 58%.“ And amazingly, “Live chat drives the highest customer satisfaction” – bar none. Better than phone, better than email, better than web forms.
Happy customers come back. And they tell their friends about your company.
Happy employees tend to do a better job.
The return on investment (ROI) on live chat is fast.
With so much to love about live chat, what should you look for in a live chat solution?
Live chat adoption is growing by leaps and bounds. If your company isn’t using live chat yet, now is the time to explore.
Because live chat is a direct customer touch point, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of live chat solutions. In these days of social media, one customer’s unhappy interaction can be amplified far beyond a single person.
Choosing the right solution requires evaluating a number of factors. Here’s what to expect from the best solutions out there.
Easy to get up and running. Minimum system requirements.
Live chat should never be a stand-alone system – its power comes from synthesizing and making available key information that chat agents can share with customers when they need it. From your Customer Relationship Management system to your social media platforms, integration should be fast and easy. See how Comm100’s integration and plugins help you in this regard.
As a customer touch point, a live chat solution should reinforce your company’s branding. Make sure it’s easy to get the look and feel you want in your chat windows and messages.
According to Mobile Commerce Daily, 51% of visits to retail websites in 2014 were made on mobile devices, and that percentage is growing. Live chat needs to work where your customers are.
If your business is global, or perhaps multilingual, it saves time and reduces errors to speak the same language. See how Comm100’s built-in auto chat translation helps you in this regard.
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Your live chat should enable agents to share pictures and links, or provide remote desktop access as appropriate.
A great customer experience is more likely when a customer is sent to the right agent. Live chat has the smarts to make this happen. See how comm100’s chat routing makes it painless for customers to find the right agent.
Peaks and valleys in chat volume should be appropriately staffed. This ensures that customers don’t wait, your agents can handle the chats in the queue, and you don’t bust your budget.
Live chat should allow managers to see, moment to moment, what the workload, queue length, agent status, and so on are. It also should allow supervisors to monitor individual chats and intervene – whether for training purposes or to de-escalate a customer situation. See how Comm100’s Real Time Report helps your management monitor the live chat performance..
No company has a crystal ball, and predicting chat volume is an inexact science. Live chat solutions should offer lots of options for backup servers to kick in and for back-up chat agents to be tapped as needed.
Senior agents can handle multiple chats, while a new agent may handle one at a time. Research shows that agents who handle fewer chats at once receive higher customer satisfaction scores.
You want data that is both detailed enough and aggregated enough to inform decision-making. The specific reports vary by business, but typically you’ll look for reports on:
Your customers never sleep, so your live chat shouldn’t either. Industry standard uptime is 99.9%.The following table shows how a seemingly small difference in uptime can make a big difference to your users and customers.
|Availability||Total Annual Downtime|
|99%||15 hours, 36 minutes|
|99.9%||8 hours, 45 minutes, 36 seconds|
|99.99%||52 minutes, 33 seconds|
|99.999%||5 minutes, 15 seconds|
Also ask if their downtime includes scheduled maintenance time. If it isn’t included, you can expect longer downtime than what is listed in the table.
It goes without saying that the system should be a good value. Live chat scales up and down easily in sync with your business. And most live chat systems pay for themselves within months.
Live chat captures customer data, and that data should be protected from both external hacks and inappropriate staff access. See how Comm100’s security technology helps you in this regard.
Live chat is different from phone support. They are overlapping skillsets, but live chat agents need knowledge, plus fast typing skills, plus proper “etiquette” online to have a truly great customer interaction. Invest in your chat agents with training. A good live chat vendor will help you make that transition successfully.
Live chat is a key “face” of your business to a customer. If it goes down, you want fast answers and a quick return to service. Know the vendor’s service level agreement (SLA) on this, and check with existing customers to verify that the vendor keeps its commitments.
All software needs to change over time. Whether your business needs a new interface, or a new feature suddenly becomes a “must-have”, your live chat software needs to grow and evolve with the business. Talk to your vendor about their product plans.
Live chat can’t solve all your business challenges. But it can raise customer satisfaction dramatically while reducing customer service costs and empowering your people. How many other systems can say that?
As one small business CEO said, when asked about his return on investment (ROI) for live chat, “I wish I could say we even thought about it; we didn’t. It’s an absolute necessity.“
He went on to say, “Customers are like family to us. With live chat, they can always get through easily. When they click on the chat icon, they are talking to us immediately.”
If those imperatives drive your business as well, then live chat offers “a lot to love” for your company and your customers!
The buyer’s guide teaches you exactly how to choose the live chat software that is right for your business. The guide contains 50 frequently asked questions that you can ask any live chat provider and a list of 144 features advanced live chat solutions usually provide.Download Now