Live Chat – Lots to Love, But How to Choose?

Live chat is an essential customer experience channel. 53% of customers say they would prefer to use online chat before calling a company for support. Customers love live chat for the immediate response time, personalized one-on-one messaging, and ease of use. Companies also benefit from this highly accessible channel. These benefits can include higher customer satisfaction levels, increased agent efficiency, and even increased top-line revenue. A win-win situation for the visitors, business, and even agents, there’s lots to love about live chat.

But with so much choice out there, how can you tell which one will be the best fit? Before you start shortlisting live chat vendors – or even if you currently have a live chat vendor – ensure you take the time to lay out your business requirements and what features your live chat solution would need to tick all those checkboxes. Here’s what you need to be considering.

Secure chat

Security should be at top of your list when considering vendors. Any software vendor, not just live chat, can say they have security policies in place to protect your data. But how many can provide you with truly secure chat? Your live chat vendor should have policies and practices that address all your security concerns, including but not limited to:

  1. Compliance: Has your live chat provider dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s? Are they compliant with, or have the appropriate certifications for the standards specific to your industry? For example, if your company is in the healthcare industry consider choosing a HIPAA compliant live chat vendor to keep your ePHI data safe and secure.
  1. Downtime: Being plagued by constant downtime prevents you from being able to take full advantage of live chat. Consider whether your live chat provider has a history of being plagued by repeated downtime through their maintenance pages and avoid those that don’t have a guaranteed uptime policy.
  1. Disaster Recovery: – Is your live chat vendor prepared in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise? Unfortunate circumstances can and will happen, the question is how will your live chat vendor ensure that your data is protected? Choose a solution with an extensive disaster recovery policy so your data will never be lost.

A secure live chat software provider should have world-class data centers, stringent disaster recovery processes, and rigid security standards. When choosing a vendor, consider an enterprise-grade live chat application, with security features that perform at the top of the industry, so you know you’ll be getting quality and secure live chat services.

Why your customers will love secure chat: Your customers will be able to perform secure transactions knowing that their data is safe, and even in some instances, never stored on a hidden database. Security builds customer trust and loyalty – allowing queries to be quickly resolved worry-free from any potential breaches of sensitive personal information.

Expert answers through routing chats

How often have you placed a support call only to be told that you would have to be transferred to a different department to achieve a resolution? When asked what annoys them the most, 37% of customers mentioned that “being passed around”, or being transferred from agent to agent, was a major pain point. Being transferred from department to department is a point of contention for both customers and agents. Transferring calls takes time away from agents through the need to manually route the customer to the correct department.

Although Interactive Voice Response (IVR) has the capability to route inquiries, it still requires manual input on the user end. Queries from IVR may also potentially still require transferring if the user does not know which department their inquiry belongs to. An enterprise-level live chat tool should have powerful routing capabilities matching the customer to the right agent and the right time.

Unlike IVR, live chat can automatically route website visitors based on customizable parameters such as region, language, and even which webpage they’re currently viewing. Companies can route visitors not only by demographics and firmographics, but also by stage of the buyer’s journey. Instead of being passed around back and forth, your customers can get the expert answers they need, no manual guessing needed.

Why your customers will love routing: A great customer experience is more likely when a customer is sent to the right agent. Routing chats enables quicker response times so customers don’t need to wait too long to have their question or issue to be addressed. Quicker response times and expert answers make for happier customers.

Reporting capabilities

Powerful reporting capabilities are a must for any live chat solution. Being able to understand, what the workload, queue length, agent status, and so on are is crucial for managers to gain visibility into their team’s performance. When choosing your live chat vendor, take a close look at their reporting capabilities, and if they match up with your required customer support metrics. Some reporting capabilities to consider are:

  1. Real-time reporting: This gives you a quick, comprehensive dashboard view of your live chat activity. Metrics include how many agents are currently chatting, where your agent performance is at, and even what your current support efficiencies are. This data is updated in real time, so you can keep an eye on your most important metrics and take immediate action if needed.
  1. Customer analytics: Being able to see your current customer satisfaction levels is crucial to any customer service team. This report gives companies insight into what is working, what is not working, and provides tangible data that can be used for support training.
  1. Chat analytics: Unlike traditional support channels, live chat allows your agents to service multiple customers at once. Reports on agent metrics like chat volume can help you monitor agent efficiency and identify high and low chat periods to adjust staff deployments accordingly. Preparing for peaks and valleys in chat volume ensures that customers don’t wait, your agents can handle the chats in the queue, and you don’t bust your budget.

Why your customers will love reporting: Being able to see historical data on visitors gives you tangible metrics to improve your customer service processes and follow up with customers that may have been dissatisfied for one reason or another. On the other hand, seeing interactions in real-time can help prevent issues before they arise. Solving customer issues before they escalate will keep your customers satisfied and less likely to walk away from a chat unhappy.

Integrations

Live chat should never be a stand-alone system – its power comes from synthesizing and making available key information that agents can use to their advantage. Whether that’s linking up your Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) to further contextualize a chat with a website visitor or integrating with your social platforms to provide support across all your channels, live chat should work with your existing tech ecosystem and not in isolation. Consider what systems you currently have and how live chat should integration with those systems. A few examples below are:

  1. CRM: Integrating live chat with a CRM like Salesforce.com can give you a holistic view of your website visitors. You can easily whether a website visitor is a prospect or current customer, and what touchpoints they’ve gone through. With these insights you can tailor your messages to that visitor according to your interaction history, providing a more personalized customer experience.
  1. API: Businesses often have complex tech ecosystems, which require unique integrations to ensure that everything works in harmony and makes the organization smarter and faster. Live chat vendors with powerful APIs allow you to share data seamlessly between third-party systems for smoother, quicker workflows through customized integrations.
  1. Social: Offering customer support through social lets businesses be where many of their customers are. However, with so many platforms out there, it’s easy for agents to miss a message. By centralizing all your digital support channels on one platform, your agents will have instant visibility and your customers won’t be kept waiting.

Why your customers will love integrations: With customer information and history at their fingertips, agents can tailor the customer experience accordingly instead of giving general responses. Addressing if a customer has ongoing issues or even giving a personalized greeting can vastly improve customer satisfaction.

Live Chat: Lots to Love, but Choose Carefully

Live chat can boost customer satisfaction dramatically while increasing agent efficiency and reducing customer service costs. As a direct customer touch point, it’s important to fully understand what you should be looking for. Consider all the points above during your search – or even if you currently have a live chat provider, consider whether you are maximizing live chat ROI or if you need to think about switching to a vendor with more robust capabilities.

Free Download: How to Choose the Best Live Chat Software: A Buyer's Guide

Free Download: How to Choose the Best Live Chat Software: A Buyer's Guide

Once you’ve decided to provide live chat support on your website, the next step is live chat software review. Our buyer’s guide can be a great tool to save evaluation costs and help you make well informed decision on which live chat solution is the best one for your business.

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About Lisa Dimyadi

Lisa is the Content Marketing Specialist at Comm100. She is passionate about writing, content creation and project management. In her spare time you can find her taking online courses or planning community events. Connect with her on LinkedIn.