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how to choose live chat

Who Really Needs Assistance? Influencing the Choice to Live Chat

This is the third article in a four part series on creating a live chat strategy. 

Part 1: Why Live Chat? Developing Strategies & Goals

Part 2: What Do Online Consumers Want? Meeting Live Chat User Expectations

Part 4: How Are We Doing? Measuring Live Chat Effectiveness

While live chat has received accolades from customers as a quick and efficient way to communicate with companies and organizations, one question remains – Should we offer live chat to all of our customers for every reason or scenario? Now it sounds like a great idea, but is it the best option for both company and customer? Read on as we take a deeper look for answers.

Who’s Right for Live Chat?

When attempting to determine which customer inquiry or request is right for your live chat channel, here are a few things to consider:

  • The volume of customer interactions.
  • The value of each interaction type to your organization.
  • The complexity of the various customer interactions.

Let the journey begin!

Volume of Customer Interactions

When determining which customer is right for your live chat channel, it’s a good idea to get a handle on the number of customers currently utilizing all available communication channels. Take a look at the number of phone calls, calls initiated from your website, emails, SMS text messages, etc. that your organization is currently handling on a daily basis. Look at this exercise as a way to qualify candidates for live chat.

  • Why is the customer calling, initiating calls from the website, emailing, and texting?
  • What does the customer want or need assistance with? Examples of the interactions might be billing inquiries, support requests, address changes, password resets or subscription renewals.
  • What actions are taken to meet customer needs?

Break the analysis out by company departments. The answers to these questions will reveal your contact drivers. While this exercise may appear cumbersome, the payoff will be huge later when developing your live channel strategy. If this information is utilized properly, an increase in live chat customer satisfaction ratings will be the result as one looks to proactively deflect inquiries and requests that can be handled outside of the live chat channel. Another by-product of this analysis is the identification of operational improvement opportunities which may fall outside of the live chat channel spectrum.

Interaction Value

Now let’s determine how valuable each of these interactions is to your company. Create three value categories – low value, medium value and high value. The interaction reasons identified during your analysis should now be valued.

Ask these questions when attempting to determine interaction value:

  • Which customer inquiries require an immediate response from someone within the company?
  • How many of the inquiries are informational in nature, such that can possibly be handled by an artificial agent or web self-service?
  • Which inquiries are critical to building and or maintaining profitable customer relationships?

Here’s what the categories might look like when filled with inquiries:

High Value Medium Value Low Value
Support requests Billing inquiry Information request
Emails Address changes

Interaction Complexity

Customer interaction requests vary in their complexity. Some require a minimal amount of agent activity to address the request, while other requests may require more time and effort to assist customers. To put it simply, analyzing requests for complexity is an exercise to determine which requests require the most agent effort to service the customer.

Two questions one might ask are:

  • How much information will the agent need to retrieve to meet the customer’s need?
  • What level of agent expertise is required to handle a situation?

Just as we did when placing value on customer inquiries, we’ll do the same for complexity. Let’s create complexity categories – low complexity, medium complexity and high complexity. Using the same requests for the valuing example, let’s see what a typical complexity box might contain.

High Complexity Medium Complexity Low Complexity
Support requests Billing inquiry Information request
Billing inquiry Address changes

Right  for Chat

After taking the time to complete the exercises, one is more than likely able to decide which customers inquiries and requests are prime candidates for live chat. It’s easy to see that your high value/high complexity inquiries or requests will benefit from utilizing your live chat channel.

Here are a few tips for providing a great customer experience for these customers.

  • The high value/high complexity requires an experienced agent with solutions oriented information at the ready in order to provide a positive customer experience. Features such as your live chat knowledge base should contain the information required to handle this scenario. Combine this with the typing notification feature to assist live chat agents in preparing a solution as customers input information in order to provide a quick and accurate response.
  • Sales opportunities may create a high value/low complexity scenario where a customer has repeatedly made purchases with your company. Utilization of your live chat platform’s history feature will enable live chat agents to spot repeat customers.
  • Low value/low complexity requests should be tactfully directed to self-serve areas (directories, FAQs, etc.) of your Website by chat agents. This may assist in reducing future unnecessary chat requests.
  • Utilize the ability to proactively live chat with the customer when it’s evident by page visits that they may need assistance with a high complex issue.
  • Configure your live chat platform to activate the auto invitation feature when customers linger on or sequentially visit sales and or support oriented pages.
  • Strategically place chat buttons on sales and or support related website pages rather than all pages to decrease the level of low value/low complexity chat requests.
  • For customers with low value/low complexity inquiries/requests, provide a list of self-service options on your Contact Us or Need Assistance pages to deflect chat requests.
  • Live chat reporting capabilities will assist in identifying short sessions which may be an indicator of low value/low complexity request or inquiries creeping into the channel.

Recommended for you: 16 Live Chat Best Practices to Help You Deliver Superior Customer Service

At Comm100, we certainly encourage the use of our live chat product to assist companies with servicing those high value/high complexity inquiries and requests. While we know that it’s important to provide a great online customer experience, we also know that it’s important to insure that your live chat channel is an efficient customer communication channel. The analytical capabilities of our product will assist you in keeping those low value/low complexity requests and inquiries to minimum in order to get maximum output from your live chat channel.

Remember – Make sure that your live chat channel is tuned for high value/high complexity customer inquiries and requests. Start by determining the volume of interactions across all communication channels, assign an interaction value to request and inquiry types and develop interaction complexity levels in order to create an efficient live chat channel.

Download now: How to Create a Dynamic Live Chat Strategy

Download now: How to Create a Dynamic Live Chat Strategy

Whether you are looking to implement a live chat program or to find ways to make it more successful, you absolutely want to make informed decisions.

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Anna Zhang

About Anna Zhang

Anna Zhang heads product marketing in Comm100. She spends most of her day in finding ways to have more people benefit from Comm100's products. In her spare time, she likes learning new things and sharing with others. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.