For a stellar example of a company that knows how to efficiently utilize its personnel, look no further than your local Apple Store. At any point, Apple employees who are in charge of activating iPhone accounts are expected to be able to simultaneously activate four to six different iPhones while also explaining the set-up to the customers.
Not only is this an impressive display of expertise, but it’s a highly efficient use of employee time. Rather than paying numerous employees to activate one iPhone at a time (or having customers wait impatiently in the store), a single Apple “Genius” is effectively turned into four to six employees.
While this approach works well for Apple, this level of efficiency is difficult for organizations to reach through traditional means of customer service. Live chat allows sales and support teams to leverage the same kind of employee efficiency, reducing staffing costs and resulting in more capable agents.
Businesses that switch to live chat report having a 9.3 times greater agent utilization rate over businesses that don’t. This is because with live chat, a single sales or customer service representative can handle up to four live chat interactions at the same time. Unlike email responses or phone calls – where only one can be answered at a time – live chat allows one employee to close multiple cases simultaneously. The result is not only increased sales – but savings in the form of less expensive customer care (live chat results in an average of 2.6 times more annual savings in customer care costs).
Agent’s chat console showing current chats on the left
How can you make this happen?
In addition to employee training, live chat gives you a wealth of tools to make answering queries fast and accurate. Automatic greetings, canned responses, typing indicators, shortcuts, and well-crafted and tested scripts mean that customer inquiries can be answered not only through simultaneous chats but also with accuracy and precision. You won’t need three phone agents or two email representatives. You’ll just need one, welltrained, well-prepared chat agent.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When you launch your live chat program, take the time to develop a comprehensive list of canned answers to common questions to improve agent efficiency. Begin by using your existing customer service email or phone data to compile a list of the most frequently asked questions. Then organize those questions into groups that have common themes. Finally, recruit your best customer service representatives or team leaders to craft “one-size-fits-all” answers to those questions. You can then train individual live chat agents on how to use the right canned responses for each question, and give all agents easy access to canned responses. For the best results, be sure that you also train agents on when not to use canned messages (not every query will fit a one-size-fits-all response scheme), and to prioritize quality, personalized service over speed.