managing live chat team


How to build, train and measure your customer service team for peak performance

The Ultimate Guide to Managing a Successful Live Chat Team

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The 9 KPIs You Need to Track

1. Number of chats

Here’s some good news: calculating the number of chats that your department has received is straight forward, and it can tell you a lot. You can analyze this metric by viewing your chat volume report.

Here are some things to look for when studying this metric:

  • How many chats are agents accepting as opposed to rejecting or passing to other agents? Consider what the numbers reveal about agent work ethic, confidence, and performance.
  • Is your live chat count lower or higher than what your company is aiming for? Ask yourself what changes could be made to your live chat experience to make your numbers go up or down. Consider how the visibility and placement of the live chat button may impact how many chats your company is receiving. If you want more customer engagement, make sure your website, email signatures, and other key contact points tell customers that they can live chat with you. You may also consider switching to a proactive live chat strategy.
  • What is your number of missed chats? This number can show you whether your department is adequately staffed during peak busy times. If not, consider taking on more agents, seasonal hires, or just shifting the schedule to have more agents available when chat requests are highest. A high number of missed chats may also indicate that you need to check your average handle time (more on this metric later) to make sure that your agents aren’t spending too much or too little time on each chat.
  • What is your number of offline chats? If there are any times where you are receiving a lot of offline messages or chat requests, meaning when a customer reaches out on live chat, but no agents are there to answer it, consider adding to or shifting your operating hours to accommodate this. You can also consider adding a chatbot to answer FAQs 24/7 when your agents have clocked out or are taking a statutory holiday.

2. Agent Utilization Rate

The best measure of how work time is being used is agent utilization rate. This key performance indicator reveals the percentage of time that agents are spending in live chats, wrap-up, and other productive functions, as opposed to in “away” mode or offline.

Agent utilization rate can be measured as follows:

Amount of live chats per month x Average Handle Time / Hours worked in a month x 60mins

Typically, a 50% to 60% benchmark is good to aim for. A utilization rate that is too low might be indicative of problems like overstaffing and poor agent training. Similarly, a utilization rate that is too high may result in rushed chats, mistakes in documentation during wrap-up, negative customer feedback, and agents who are stressed out.

Consider investigating the following when studying this metric:

  • Does your agents’ log-in time correspond with the number of hours they have
    worked? By checking your agents’ log-in times, you can ensure that your agents are logged in and available when their schedules say that they’re supposed to be. Noting any divergences can also be telling of agents’ work ethic (such as when an agent clocks in but waits to log into the system). It can also help you to understand if schedules need to be rearranged, for example if an agent always logs in a few minutes late because they struggle to get in on time from class.
  • How much time are your agents spending in “away” mode? The percentage of time that your agents are making themselves unavailable can speak for their work ethic, as well as indicate a lack of team morale.
  • How many chats are your agents handling at once? Check how many chats your agents are handling simultaneously for an indication of their work ethic, as well as gaps in training – agents handling a lower number of chats may need more training. However, be sure to also check the quality of these conversations – quantity must always be balanced with quality.

3. Wait Time

Wait time has a huge impact on customer satisfaction. How long visitors are waiting in the queue is an important metric that is available to managers in the wait time report. The wait time report shows details on visitors’ average and longest wait times within a specific time range. Another valuable report, the queue report, shows the number of visitors who waited in the queue, abandoned the queue, switched to message, or were refused by agents within a specific time range.

You can compare data from the wait time and queue reports to see how wait time affects visitors’ actions when they are waiting in the queue. If the wait is long and abandonment is high, this can be a sign that you need to take on more agents or increase the maximum chat allowance per agent. If the wait time and/or abandonment rate is high during specific times of the day, consider having more agents work during the busiest hours. If the queue time fluctuates heavily with the seasons, consider taking on seasonal agents to help you tackle the holiday website traffic.

4. Average Handle Time

Average handle time, or AHT, is a classic measure for evaluating agent performance and refers to how long each agent spends on a chat on average. By measuring your agents’ average handle time, you can help enforce a speedy, concise resolution of customers’ issues.

The average handle time can be measured as follows:

AHT = Total chat time + total wrap-up time / number of live chats handled

In order to balance customer satisfaction and a speedy resolution, you may want to try aiming for an average handle time of 14 or 15 minutes. Keep in mind however, that average handle time varies greatly by industry and by types of queries handled. We have seen some companies work with an ideal AHT of as low as 4 minutes, and others who aim for 20! You can check this metric in the agent efficiency and the agent performance reports in your customer engagement platform.

A low average handle time might indicate that an agent has the skill, efficiency, and knowledge needed to help his or her customers fast. At the same time, it might also indicate that an agent is rushing through chats and is not fully solving the customers’ issues. Meanwhile, a high average handle time might indicate that an agent needs additional training to be able to solve issues more effectively. On the other hand, it might show they are dedicated to solving these issues the first time, even if it takes a little longer.

Here are some additional things to consider when measuring your average handle time:

  • Are you putting speed first? Speed isn’t everything. If your live chat agents are rushing through live chat conversations simply to get customers in and out, then they may not be providing a good customer experience. While this metric has its uses, it is important to never drive agents to value speed over issue resolution.
  • Are your agents’ chats simple or complicated? Average handle time metric doesn’t differentiate between complex, involved cases, and simple ones. This means that it is important for you to use this metric in conjunction with an investigation into live chat transcripts, or other metrics that measure the quality of an agent’s live chat abilities.
  • Are your agents taking advantage of all the live chat tools that are available to them? Agents’ average handle time can often be reduced by using the live chat tools, such as shortcuts, canned messages and intelligent assistance to help save time in each chat.

5. First Contact Resolution

First contact resolution, or FCR, indicates whether a customers’ issue has been resolved during their first contact with your company – in this case, within a single live chat session.

Increasingly, FCR is being recognized as one of the most (if not the most) important metrics to watch in customer service. Customer satisfaction ratings have been shown to be 35-45%

lower when a second call must be made for the same issue. As well as directly improving customer satisfaction, prioritizing FCR can also help reduce queue wait times as customers won’t have to come back for help again.

First contact resolution can be tricky to calculate. If the issue is resolved as a transfer, does it still count as first contact resolution? The consensus is generally no. What if an agent marks a customer issue as resolved the first time, but the customer disagrees? Again, typically no. One way you can measure FCR effectively is to ask customers in the post-chat survey if their issue was resolved the first time.

6. Invitation Acceptance Rate

If your company uses a proactive live chat strategy, then the invitation acceptance rate metric will show you how well that strategy is working. You can measure this with two different reports in Comm100’s agent console:

Auto-invitation report: this reveals the number of invitations triggered to be sent automatically by predefined rules as well as the rate at which customers accept these invitations within a certain time period.

Manual invitation report: this reveals the number of invitations sent manually by agents as well as the rate at which customers accept these invitations for any given time period.

If your customers aren’t responding to your automated or manual chat invitations, this may indicate several factors. Consider the messaging of your greeting, the design, and its visibility. Also think about the audience you are targeting and the pages your live chat sits on. Consider where the customer likely is in their customer journey when visiting a

particular web page and tailor the outreach message accordingly. Some pages are better left with no proactive outreach at all, while others can drastically improve conversions and reduce customer confusion.

7. Sales Conversion Rates

Are you using live chat as a lead generation tool? If so, it’s good to be able to track whether your company and agents’ efforts are working. This number is very much influenced by your automated and manual invitation acceptance rates.

Every company’s sales conversion rate goal is going to be different, depending on the intensity of their proactive chat strategy. A low sales conversion rate could mean that agents need additional training in good sales and upselling practices. It could also reveal a need to revise and rework your automated and manual proactive chat invitation strategy for maximized sales capacity. If selling and upselling isn’t your agents’ strong suits, consider setting up routing rules so that your live chat team or the customer engagement platform itself can identify prospects versus customers and route prospects to your sales team instead.

8. Visitor Logs and Wrap-Up Notes

Visitor logs and wrap-up notes are important for categorizing your chats, and for adding any important details to customers’ cases. Agents whose visitor logs and/or wrap-up notes are left incomplete, mismarked, or excluded could cause problems in the future with customers who need to make a repeat contact. You can analyze this information with the wrap-up report.

Consider the following when studying visitor logs and wrap-up notes:

  • Are your agents adding the appropriate notes and wrap-up to the chats? Perform an audit to ensure that your agents are marking their live chat messages appropriately, and not marking a junk message as an inquiry just to leave it open for 15 minutes and appear busier than they are.
  • Are your agents remembering to wrap-up every time? Wrap-up notes help you better categorize and manage your company’s live chats. This information makes it easier for you to identify any repeat issues or frequent problems with products or processes, so make sure your agents always wrap-up a chat.
  • What can you learn from your wrap-up composition? What is your percentage of complaints as opposed to inquiries or suggestions? This information can help you see what area needs the most improvement.

9. Customer Satisfaction Scores

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a metric that is vital to determining the success of your live chat team and the quality of company procedures, policies, and products.

Customer satisfaction can be measured in several ways. Some options include the following:

  • Net promoter score is an index that measures a customer’s willingness to recommend the company’s products and services to others.
  • Customer effort score is a score built by a single-question survey that asks if the company made it easy for the customer to handle his or her issue.
  • Loyalty measurements examine whether customers have remained loyal to your brand or are starting to shop with the competition.
  • Customer satisfaction surveys are surveys about the customer experience which can be delivered through post-chat pop-ups, emails, customer interviews, focus groups, and more.

One of the most comprehensive of these measures is the post-chat customer satisfaction survey. By having your agents encourage customers to take the customer satisfaction survey, you will receive a more consistent, accurate spectrum of feedback. This is because if your agents do not encourage customers to take the survey, it is possible that only customers who had an especially great experience or an especially awful experience will fill it out. This results in data that is not quite reflective of the customer service experience as a whole.

You can access the customer satisfaction survey results under the post-chat survey report in your customer engagement platform. To ensure that you maximize the number of customers who are taking your post-chat survey, try keeping the survey short and sweet. If you aren’t receiving enough customer feedback, click here to learn more about how agents can promote the customer satisfaction survey.

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