It may be a “digital” form of engagement, but live chat is certainly not a no-touch endeavor. Agents drive conversations, and thus the success of the endeavor.
As a result, customer-centric organizations commit to empowering live chat agents. They consider ways to optimize every facet of the workflow experience.
Then, and only then, will chat live up to its promise of combining the deep engagement of the voice channel with the convenience of the digital world.
Provide context for each customer, interaction
In order to deliver a chat interaction that is simultaneously personalized and efficient, agents require meaningful context about each customer and issue. As they begin the conversation, they need clear insight into who is chatting, why they are chatting, and how best to resolve the issue.
Providing this actionable context begins with robust platform integration. The live chat platform should seamlessly connect to contact center tools, including the CRM, knowledge base and call queue. An agent should never have to leave the screen – let alone the entire chat platform – to gain relevant data about the customer.
Use automation to augment conversations
Chat may involve live, real-time conversations, but it does not necessarily require agents to start from scratch. Thanks to the combination of careful scripting and powerful artificial intelligence, the optimal chat program guides agents with recommended – if not completely automated – comments, answers and follow-up questions. Agents car take advantage of this automation to improve productivity, while maintaining the autonomy to deliver a unique, human touch when appropriate.
Leverage robust, chat-specific analytics
Just as live chat requires its own set of metrics, it also benefits from channel-specific analytics.
Given that many organizations deploy chat for specific purposes (to improve website sales, to handle certain service transactions, to answer technical support issues in a native platform), such analytics provide a clear glimpse into the efficacy of the program. Is the chat program delivering the ideal ROI? Which aspects of the chat strategy are inhibiting the organization’s ability to achieve its objective?
More broadly, detailed analytics help organizations diagnose performance issues, improve scripts, rework processes and optimize coaching.
Provide relevant, digital-minded coaching
Like voice agents, live chat agents are ultimately trying to make meaningful connections with customers.
The mechanism for making that connection is nonetheless quite different. There are certain performance goals and conversational approaches that are unique to the live chat environment.
Winning organizations account for this reality when hiring, training and coaching agents. They do not simply place “contact center agents” on “live chat duty” – they specifically prepare agents to thrive in that chat environment.
The need for specific guidance is not, however, tantamount to a need for inefficient coaching. Using analytics. winning organizations are precise with their coaching – they teach specific agents how they can specifically improve. Using technology, they seize opportunities for automated training or live supervisor takeovers.
Efficient workflow management
Presuming the organization is not dismissing chats as one-off, isolated transactions, a live chat program will require some degree of post-interaction wrap-up. Agents will need to log certain aspects of the interaction to cultivate intelligence about the specific customer and issue.
This should not be an inefficient endeavor. Winning organizations automate as many aspects of the post-chat process as possible. Through proper training, they also help agents efficiently handle any tasks that do require manual work.