With messaging now outpacing phone calls, Live Chat is an important communications tool for any company which deals with the public via the internet.
Last week, we talked about the pros and cons of using Live Chat as one of your communication channels. If you decide to add Live Chat to your web site, you need to know where you are heading before you leap into this mode of client communication. Here are a few considerations that will help you successfully implement this new channel.
Have a plan and a timeline for adaptation
This may sound like a basic tip, but it’s important to have a plan — not just for which issues you want to handle via chat, but also for how you will begin to staff this new communication channel. Based on customer needs, determine what hours and days your chat option will be available.
Also, know that it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to adopt the channel right away. Setting milestone targets will help you evaluate your progress and identify any issues or challenges that might be hindering more widespread adoption.
Let your customers know you have live chat
All the planning you do is irrelevant if you don’t let your customers know about the program. There are a number of ways you can promote the new channel, but one of the most critical is publicizing Live Chat as an addition to your existing means of customer support. For example, you might have an automated recording directing callers to the Live Chat link when waiting for support by phone.
Train your reps on online communication techniques AND customer service best practices
Addressing support requests via chat is different from other models as it enables reps to handle multiple sessions simultaneously. Make sure your reps are comfortable with multi-tasking and are familiar with the program’s capabilities before you launch Live Chat. It’s essential to spend sufficient time training your staff — and hiring additional reps if needed — to make the program a success. Be sure everyone understands the expectations, including response time.
Make sure you are adequately staffed
One of the benefits of live chat is the perception of immediate support. If users are unable to get through or have to wait a significant amount of time, they will already be disenchanted before defaulting to another channel. When preparing to launch a chat program, make sure you’re properly staffed to keep wait times to a minimum. Have a process in place so the support team can quickly get additional help if needed.
Use scripts but personalize when possible
As reps are becoming familiar with handling multiple sessions at the same time, having scripts for frequently asked questions are a valuable tool in getting them up to speed quickly.
While scripts have many benefits, however, it’s important not to lose the personal elements of phone support when you begin live chat. Support reps should modify scripts to add personalization and address exact concerns. They should also be sure to pay careful attention to what the user is saying before offering an answer.
Make it intuitive
Mobility is a key driver of today’s changing customers support needs. Making it easy for users to initiate a chat session from any device will ensure greater adoption.
Get feedback from users AND staff
Feedback is extremely useful in improving your program. Institute a survey at the end of every session to obtain details about the individual’s experience and use the information to make improvements and further hone the program.
In addition to polling the user community, be sure to connect with your staff about their experiences. As the frontline reps utilizing the program, they can provide valuable insight into how to improve Live Chat and help identify other issues that could be handled via the chat program.
We will take one more look at Live Chat next week by reviewing some of the Dos and Don’ts of this type of customer support.