Live Chat Solutions

by tmhr consulting

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The Live Chat System opens the door for your business to connect directly with its customers. It allows you to interact directly with visitors in the same way you would in a traditional retail store. You would not ignore customers on your phone – so don’t ignore the customers that are visiting your website every day.

Companies need to improve their online customer experience so many are using text-based chat to better engage visitors to their site.

Live Chat Software

You need reliable software to use when interacting with customers using Live Chat Software.

The software solution should be a breeze to use not only on your computer but from your mobile phone as well. This will allow you to not worry about missing a customer’s question if you aren’t at your desk.

But there a number of simple things that your Live Chat Software should provide to help make your implementation of Live Chat a great success for you and your customers.

Some of those are:

  • Ease of Use – easy to get started as well as intuitive for your customers to use.
  • Setup Ease – should be effortless to get it working on any browser.
  • Multi-Tasking Use – handles multiple chats on multiple web sites.
  • Monitoring Capabilities – track customer navigation, keywords and other ‘stuff’.
  • Feature Set – should be more than you need but still easy to implement.
  • Help and Support – provide the support need when you need it.
  • Scalability – should allow growth when you need it.

Some of these might or might not be important to your organization when looking at evaluating and implementing a Live Chat solution.

Live Chat Software Choices

There are thousands of Live Chat Software solutions but there seems to be some that are most often recommended than others. There is one that seems to be feature rich, easy to setup and maintain. That software is called Zopim

online customer service tools


Others that are recommended are:

  • Livehelpnow
  • LivePerson
  • Velaro
  • WebsiteAlive

An Open Source solution to look at is Crafty Syntax.

Live Chat Hints and Tips

A few simple hints and tips that have been found to be attributable to a successful implementation of a Live chat solution are:

  • Make Sure the Customer Service Agent Reads the User’s Question or the Session Log
  • Don’t in any way make your customers repeat themselves.
  • Allow the Customer Service Agent to Type Anything Himself; Do NOT Insist on Canned messages Only
  • Write all responses in the brand, voice, and style of your company. Otherwise, the user feels as if he or she’s talking to a machine.
  • Make sure the Customer Service Agents understand the brand and voice of your company.
  • Empower Reps to type their own responses instead of restricting them to the canned responses.
  • Implement Live Chat (Knowledge base/FAQ) where Customer Service Agents can find answers to questions.
  • Have Customer Service Agents and Supervisors review history of chat logs for developing additional best practices.
  • Average response time refers to the time between customer questions and agent responses. For the ideal chat session, responses should be provided within 30 seconds.
  • Agents should set expectation by providing an estimated wait time for delayed responses.
  • Response accuracy is paramount to ensuring customer satisfaction and maintaining the overall integrity of the brand.
  • Best-in-class chat responses should directly answer customer questions, include only one or two ideas per response, and avoid promotional copy.
  • Customers expect a personalized, brand-appropriate experience, even when using online chat.
  • Questions should be resolved accurately while agents drive to closure. Agents should not rush a chat session to hit efficiency metrics.
  • Chat users expect instant gratification. As a result, the ideal chat session should keep sentences short and to the point. Responses must directly relate to the customer question.
  • Writing effective chat communication can be an art. Responses must adhere to most grammatical rules, including capitalization and punctuation. Accurate spelling is critical to support agent credibility. The most important content should appear at the beginning of responses.
  • Voice and tone should reflect corporate identity and chat should conform to the personality of the site (e.g. informative, professional, innovative). Voice should express the mood or feeling of the conversation (e.g. friendly, upbeat, conversational) in order to humanize the online experience.

Though the list goes on from here, these steps will ensure users have a better experience with your company in their next live chat session.

Determine and Monitor your Goals

Determine your major implementation goals you want to achieve by implementing Live Chat such as:

  • Increasing sales.
  • Reducing Website abandonment.
  • Offering enhanced customer service.
  • Building your customer database.

For each goal identify your KPI’s for monitoring those goals. For eCommerce they might be:

  • Number of items in a shopping cart.
  • Total shopping cart value.
  • Time spent on a high-value product page.

Other KPIs might be:

  • The amount of time on a page.
  • Attempts to back out of an online form.
  • Pages where drop-off is high.

Instead of placing Live Chat on each and every page on your website you can strategically place it so as to help improve the accomplishing of your goals.

There are sure to be other goals and KPIs that will more appropriate to your company and customers.

Live Chat Agent Assistance

In addition to the technical issues there are many non-technical issues that must also be addressed to ensure that both your company and your customers benefit from the chat experience. Areas of concern that can determine the success of your overall Live Chat solution success are:

  • Agent Skills
  • Chat Tone
  • Agent Testing
  • Agent Training
  • Monitoring
  • Coaching

Hiring Agent Skills

When hiring for good Live Chat skills the following can be some skills to look for:

  • A customer-focused attitude and willingness to serve customers.
  • Excellent verbal and keyboard skills.
  • Exceptional listening, reading, questioning, and interaction control techniques.
  • Ability to accurately and efficiently process information and tasks.
  • An understanding of customer needs, company products and services, and general knowledge.
  • Aptitude to handle challenging, multi-tasking situations.
  • Ability to recommend and persuade.
  • Computer and telephone system skills.

Chat Tone

A few simple techniques can dramatically improve the tone of the Chat experience:

  • Chat is very similar to Phone.
  • Convey warmth by adding a “please” or “thank-you” wherever possible.
  • Always try to personalize pre-written or “canned” answers to make them feel spontaneous – stating the customer’s name a few times during the chat can help.
  • Pay close attention to the customer’s questions.
  • Skim the text you are about to send and avoid using statements that may be misunderstood.

Agent Testing

Simple testing of Customer Service agents can help to improve their Live Chat responsiveness such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Verbal interactions are a good first test
  • Typing skills
  • Typical typing tests
  • Product Knowledge
  • Open Book test
  • Test many times
  • Tests for repetitiveness management

Agent Training

  • Product / Technology Training
  • Focus on product navigation and flow
  • Hands-on exercises
  • Whenever possible, use relevant content examples
  • Business Training
  • Web experience / process training
  • Should be led by SME or business trainer
  • Note key exceptions to process based on channel
  • Communicate metrics (SLA, time between snippets, post interaction requirements)
  • Content / tool usage

Monitoring

  • Live interaction monitoring
  • Focus business content and flow (time between snippets)
  • Use ‘whisper’ mode to teach, only if needed
  • Post chat interaction
  • Business content and flow
  • Tool usage and SLA management

Coaching

  • Very similar to Phone
  • Live interaction
  • Use „whisper mode” to teach, only if needed
  • Post interaction
  • Agent Activity Monitor
  • Transcript Search
  • SLA Reports

Summary

There are many Live Chat software solutions but Live Chat Now seems to be one that really stands out.

Software features, ease of use, ease of setup and scalability, etc. are very important so testing the those solutions can help narrow the selection process.

Through many research efforts it has been found that although it is important to pick the right software, non technical issues can play a much more influential position in determining whether your Live Chat implementation is successful.

Understanding your goals, how you will monitor their successful achievement will help you avoid a Live Chat disaster.

The most important aspect though still comes down to having the right people properly trained, coached, and skilled in handling your customers questions using the Live Chat software.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jeniffer November 27, 2012 at 4:48 am

Live chat on website is essential to increase sales and support customers. We are using Live2Support on our website.

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