Companies dig chat: it’s the most practical live channel for customer care!
Live chat is, by far, the easiest way to tackle live service. There are a number of reasons that make it a great tool for companies:
- it’s super easy to install and configure (for example, Deskero chat can be installed on every single web page through a simple widget)
- it’s fast: more direct, more personal and way quicker than any other channel;
- it allows immediate one-to-one engagement;
- agents can easily multitask different conversations;
- it’s cheap: a few agents can take care of a great deal of work, while also keeping an eye on other channels.
Overall, chat is a dream come true, especially for smaller companies: it allows them to provide direct live support at a bargain price, without wasting time, resources and training in a fully fledged call center.
What about customers? They simply LOVE chat, too!
According to a J.D. Power study done in 2013, on Wireless Customer Care Performance among Full-Service Carriers, over 42% of clients actually engaged customer service over chat, and this is where the overall satisfaction was the highest. Another Forrester study claims that over 44% of customers loves to be helped through chat while making an online purchase.
We can easily notice something all these studies have in common: they are all about online services and high-end technology companies. Of course, these are business areas where chat is an absolute must.
Chat allows clients to multitask and easily try out different solutions while being engaged with the agent. Problems addressed in chat are usually quite easy to describe and to solve, and the conversation is often very simple and fast: using the chat allows both parties (customer & agent) to take care of things in an easy and fast way.
So, chat is great. Absolutely lovely. Companies can save time and money, while customers are completely crazy for it. Chat is simply perfect and we should all use it… or should we?
Chat stories from hell
Browsing the internet you can find plenty of terrifying stories about chat customer service gone very, very awry. There are many business areas and types of issues where using the chat can quickly turn the contact experience into a nightmare for your customer.
There are plenty of things that even a chat conversation can mess up:
- if the problem is complex and the client cannot articulate it well, stress can quickly escalate into sheer panic;
- timing is everything: live chat has to be done in real time… lag and slowness will completely exasperate customers;
- it’s ok to use canned responses: it saves time and effort. But it’s not ok to sound like a mindless broken bot…
- too much multitasking from the agent’s side will result in poor quality and very poor service;
- do not mess a single conversation with more than one operator, or chaos will ensue: repeated questions, multiple ideas on how to solve problems and an overall feeling of being taken for a ride.
Bottom line: offer, but don’t oblige!
Live chat is an absolutely great channel for certain types of business and certain types of issues: it can make both customers and companies save time, money, effort and stress. But it’s not always the BEST possible solution: when dealing with general information or complex problems clients probably prefer to engage customer service in a different way.
And while chat is a great point of contact, always keep this in mind:
- it’s not as easy as it sounds, so train your staff well in order to make it sound not only competent but also human and emphatic;
- use a powerful tool, to reduce stress coming from lag and technical issues to a minimum;
- offer chat as a channel, but be ready to engage customer elsewhere.
Multi-channel support enables companies to offer true freedom of expression to their customers: to create a truly wonderful customer experience, it’s vital to give customers as many options as they might need. Chat is a great solution, but it shouldn’t be the only one…