Using Web Chat Effectively In A Contact Centre

Today, consumers expect to have a range of options for contacting companies.  Rather than being forced to sit on hold for a long time waiting for an agent to answer their phone call, they expect to be able to use email, support forms, social media and web chat to get answers to their queries. It makes sense to make life as easy as possible for your customers, but how can you make the most of those alternative contact methods?

Give Customers the Information They Need to Help Themselves
Reduce the load on your contact centre by offering a simple, easy to search FAQ section on your website. Most people don’t want to have to raise a ticket or open a web chat, so if you help them to help themselves they’ll be happier and it will mean less work for your support team.  Everyone wins.

Don’t Wait for the User to Initiate the Chat
Set your webchat software to invite users into a chat if they spend a lot of time browsing the support and FAQ pages. If the user needs assistance, they are likely to speak up in the chat.  If they aren’t interested in chatting right now they can always close the chat and get back to browsing.  Do not pop up chat invitations on every page.  This will alienate your visitors.

Train Your Team to Use a Consistent Voice in Chats
If you’ve ever raised a support ticket in an online game, you’ll know how much of a difference the “little touches” can make.  Many video game support teams address customers using terms that refer to their in-game character’s race or profession.  It’s a small thing, but it’s something that puts a smile on the customer’s face, which is a big deal if they’ve just spent the last hour struggling with a problem in-game.

You may not want to have your support team speaking in “these and thous” if you run an online store, but you should make an effort to have everyone in your contact centre behaving in the same way.  If some people speak formally while others treat the customer like their best friend then you aren’t putting forward a consistent brand image.

Encourage Agents to Solve the Problem No Matter How Long it Takes
If your contact centre has a call time rule for agents, make it clear that this rule does not apply to web chats. Allow your agents to multi-task.  If they’re working on a problem for a customer in one chat session and they know it’s going to take a while for that issue to get solved, let them open other chats in the background as long as opening extra chat sessions won’t reduce the quality of service they give each customer.

Most customers would rather sit with a chat open for 10-15 minutes or so waiting for it to be resolved than be promised a callback or an email and have to wait longer for that to occur.

Put Security First
There have been several high profile cases of dishonest people using social engineering in order to get companies to give up other people’s personal information or even change the delivery address of an expensive order. Don’t let this happen at your company.  Make sure everyone handling live chats at your contact centre knows that they must carefully verify each customer’s identity before answering any questions or making changes to the account.

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This post was written by James Harper on behalf of Maintel, who can provide a range of contact centre services and expertise to help your business.

Photo: Bixentro