CXNext Live: 5 Reasons Your Live Chat Stinks
A negative live chat experience really stinks for your customers. And for your bottom line. Chatters have a higher conversation rate and spend more over time than non-chatters,¹ so it pays to get it right.
How do you know if you’ve got a stinky live chat solution on your hands? Like age-old wisdom says, you can’t fix the smell if you can’t find the stench. Here are 5 ways to sniff out an inferior live chat experience.
Stench #1: Unmet Expectations
The silent killer of relationships. Most missed expectations come from uptime/downtime issues. If your chat widget says, “Chat Now,” then a rep should actually be available to give a live chat response, or your customers are destined for disappointment.
Sometimes you know when downtime is coming, because you have to schedule it for events like infrastructure updates. These are the times you can be proactive and disable your invitation to chat for the time being.
But unexpected downtime can happen when your chat solution isn’t working properly. This is why it’s imperative to choose a provider with industry-leading uptime. 99.99% isn’t unheard of. (We happen to know of a solution that delivers it.) Anything less amounts to a ‘customer service fail.’
Stench #2: Short on Staff
Let’s say you have high live chat demand. That can be a good thing – it means people are interested in your products or services, and you have the opportunity to serve them one–on–one. Unless they have to wait. If you’re short on staff, it’s not going to play out so well for your customers.
Long wait times also affect your agents, because they can become overwhelmed by having so much to handle. They may crack under pressure, and HR says you don’t want that to happen.
Why does this tend to happen? Businesses often try to “dabble” in chat without properly anticipating the volume it will generate. When you open chat, make sure you have enough staff to handle a significant portion of your total traffic. You don’t necessarily need to add more agents. Train some of your phone agents to pick up chats when demand is high. Over time, you can get a better sense of how to appropriately staff your team.
Of course, a chatbot can help here, too. A chatbot is always ready to chat when your customers are.
Stench #3: Inconsistency
Customers are creatures of convenience. They want to engage on the channel where they are at the time. And their experience should be consistent however they decide to reach out.
What does this look like? It’s delivering consistent information across your channels. ICMI reports that agents giving the wrong answer is one of the top 3 drivers of customer dissatisfaction.² So your chat solution should be helping your agents find the right answer on every channel.
It also looks like a clear escalation plan. With smart routing, you can reduce the number of transfers to create a better customer experience across channels.
Your branding should also be consistent across channels. Customers should know they’re talking with your business, from your website to Facebook Messenger.
Stench #4: Overlooking the Agent
Happy agents make happy customers. It’s a line you’ve heard before, but consider its inverse: Frustrated, time-strapped agents will inevitably lead to fed-up customers. Sound about right? Yet some chat implementations only consider the customer-facing experience and treat the agent experience as an afterthought.
Your solution’s agent interface and process for handling customer requests should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Agents should be able to easily find information to provide the right response at the right time. By focusing on improving the agent experience, you’ll also improve customer metrics across the board.
Stench #5: Foregoing AI
Earlier we pointed out that chatbots can be used for front-line customer requests, leading to a more positive customer experience with zero wait. But chatbots aren’t just for customers. They can be your agents’ best friend.
While your chatbot is handling the easier stuff (all those routine, often-repeated questions that normally drive your agents crazy), your agents can focus on tasks best handled by humans, like more complex, high-priority issues. And while your bot is busy with customers, you can monitor its conversations and set parameters to immediately transition customers to a human chat agent whenever there are any challenges or frustrations.
Even if you don’t have a customer-facing chatbot, you can use AI to support agents behind the scenes. As agents interact with customers, the chatbot helps by providing helpful information as needed.
If your live chat implementation reeks of any of these offenses, it’s time to take another look at a better solution. Bold360 comes up smelling like roses in all of the above categories, allowing you to deliver an excellent chat experience for both customers and agents. And that’s the sweet smell of victory.
¹BoldChat Live Chat Performance Benchmarks Report
²ICMI Toolkit 2017: How to Become a Successful Omni-Channel Contact Center