When looking for guidance on how to set up your chat channel, it is vital to remember your goals. Many of the best practices and common recommendations for sales and customer service related chat lines will need some tweaking before they can be applied to your technical support operations. In this segment of our series on success with multi-channel support, we will consider how best to make use of chat support.
Choose your software wisely
Customers who prefer chat tend to be younger people who have a stronger preference overall for text-based, rapid communication. These customers also tend to be more technologically aware and will expect a certain level of sophistication from your chat software. Among their likely expectations are an intuitive chat interface and the ability to move flexibly from chat to another support channel such as phone or email, without having to go over the same information a second time. Remember that while a customer service or sales chat often begins with a positive or neutral experience- a customer who wants to make a purchase or learn more about your company- a technical support customer is likely to contact your agent because they have already encountered a problem. In that situation, they may be less forgiving of any potential difficulty that arises due to your chat technology.
Start with a small target
Be it customer service or technical support, the ideal chat inquiry can be resolved on first contact, with limited interaction between the customer and the chat agent. Most customers who choose chat support over other channels, do so because they want an immediate resolution. Set yourself up for high customer satisfaction levels by identifying the support inquiries that allow for immediate resolution, and focus on driving those customers and only those customers to chat.
Note that the amount of time it takes to resolve a problem is less important than whether the problem can be resolved during first contact. For example, customers creating an account on your site may have to fill out a long form or go through steps in an online wizard. Even though this process seems lengthier than the average “ideal” chat inquiry, this situation lends itself well to chat. Over chat support, agents can handle multiple inquiries at once, remaining present for your customer at each step of the process, but without being tied up waiting for a single customer to fill out each field, as a phone agent would.
The chat environment represents a different set of challenges for a support team that is used to other means of support. As you and your agents gain more confidence about the best use of chat in your organization, the chat hours or scope may be expanded.
Allow for training and operational adjustments after implementation
The fast paced, written nature of the chat channel requires flexibility when training agents, developing scripts, and deploying the chat. You may find that the canned text which customers found so useful via email or knowledgebase, is overly wordy for chat. Or, perhaps a heavy focus on initial response time causes your agents to fall behind in responding in the middle of an ongoing chat support session. Pay close attention to customer feedback, resolution rates and other key metrics and be willing to make changes in response to this information. Well-trained agents are your best resource at this stage, absorbing the changes without disrupting your core operation and helping to manage customer expectations.
As always, Hudson Software is here to help with any phase of this process. We can help you define the scope, analyze your data and develop scripts that work. Our agents are highly trained and excellent communicators who will represent your company well across all channels of support, from the phone to the chat window.