The 2015 UK Customer Satisfaction index shows that satisfaction is still down from a 2013 high. There’s work to be done to improve on customer service, and businesses must now engage across a range of digital communication platforms to survive in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Live chat software is one versatile tool that can help. Studies have already shown that it is the #1 preferred method of communication for customers, outranking telephone and email.
The first step is deciding whether live chat can help your business. The second is choosing the best live chat client that delivers the benefits you need to succeed.
Howard Williams, Marketing Director for live chat and digital engagement software WhosOn, offers insight into exactly what these benefits are and how they can give modern businesses a real edge over the competition.
It helps you stand out amongst competitors
Many US businesses now consider live chat to be a vital part of their customer service, so it’s surprising to see that just 20-30% of UK businesses are using it. By standing out as one of the frontrunners using live chat, businesses can gain a competitive edge.
And from a B2C perspective, they can establish a reputation for excellent customer engagement. With a comprehensive live chat solution, you’ll be equipped with an array of tools to help provide a support and communications structure that is fast, effective and unobtrusive. In the process, you’ll gain and retain customers.
It saves (and makes) you money
Live chat is far more efficient for customer service management than both telephone and email, as a well trained live chat agent can handle up to 6-8 customer dialogs at once. This allows you to free up resources in telephony centres and provide support that’s both comprehensive and effective.
A great live chat suite is also a great marketing tool. It can help to identify common issues with a website, service or product and offer valuable insights into customer activity through reports and statistics.
It’s intuitive and accurate
A well staffed live chat office can take a proactive approach to engaging with customers as they are browsing a website. Through steady evolution of the service, it’s possible to respond to issues efficiently, make suggestions and recommendations or even predict what a customer might do next.
Tools like canned responses – common dialogs that are pre-prepared to answer the most frequent questions – can be a great help. They might cover common issues like resetting a password, finding out about a returns policy or answering questions about a product.
Fast or near instant responses dramatically improve customer satisfaction levels. At the same time, they reduce the load on the operator and improve accuracy through pre-approved texts.
It helps you improve your staff
Reviewing hours of recorded calls to ensure high standards can be time consuming and inefficient. Live chat reports make it easy to scan or search text, helping managers quickly identify areas where staff could have handled a call better.
It also enables you to attend to general issues across a department that might indicate that further training or a policy review is required.
A robust live chat solution helps to efficiently review calls by automatically flagging keywords for a whole range of important dialogs – whether it’s a conflict, complaint, or growing product interest. It’s a great way to proactively alert managers during a live chat, letting them monitor messages and if necessary, engage with a customer.
It helps improve your business
Quickly analysing requests through live chat can highlight areas you need to improve. Common issues can be resolved and changes and solutions communicated efficiently across all departments.
This might involve redesigning a website, increasing transparency over a particular issue or revising a product or service. Ultimately, this information will help you establish an enjoyable customer experience and improve both pre and post sales service.
It can remove the language barrier
An effective live chat solution lets you speak your customer’s language. It makes it easy to communicate with people in their native tongue, reducing the chance of instructions being misunderstood.
Plus, chat translation is done in real time, ensuring that both the agent and customer are able to communicate comfortably and without delay.
It appeals to the ‘mobile generation’
People are moving away from the telephone towards digital communication. A great benefit of live chat is that it’s the only form of digital communication that is truly real time. It allows someone to have a conversation without wondering whether a message has been delivered or picked up by a social monitoring tool.
It allows customers to have questions answered in a way that’s fast, convenient and instant. With digital communication now so central to our lives, live chat is a crucial evolution to the way customers interact with businesses.
It’s less hassle for the customer
Calls to service providers often involve establishing a customer’s identity by asking a series of questions. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, particularly if that customer needs to be referred to a different department and repeat the process.
Live chat allows users to enter important data in advance and confirm their identity or reason for contact – meaning that agents can start immediately. In addition, customers can easily be connected with operators they have dealt with before, or transcripts from previous dialogs can quickly be made available to bring others up to speed.
It’s easy to exchange documents and other materials
A good live chat solution should allow real-time document exchange. Instantly swapping materials back and forth impacts everything from customer satisfaction to the environment.
Imagine not having to wait for an email to arrive to receive a refund, being able to prove an error on a recent bill, or attaching relevant files that explain a problem in detail for you?
Customer experience feedback can be gathered from surveys, or live chat sessions could be downloaded, which may include important technical information that a customer can refer back to later.
Supporting materials like user manuals or product updates can be distributed quickly and easily. All of this saves significant time and, of course, increases customer satisfaction.
It’s not just for your customers
Live chat is more than a front facing solution to improve customer communication. Many businesses now use it internally to provide an efficient link between departments, helping to resolve issues and maintain standards.
This could be an internal helpdesk managing a ticketing policy for customer requests, integration of reports into a CRM system or the ability to assign a manager or particular department to a query.
The benefits are the same. It’s real time. It’s more intimate than an anonymous social tweet. And it links in with all the other systems within a company. All of this can work seamlessly together to improve accuracy and efficiency, and ultimately, your company’s reputation for excellent customer satisfaction.
Sourced from Howard Williams, managing director, Parker Software