Nobody likes to wait. We want fast food, instant coffee, and high-speed internet. And when it comes to online customer service, we expect quick answers when we have questions. Web chat is one of the easiest and most effective ways to engage with customers and prospects on your website. As a matter of fact, nearly 90% of consumers say they want the option of live chat when they need help online, and almost two-thirds say they would be more likely to shop again at a business that offers chat. So how do you use web chat to differentiate the experience you offer your customers?
1. Be Proactive
Customers won’t always take the first step to initiate a chat. Even if they need help and see that little chat icon hovering on your website-- sometimes they need a little nudge. All it takes is a popup asking if they’d like to chat with an agent or representative (this is known as proactive chat). They may not want to, and that’s okay. Simply by offering, you’ve promoted a feeling of goodwill and concern for their needs. If they do choose chat to communicate with you--rejoice! Proactive chat is linked to as much as a 105% ROI.
Afraid you’ll annoy your web visitors? There are ways to be proactive without being a pest. Rather than immediately flashing the chat option to your web visitors, consider giving them a pre-determined amount of time to browse your site before you ask if they’d like chat. It’s all about timing.
2. Automatically Accept Requests
Imagine you’re browsing and need some help. A popup asks if you’d like to chat. What great timing! You select “yes” and wait. And wait...and wait. What started as a great experience has now turned into an annoyance. As a general rule, response time should be within a minute or two at the most.
Even worse than making web visitors wait, is not answering at all. In a recent study of over 1,000 websites, chat requests were ignored 21% of the time. That’s a recipe for customer churn.
To create a smooth chat experience for customers, make sure your customer service representatives can automatically accept chats as they come in. From the customer’s perspective, the focus of your team is squarely on customer service, and they can ask their question and be on their way quickly, left with a positive impression of your brand.
3. Automate with intention
Customers love web chat for its ease, but they still appreciate a human touch. 68% of consumers report that a pleasant customer service representative is a key factor in whether or not they consider an experience to be positive or not.
While chatbots are certainly getting “smarter,” they can’t always replace authentic human interaction. As you think about how to make chat more efficient for your customers and your teams, be mindful of what you automate. As a good rule of thumb, automate a canned message to greet your customers after they initiate a chat and before they are connected to a human. It lets them know their request was received and help is on the way.
For common questions, chatbots can reduce resolution time. Here’s an example: someone is browsing your website and wants directions to your business. A chatbot could easily populate a chat with the address and link to a map. On the other hand, if you are a clothing retailer and your customer needs ideas on how to style a pair of red suede boots, a chatbot isn’t going to provide the same experience that a trained representative from your team can offer.
Don’t be afraid to automate processes. Just be intentional, and approach everything from the lens of the customer.
4. Offer a Transcript
A simple, but often overlooked courtesy to offer customers after a chat is a transcript of the conversation. In some cases, customers might want to make a note of the information they receive during the chat but are dismayed to find that it disappears once they disconnect.
As an added level of service, ask customers after each chat if they would like an emailed copy of the chat conversation. It’s another way to show your commitment to great service.
5. Be genuine
Web chat is a valuable engagement channel if it provides...value. Make sure your customer service team has the information they need to provide a courteous, helpful experience in every chat, and have a plan in place to escalate questions when a representative doesn’t know the answer.
As you build a web chat strategy, one goal should overshadow everything else: providing exceptional customer service with every interaction. Look at every chat as another way to build your brand and its reputation.
Customer expectations are always changing, but an A+ service experience will never be obsolete.
Given how our case studies show we can better businesses customer satisfaction across the board, we invite you to drop us a line to see how we help leave your customer base grinning from ear to ear.
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