Ping! Beep! Bzzt! A swell of notifications floods your chat lines and you’re faced with a countdown to respond. Similar to Diner Dash where the waitress, Flo, must serve all her customers in a timely and personal manner, your customer support agents must scramble to do the same.
Live chat can be stressful. You have to be responsive, proactive, and fully engaged. There’s a lot of ownership and accountability involved, and pressure to keep up with the masses in real-time. But live chat can also increase sales, reduce support costs, and increase CSAT.
Here are some common problems with live chat and how you can solve them:
1. "We turned our chat channel on and we’re overwhelmed with requests."
Before opening the lines of communication and enabling chat, you have to strategize, strategize, strategize. Why are you turning to this channel in the first place? What do you want to accomplish with chat? With that in mind, it’s easier to make decisions that will keep you from getting overwhelmed with chats.
Let’s say you you chose chat because you wanted a more immediate and responsive channel to increase sales. To avoid getting overwhelmed with chat requests, consider the placement of your chat widget. Does chat need to be available everywhere at all times? Evernote limits chat to pages where immediacy would be most useful, like the checkout page. This way chat is being used to meet strategic goals, like increasing sales and reducing other requests that don’t meet those objectives.
If your main focus is to increase CSAT, tools like our staffing calculator, can ensure you have the resources necessary to deliver on customer expectations. Our staffing calculator can keep you from stretching your support team too thin and can also ensure that agents have more time to personalize their chats.
2. "Chat hasn’t deflected email requests and reduced costs like we hoped."
If chat isn’t deflecting other channel requests, try journey mapping the customer experience. How do users navigate your web experience to gain support? Take a look at your contact page—if your goal is to deflect email and phone requests, then these shouldn't be the most prominent channels listed.
According to Disney lore, Walt Disney wanted to make sure every part of the park experience was nothing less than spectacular, including the convenient placement of garbage cans. Disney calculated how many steps people took before they needed a trash can. If you ever go to a Disney park, keep an eye out for the trash cans. They’re all within thirty steps of each other—the amount of time it took Walt Disney to eat a hotdog and need a trash can handy. When planning his parks, Walt Disney truly thought of everything. The same should be done for planning your website. An experience is an experience is an experience, and it’s important to place your chat “trash cans” where it makes the most sense for your business and for the customer.
Proactive chat can also help deflect other channel requests by allowing you to jump in where customers get caught up. For example, if a customer hesitates on your checkout page because a coupon code isn’t working, or if they’re searching your knowledge base but can’t find an answer, chat can help you solve a customer’s problem before they have a chance to reach out. That’s what we like to call an effortless experience.
3. "We’re not sure why we need chat, or what to measure."
First and foremost, benchmark metrics for live chat should always depend on the reason for incorporating a chat channel in the first place. Let’s get back to basics: What did you hope to accomplish with live chat? Many of our customers become laser-focused on one metric, such as CSAT, but this should be more contextual. Think about your objectives, define what it means to successfully deliver on those objectives, then hone in on what metrics reflect your definitions of success.
If your objective is to reduce costs, you should ask what that actually means for your org. Does it mean more tickets answered, cheaper costs per contact, or reduced operational costs? Once you answer these questions, you can start mapping specific metrics to those definitions, like how many ticket solves month over month you accomplish, resolution time, replies per ticket, and so on.
Give yourselves targets to hit at certain milestones of implementation based on the reason you added chat. For example: We added live chat to deflect phone calls. Our three month goal is to reduce phone calls by xx%; our six month goal is to reduce calls by xx%; and in twelve months we hope to only offer calls for escalations. We'll also rely on CSAT, online reviews, and QA checks to ensure quality does not suffer. Remember that measuring what you think everyone else is measuring does not equal an effective strategy. Your business is unique and will have its own success metrics.
The live chat dash
There’s always a slew of challenges and considerations with rolling out any new channel, including chat, but as they say, the grass is greener where you water it. Tools can only take you so far, but you need to go the extra step with your support team and your strategy plan. Chat doesn’t have to be a foreboding channel of overwhelming customer requests—as long as you can remember your goals and stick to your strategy.