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Live chat software is relatively new to the customer support world, but it’s caught on like wildfire. Today, most websites offer live chat support as an option. That’s because customers overwhelmingly rank live chat as their preferred method of contact.
But are businesses meeting customer expectations when it comes to live chat support? The answer is a resounding no.
Kayako talked to 400 consumers about the live chat experience and found that 47% said they can’t remember a positive live chat experience in the last month. Thirty-eight percent of those customers cited poor user experience as the channel’s biggest problem.
It seems customers love live chat in theory, but the reality of how businesses implement live chat isn’t what consumers are looking for.
With up to 86% of consumers willing to spend more on a better customer experience—only 1% whose expectations are consistently met—there’s a huge opportunity for brands who can get live chat right. Let’s look at the top 5 ways you can improve your company’s live chat experience today.
1. Set the right expectations
Like any relationship, from a marriage to a business partnership, setting the right expectations from the outset sets you up for greater satisfaction down the road. When customers know what to expect from your live chat support, they can make a more informed decision about which support channel they choose. That means those who do come through live chat have expectations in line with the kind of help desk support you can and do provide there.
Some of the most important expectations you should set for customers revolve around chat availability, first response time, and topics your live chat reps can handle.
When your help desk support is offline, your best bet is to hide the live chat module entirely. Don’t invite any opportunity for customers to expect a response when your team isn’t there to provide one. When you are online, clearly state the hours your team’s available.
Unnecessary chat conversations create a bad experience for customers and add unnecessary work for your team. Set expectations on your live chat tool’s welcome page around which topics warrant a chat conversation. For those that don’t (like checking on an order’s status), point customers to the best place to have their question answered.
First response wait time
The only thing worse than waiting for a response is waiting in uncertainty. Even if the first response time’s are long, it’s best to transparent about it and set accurate expectations for customers. When wait times are length, customers may even choose to come back at another time—meaning they’ll have a better experience and lighten the burden on your support team.
2. Cut first response time
Speaking of first response times…long and uncertain wait times are one of the biggest frustrations customers have with the live chat experience. In fact, our study found that 44% of consumers are less than 50% sure they’ll get support in a reasonable amount of time.
Speed and convenience are some of the biggest benefits of live chat support, so it’s vital that your team gets them right. That can be tough for small, overburdened support teams, but there are a few pain-free steps you can take to cut down on first response times—without doubling your payroll.
Keep all of your support conversations in one place
Whether it’s email, social, or live chat conversations, your ticketing system is harder to keep track of (and respond to in a timely manner) when support queries are siphoned off into 7 different inboxes. Keeping everything together enables your team to stay on top of support requests.
Set up notifications for real-time conversations
Sending all support requests to the same inbox keeps your team stay on top of conversations, but notifications specific to real time support tickets (i.e. live chat) can help you prioritize those conversations. That means you can provide response times that are in line with customer expectations based on the support channel.
3. Empower reps with context
One of the obstacles to a great live chat experience is the back and forth. In order for your team to get an accurate picture of customer problems, there’s often a lot of question and answer that goes on—way before reps can even begin to offer a solution.
Excessive back and forth adds time and frustration to live chat conversations. To make the most of live chat’s ease and speed, you need a live chat solution that works together with the rest of your help desk support, website and customer support tools.
The best live chat software empowers support reps to see the whole picture of a customer’s experience. That means they can begin the conversation with more of the information they need to solve customer problems. Information like:
FAQ searches the customer ran before turning to live chat,
Problems with payment processing, and
Which products a customer has viewed, among other things.
When support reps are empowered with that kind of ticketing system, they can provide faster, more complete support and a better experience for customers.
4. Infuse live chat with your brand’s touch
Companies who manage to turn customer support from drain to competitive advantage have one thing in common: amazing customer experiences. Many brands go out of their way to establish a quirky, relatable brand voice—it’s a great way to connect with customers.
For too many businesses, though, all of that goes by the wayside when it comes to customer support. That’s a mistake. Your overall brand sets a precedent that customers expect to carry over throughout their interactions with you. That includes support interactions, and live chat is no exception.
Creating a stellar live chat support experience starts with remembering the basics of satisfying support experiences. Agents should go out of their way to welcome customers, offer up one-on-one attention, and really listen to what customers have to say.
Adding your brand’s personal touch to live chat conversations (on top of an already great experience) creates a more unified experience for customers and generally boosts their experience. Here are a few ways to bring that unique voice into live chat:
Write scripts in your brand’s voice,
Provide brand voice training to your support team, and
Encourage support agents to connect with customers on a deeper, personal level.
5. Ask for customer feedback
As support professionals, we like to think we have a pretty good idea of how to provide effortless experiences for customers. But there’s no substitute for cold, hard customer feedback. Good customer feedback helps us question our assumptions, get to know customers and generally serve them the way they want to be served.
All that is to say, customer feedback betters the overall live chat experience. That’s why we recommend ending each chat conversation with a survey.
Gathering this valuable customer feedback can help you get a sense of where your live chat experience currently stands. It also offers your team a clear-cut path for how to improve that experience. All of our tips will help but your customers are unique—and so are their help desk support expectations.
But here’s the thing: customers aren’t usually falling all over themselves to give feedback—unless it’s super negative. To get feedback that paints an accurate picture of your customer experience as a whole, you need to make it radically easy for customers to share their thoughts. Here are a few tips to create a feedback from customers actually use:
Keep it short—no more than 5-7 questions
Ask multiple choice questions
Write questions in your brand’s voice
Show customers where they are in the process
Boost your live chat experience today
For better or for worse, consumers love live chat technology. While most of us aren’t satisfied with the experience companies bringing to it, there’s a huge opportunity to carve out a competitive advantage for your business based on providing top-notch live chat support.
Customers report being 50% more likely to be loyal to companies when they receive high-quality customer support. That means offering live chat and boosting the experience customers have there can help you inspire the kind of customer loyalty that grows your bottom line and your business.
Live Chat. Everyone wants it but nobody wants to do it. It’s one of the hardest, easiest things that a company can do to provide stellar support. Implementation is easy: you find a tool that works for you, turn it on and put it where all of your customers can see it.https://www.kayako.com/blog/live-chat-customer-satisfaction/ But once you’ve done that, it can be exhausting: an endless onslaught of interactions, poorly worded or communicated questions, 24/7 expectations from your customers, shuttling back and forth between your ticketing system and a chat interface. There’s got to be a better way, right?
Keeping your support team staffed 24/5 (or 24/7!) is no easy feat, which means that it can be close to impossible to keep your live chat support operating all the time. That being said, how awful does it feel to type a long message into a chat box only to wait for 15 minutes or more and get no response? It is bad to lie to customers and give them a false heightened expectation for their experience. Even if it sounds bad to you, it’s better for them to know that there is no one there rather than wait for a response that is never going to come (or will come after 12 hours of waiting). Have no fear, though, if you are managing or a member of a small support team, there are ways to get around this that will offer just as good an experience to your customers.
The first option is to show your customer how many support team members are online to help them when they open the chat screen. You can even go above and beyond and let them know how long a typical response takes via live chat. While it can certainly be a bummer to see that live chat will take an hour to get a response back on, it’s better than waiting without any confirmation that your message has been received. Our live chat tool does this automatically for you. In the event that there are no support team members online to handle their inquiry, or the customer decides they do not want to wait for a response, you should provide the option for them to send their message in as an email.
If the help desk software you are using for live chat does not offer the option of showing how many team members are online and how long the current wait time is, you should consider implementing an option that lets the customer know, via a message response, that there is no one online and their message has been forwarded to the inbox as a support ticket. Do not ask the customer to do any extra work beyond what they have already done—they are likely already frustrated, and putting them in yet another help desk support funnel and asking them to do more work could potentially lose them for your company.
Not triaging your tickets
Just as in the inbox, there is not a one-size-fit-all description of what your live chat customers will need. Just like you triage your inbox tickets, you should triage what comes through your chat.
The easiest way to go about doing this is to utilize AI. I know, I know, you’re thinking: robots are going to take all our jobs! Robot chat is the worst! First: no, they aren’t. Second: no, it isn’t. Using AI to get your customer to the right place for the best support possible is a great way to ensure they have an awesome support experience.
A simple way to do this is: if someone mentions something with keywords like “billing” or “shipping” it should automatically be funnelled to a person on your team that handles those inquiries. Nothing is worse than waiting to finally get a chat response only to get a few messages in and discover that you actually need to be put in a different funnel. Luckily, even without using bots for full chat interactions, their functionality of machine learning and natural language pattern recognition can help greatly with automatic triaging.
If you do not have an option to have a robot do this triaging, having one of the members of your live chat team do some minimal triaging would make for a much better experience for all of your customers and save your own team members time and effort as they go through their queue for the day.
Asking for the same information multiple times
Context is so important in support and customer service software. Having to provide the same information multiple times (especially if the company already has that information) even just via email can be incredibly frustrating for customers. Imagine if, via chat, you are shuttled from one funnel to another and consistently asked to tell your story again and again. This is even worse if the person is on their phone or mobile device.
If someone reaches out to you via chat, that should be the only thing that they have to do. You shouldn’t funnel them to email, to twitter, or to phone, and furthermore, you shouldn’t ask them for their story more than once. Create context across all of the places that you provide support so that anyone who is getting involved with the ticket is able to see all of the information and not ask for more detail that the customer has already shared.
Make it easy for your company to easily move the customer from Twitter to chat, or chat to email without them having to take any extra steps to do so themselves. They may be willing to take the first step, but after that you’re likely just adding unnecessary friction which could potentially cost you a customer.
Rushing the interaction
Yes, the customer is using chat because they want their issue resolved quickly and in the moment. But, do not sacrifice quality of response or factual information for speed. 41% of customers have ranked live chat as their preferred means of support, but 38% of customers that use it have said that they are unsatisfied with their experience.
Most customers will be happy as long as you clearly set expectations. If you overpromise and underdeliver, you risk potentially losing someone who you could have easily kept happy and satisfied. Instead of rushing to get them a response that may potentially be incorrect or not as fully-fleshed out as a it could be, instead let them know that you are working on a response and will get back to them soon. This lets them know that you’ve seen the request and are actively working on a solution which gives them the same immediate satisfaction that they would have gotten from an actual response.
Of course, once you’ve let them know that you’re working on it, make sure to try to get a solution as fast as possible. Don’t just leave off to go and take lunch and get back to them a few hours later…
Formalizing an informal medium
Chat is quick and in the moment. Unlike email, your customers are not expecting a fully expanded “Dear Sir or Miss” response. Give them what they expect. Keep the tone of your chat support jovial and fun—within the confines of your brand’s tone of course. Use emojis or emoticons, use contractions. You do not need to use any “dear”s or “sincerely”s; replace your long, wordy lists with shorter, bulleted versions. Chat is meant to be clear and concise; don’t blow it out of proportion for no reason.
Operating your chat support team can be just as easy and straightforward as setting your chat tool up as long as you equip your team with the tools they need. Allow for triage, always set the right expectations, and only ask your customer the same question once, and you’ll be on your way to chat superstardom in no time.
By now, you’re already aware of the benefits of live chat. We talk about them all the time: increase in customer satisfaction, higher likelihood to close sales, larger transaction sizes; the benefits are endless…
…as long as live chat is done right.
When it’s done wrong, you can end up with frustrated customers, abandoned carts, and lowered customer satisfaction. Not to mention unhappy and overloaded customer support reps.
So, how can you make sure you get your live chat experience right?
Live chat software has to be seamlessly integrated into your WordPress site, connecting your customers and customer support team with your customer support software.
That’s where we come in.
Kayako Messenger for WordPress is specifically designed to create a seamless live chat experience for both your customers and your support team.
Kayako lets WordPress sites grow sales, increase revenue, and keep customers loyal through proactive and personal live chat, through the Kayako WordPress live chat plugin.
Why live chat for your WordPress site?
WordPress is one of the most flexible content management systems available today, and a huge number of businesses rely on it to build their brand’s website and deliver their online customer experience.
Because WordPress is so customizable, it’s essential to have a live chat plugin that works with and complements WordPress sites of all configurations, and creates a seamless user experience for your customers.
There are three main ways that Kayako Messenger, the live chat app, can be used to support customers and boost engagement to increase purchases.
1. Turn any website visitor into a new sales opportunity
Once installed, Kayako Messenger customer engagement features make it easy for you to proactively chat with browsing visitors, build better relationships, and close more deals.
Your WordPress site may be your shop window, but with Kayako Messenger it can be your sales assistant too.
Forty percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a company if they offer live chat. That’s just the presence of live chat, that doesn’t mean they’re using it!
They are also much more likely to make a high-value purchase on a site with live chat, compared to on a site without it.
In fact, our live chat research found that 63% of consumers who spend between $250-500 a month online are the most likely to both buy from, and be loyal to, companies who offer live chat.
Live chat is the ideal customer support channel for a WordPress site where customer interaction and a consultative approach is a core part of the purchasing process.
Take Bridge Space, the co-working and events space for entrepreneurs. Bridge Space use Kayako Messenger for their WordPress site to help answer website visitors’ questions about their membership and services.
Bridge Space have customised their Kayako Messenger so the look and feel of the chat window and welcome message match their WordPress theme and company brand and tone of voice.
2. Interact directly with your customers
Often, your website is your first point of interaction with your customers. Live chat gives you the opportunity to directly communicate with your customers on your terms.
We know that customers prefer to self-serve when it comes to support queries, and the data supports this: 46% of customers prefer live chat over any other channel.
Live chat provides your customers with a direct line to you – where they can ask the questions they need to be able to make a decision on your product or service, and solve any problems they may have.
Kayako Messenger connects your customer success teams directly with your customers in real time on your WordPress site.
Messenger connects directly with the customer journey in Kayako, showing you live customer profiles and real-time customer activity so you’re always personal with support.
Reduce the back-and-forth and get to solutions quicker.
3. Boost customer loyalty and benefit from repeat purchases
Ready to increase satisfaction and keep customers coming back to your website?
Customers want to interact with your business in real-time, and this shows: 51% of consumers are more likely to stay with or buy again from a company if they offer live chat support.
With Kayako Messenger, live chat is fast, effortless, and personal. Start conversations instantly and pick them up at any time.
By reducing handle time and keeping on top of conversations, you’re always personal with support and provide the level of service that customers need to keep them coming back again and again.
Live chat offers a way to give your customers support and it’ll pay you back, as 55% of shoppers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question, according to Forrester’s data.
The takeaway on live chat for WordPress
By installing Kayako Messenger on your WordPress site, you benefit your business and your customers in three key ways:
Grow new revenue by reaching new customers at the point of sale and providing them what they need to make their purchase
Increase loyalty with your existing customers by adding a human touch to your support and providing them with an effortless customer experience online
Benefit from repeat purchases from customers who are satisfied with their previous purchase experience and happy to spend more with you online.
What more reason do you need to get live chat for your WordPress site today?
Looking for the best WordPress live chat app? Try Kayako
Looking for the best live chat app for your WordPress site where you can support current customers, increase repurchases, and win new ones? Kayako Messenger might be the perfect solution for your WordPress site. It’s 100% free to start your trial today.
As technology and consumer behavior evolve, the way we provide customer service and support should, too. Until recently, customer service’s role was primarily reactive, addressing specific complaints as they arise—reacting to customer service issues after they happen.
Data around consumer preferences, a focus on customer experience as a competitive advantage, small and agile teams…all of these factors have combined to spur the popularity of proactive customer service. According to InContact’s recent study, a whopping 87% of customers want companies to reach out proactively about customer service issues.
And proactive customer service can do more than boost customer happiness—when Sam’s Furniture (a US-based retailer) began encouraging customers to start a live chat, they saw a $50,000 boost in monthly sales. Being proactive about customer service can help ease the burden on small support teams, too, reducing phone calls by 20-30% over one year.
No matter how big or small your customer service team, providing proactive customer support on live chat can help you reap big rewards.
How to use live chat proactively
Providing proactive customer service means more than just offering live chat on your website. Live chat is a valuable tool for proactively serving customers—but you have to use it the right way. That ‘right way’ varies depending on your team’s specific goals for proactive support.
The first step, as with any endeavor, is to outline your ideal outcome. When used correctly, proactive customer service can promote customer happiness, boost sales, and lighten the load on small, overburdened customer service teams. What are you hoping to get out of proactively using live chat? You might be looking to:
Engage warm leads (who arrived on your site from email, content, referrals, etc.),
Upsell to your existing customers,
Handle objections from return visitors who haven’t converted, or
Step in when customers are idle on support or FAQ pages.
With that outcome in mind, you can use the best live chat tool to engage with the right audience, provide visitors the information they’re looking for, and create a feedback loop to continuously improve.
Engage with the right audience
Customers love live chat—so much so that simply adding it to your website can boost revenue on its own. On the back end, you can do so much more to help your team make the most of live chat. Leveraging live chat to the fullest means you have to get smart about how your team’s bandwidth is allocated.
That starts with engaging the right audience. The right audience is engaged and ready to buy—and there are a few different ways you can set up your live chat tool to ensure support agents proactively engage with these customers.
Website visitors who are highly engaged tend to browse through more than just 1 or 2 web pages. In Kayako Messenger, you can specifically target leads who’ve visited a minimum number of pages. Once someone hits page 3, your live chat software can send a curated message, like “Have questions? Start a chat with one of our live agents below.”
Time on page
In the same way, when visitors spend a long time on one page, it’s likely they’re in the midst of a purchase decision. That’s a perfect opportunity for your customer service team to handle objections, provide additional support, or help with placing an order. In Kayako Messenger, simply set the time on page minimum. A good benchmark is to set it just above your average time on page (you can find that in Google Analytics.)
Chat box visibility
While you’d love to offer live chat customer service to everyone who visits your website, that’s hard to do with a small team. For that reason, it’s important to highly target which pages display your live chat box. You might, for example, only display the chat box on product pages (which lead directly to a sale) and support pages.
Give visitors the info they’re looking for
Proactive customer service is all about streamlining the support experience—for customers and your team. One of the best ways to do that is by eliminating unnecessary chat conversations before they start.
Limiting the number of chat conversations keeps customers happy and lightens the burden on your small team—enabling agents to provide stellar service in chat conversations that do happen…and, again, keeping customers happy.
The best way to cut down on chat conversations is to give visitors all the information they’re looking for, upfront in your chat app. With Kayako Messenger, you can communicate all the important stuff on your home screen.
A few key details to include:
Chat availability—when are your agents available for live chat?
Order management information—order status inquiries, where to find tracking information, how to place a duplicate order, etc.
Updates on widespread system issues. Is an outage or bug affecting a large number of customers? Share updates on the problem, timeline, and what you’re doing to fix it. You can even display social updates like your Twitter feed.
Your FAQs. You have an FAQ page for a reason—use it to nip unnecessary chat conversations in the bud.
Learn and grow
Being able to proactively serve customers and anticipate their needs means you have understand your customers on a deeper level. While data and research can get you part of the way there, they’re no substitute for genuine conversation. The more you talk, the more you learn, the more you know about your customers—what bugs them, what confuses them, and what you can do to proactively fix those issues.
That’s why cultivating a feedback loop is essential to seeing success with proactive customer service. With every support chat, get in the mindset of asking, How could this chat conversation have been avoided? Look at every customer problem as a chance to learn, grow, and improve the experience you leave customers with.
You can then use those learnings to:
Improve staff training
Create, add, and improve FAQ content
Update website copy, navigation, or design
Improve your product, website, or app’s user experience
Ultimately cutting down on customer frustration and the load your customer service team has to carry.
Co-design and co-development
Your customers—and the customer service agents who talk to them all day, every day—are a veritable gold mine for product development and design. Designing the most seamless experience for customers is a big part of proactively serving them.
That’s why the most successful companies bring customers and customer service team members together with product development and design. They draw on real customer feedback to find the best solutions to real customer problems.
Be proactive about serving your customers
According to our live chat report, almost 4 in 10 customers say they’re more likely to buy from companies who offer live chat—but just offering live chat customer service isn’t enough. In the same report, we found that 47% of consumers haven’t had a positive live chat experience in the last month. There’s a wide gap between customer expectations and the way companies are doing live chat customer service.
That gap is your opportunity. To delight customers and create effortless experiences, you have to provide top notch customer service and support.
Whether your team is small or just crazy busy, implementing proactive customer service is the best way to serve customers a seamless experience without taxing your limited bandwidth.
If you want to run a successful e-commerce store then exceptional customer service, customer satisfaction, and retention are essential. Having a well-defined customer service strategy in place can no longer be an afterthought. Below you can find five ways the largest e-commerce companies are boosting their sales through providing world-class customer service.
My good friend runs a content marketing company. When she got started, most of her clients were on a monthly retainer and paying for blog content and social media management.
She decided that she also wanted to offer email marketing services, and so she built a landing page and set up LinkedIn Ad, hoping to gain some inbound leads.
After a couple of months with no success, she decided to get on the phone with her current clients and offer the same services. No surprise – the results were much better! She sold the email marketing service to 80% of her current clients via phone.
She also switched the landing page form to a direct phone call button and was able to sell 2X more than she had sold with the form.
Why? People have questions. Especially when it comes to service businesses, both traditional and SaaS, because service solutions often need to be tailored to the individual customer. And, as hard as we try, we can’t answer everybody’s questions on one landing page.
Plus, tech advances have given us all the idea that everything has got to be immediate – we want answers, and we want ‘em now. Especially when we’re deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
Here are 7 ways that you can use phone calls and live chat to give your customers more immediate gratification and increase your company’s revenue.
Calls and live chat increase customer retention and upsell opportunities
These days, people want immediate gratification. Technology has given us all the expectation that results should be instant. Post a pic – minutes later, 100 likes.
How does this apply to sales and marketing?
Because technology shapes the expectations of people, it also shapes the expectations of clients and customers.
Calls and live chat are the most immediate form of communication available to modern customers. Other methods of customer support or sales help – like web forms – are going out of style.
Let’s say I’m a customer interested in your product/service. When I fill out a web form, I have to wait, usually days, before I hear back. Then, I’ve got to , generally for a couple of days, before I get answers.
People who have their questions answered immediately are more likely to stay satisfied customers, as reported by the Economist.
Improving customer retention by 5% can increase profits by 95%, according to Bain & Company.
How is that possible?
Up-sells. When your customers are satisfied, they stick around. And when they stick around, they trust you and are ready to buy more products or services.
An up-sell is when you introduce a current customer or client to a new product or service. If they trust your work/product and they like your customer service – they’re much more likely to buy more from you, upgrade, etc.
If these stats aren’t enough to make your head spin – check out this graph of upsell revenue opportunity compared to new acquisition revenues.
Offering upsells over the phone or through live chat is the most surefire way to close them since your sales and marketing staff can handle any objections and negotiate immediately, which brings me to my next point . . .
Your team will close more deals and negotiate higher value sales via phone
Good salespeople know they need to get on the phone when it comes to discussing price. When a client doesn’t approve of pricing or a proposal via email, they can choose to ghost you – and they often do.
Sales reps end up having to follow up multiple times, often to no avail, which is a colossal waste of time and effort.
When you discuss pricing over the phone, the interaction is more of a negotiation, and sales reps can handle objections and concerns immediately.
Agreeing on proposal or contract terms over the phone means you don’t have to worry about a prospect not responding to the proposal since they know what to expect.
You lose sales opportunities because of poor web form accuracy
Here’s what happens: You get a great lead via web form. They’re the right kind of company, with the right yearly revenue, and the decision maker filled out the form with problems you know your product or service will solve.
BUT, they made a typo when filling out the phone number or email address part of your web form. Or, you never captured the lead because the form flubbed, a button didn’t work, or maybe the form was hard to navigate on a tiny mobile screen.
We all know what it’s like to have to punch info into these tiny boxes on our phones:
Phones calls rid your company of this issue because calls always come attached to the right numbers.
Plus, call tracking software makes it possible for you to draw insights from call data and make improvements.
For example, by measuring your calls’ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), your business can improve marketing efforts with a clear picture of the source of your calls.
When you know where your calls are coming from, at what time of day, and from which decision makers, you can draw conclusions and make improvements to the way your team communicates. You can even adjust what you offer over the phone or live chat to suit the needs of specific callers better.
Phone call and live chat lead quality is superior
People pick up the phone or reach out via chat when they’re super motivated and ready to make a decision at that moment. This is a sales person’s dream come true. Someone calls them, ready to buy! Done deal!
68% of B2B businesses are looking to increase lead quality as higher quality leads mean more overall conversions.
Phone calls and live chat are more customer-centric
Phone and chat are much more personal. You can ask all the right questions, provide more accurate answers, and so can the prospect or client.
Web forms and other digital lead collection methods aren’t personal at all. Actually, they’re the opposite – they’re one-size-fits-all. They’re designed for the company to gain information while the prospect or client must wait for info via a response…whenever it comes. The customer’s success takes the back seat.
There’s a pretty hefty list of complaints about the one-size-fits-all nature of web forms
• They’re too long – What would take 2 minutes on the phone takes 20 minutes to type into tiny boxes on a mobile screen. You’re losing sales because people are losing their patience.
• They’re discriminatoryand intrusive– Asking for gender/race isn’t the best idea. It’s a good way to turn a prospect off.
• Captchas are annoying – Seriously how many times do I need to pick out street signs? People want answers, not captchas.
• They break – The most frustrating thing is when you’ve taken 15 minutes to fill one out and then hit send. Only to get a big, red ERROR. Another lost sale.
It’s no wonder why customers would rather have answers quickly via phone/chat.
When you improve your customer’s experience, you improve retention. And like I said before, a 5% increase in retention can mean a 95% increase in overall sales!
You can continuously improve your profits with real-time feedback from phone calls and live chat
Real-time feedback gives a company the opportunity to improve:
Customers having trouble with a particular web feature? If you get several phone calls or chats over the course of several minutes, all complaining about the same thing – you can let your developers and team know right away. Problem solved.
Quicker feedback means quicker optimization of your customer experience. Like we’ve discussed, when you improve your customer’s experience, you increase retention and satisfaction.
The company’s pipeline of business
Real-time improvements to customer experience are golden for both word-of-mouth marketing and your bank. The more satisfied your customers are, the more they’re going to talk. The more positive testimonials you’ll have. The higher your profits are gonna go.
Call filtering places a higher value on your sales reps
There’s a common misconception that answering phones requires a ton of company resources, both employee hours and money. But, a call solution can help you filter the calls placed to your sales reps. Meaning, they only answer calls from highly qualified prospects.
If your sales reps are only answering qualified sales calls, you’re saving everybody time and making more money.
So what can you do to improve your customer experience via phone and chat?
Monitor your call metrics to make improvements to your processes
89% of customers get annoyed when they need more than one interaction to solve their problem. Make sure customers don’t need to make 2 calls for 1 issue
Give callers the priority
47% of consumers say that a quick response is essential to their satisfaction. People are calling because they want help NOW. So, if a customer is calling, pick up! Keep multiple lines, and keep ‘em clear for customers.
Calls and live chat are improving sales, retention rates, and therefore increasing the profitability of the companies putting the tools to use. What’s been your company’s experience with calls and live chat?
If you’re like a lot of customer support professionals, you know how beneficial live chat software can be. It’s popular with customers—we love getting instant help without having to pick up the phone. So much so that 41% of consumers ranked live chat as their preferred method of contact.
When you’re working with a small team, adding live chat to your website can seem like asking to be flooded with way more inquiries than your team can handle.
But here’s the thing: live chats that come through to your team aren’t additional support queries. Offering live chat support doesn’t add to your workload, it streamlines it – moving customer queries from more traditional channels into a faster, more customer-friendly chat window.
Get the most out of live chat
Live chat enables a small support team in a lot of ways – and there are several things you can do to ensure your team gets the most out of live chat software.
Reduce back and forth
One of the number one benefits of live chat is that it enables you to make support more efficient by reducing back and forth. To properly address any customer query, you need some background information on the problem itself. In most support channels, that adds time and back and forth. The best live chat software pulls in valuable context from all around your website—and serves it up for agents—to give them a clear understanding of the customer’s issue.
Implementing live chat software that works with your online store and payment processor enables your team to move more quickly. Instead of going back and forth over phone, email, or social media, agents get the whole picture—seamlessly and from the start.
Empower support agents
Live chat software enables your small team to move faster, but red tape and rigid hierarchy can slow them right back down in a hurry. Forcing agents to stick to hard and fast operating procedures and complex escalation adds unnecessary time and frustration – for your team and your customers.
Speed is one of the main reasons customers love live chat. That’s why you should empower support reps to move faster by giving them the authority to make decisions and do what it takes to solve customer problems on the fly.
Boost customer experience
Effortless customer experiences do two things:
Make customers fall in love, and
Make life easier for your support team.
As your small business’ customer experience improves, customers have less trouble placing orders and an easier time using your product. Naturally, that lightens the load on your support team substantially.
Fifty-one percent of consumers say they’re more likely to stick with companies who offer live chat. That means the best live chat software has the potential to boost customer experience and retention and ease the support load – all without having to add agents to your team.
Tackling live chat barriers
Live chat software has the power to revolutionize the way your support team interacts with customers. That being said, like any other communication channel, it comes with its own frustrations that plague support departments large and small.
To make live chat software work for your small business and your customers, it’s important to tackle these challenges (like first response time and average handle time) head on.
First Response Time
In the technology world, live chat software is relatively new to mainstream use – and its inception hasn’t always been pretty. While it’s the most preferred support channel for a large portion of consumers, 56% of them can’t remember a single positive live chat experience.
Much of that disconnect comes from slow first response times. When new conversations aren’t picked up quickly, customers wonder How long should I wait? Will I get the support I need? Is there even anyone on the other end to answer my question?
Frustration grows and customers hear a soft whisper that grows louder as the minutes tick by: Your business isn’t important to us.
Here’s how to shut that voice up:
1. Proactively set up your live chat app
Setting up what customers first see when interacting with your live chat app can help nip frustration right in the bud, and cut down on unnecessary chat conversations.
Use a transparent and clear welcome message to set expectations around when chat is live and how long it’ll take to get connected with an agent.
Pull in recent tweets and FAQ articles to keep customers in the know about common questions or widespread problems.
2. Sync your team and customer conversations
Live chat software sometimes operates as a standalone app. Even integrated with your help desk software, it’s easy for new live chat conversations to get lost. Sync all support conversations into one shared inbox so your team can get a better handle on customer conversations coming in.
3. Set up notifications
Live chat stands apart from other support channels in the expectation of rapid fire connection. That’s why it’s vital to set up notifications for when new chats are started and give agents the best chance to meet those first response time expectations.
Build a custom view where your team can see real time conversations as they come in.
If you use Slack, send notifications about new chat conversations directly to your team’s channel, so everyone’s informed.
Average Handle Time
Once customers are connected with your support team, their expectations only continue. Customers want in-depth, personalized support – 38% are frustrated by scripted responses. And they want it quickly. Nearly a quarter of the customers Kayako surveyed said they’re annoyed with long wait times, too.
That puts your team between a rock and a hard place. Do you use scripted responses to speed up the conversation? Or do you say “To heck with handle time!” and offer more personalized support? It’s a trick question – by leveraging the best live chat software, you can improve the support experience in both directions.
Proactively give customers the information they need
The quickest chat conversation is the one that never has to happen in the first place. If your team’s drowning in questions like “Where’s my order?” it’s going to eat up valuable time you should be spending on actual customer problems.
Compile a robust FAQ page. Answer the questions you get all the time in one, centralized place – without sacrificing valuable chat time.
Use your custom welcome screen to remind customers which questions don’t require your help. Include links to helpful resources (like information on recent orders.)
Automate to keep support conversations organized
As your team and business grow, support channels can turn into weeds – overflowing their little pots and obscuring the plant that matters underneath. When your operation scales, it gets harder for agents to stay on top of customer queries and priorities. That’s when automation becomes your best friend. Use it to:
Route big, influential customers to the right agents
Automatically connect customers with agents in the right region
Prioritize chats with particular keywords, like “urgent”
Choose a live chat solution that empowers your team
The best live chat software is part and parcel to a comprehensive support solution. Your team can do their best work when customer queries are centralized in one place and they can get the whole picture behind customers’ support experiences.
Don’t choose a live chat solution that adds to your team’s workload. Choose the solution that streamlines your support load and helps agents provide more holistic, personalized support more quickly, with less stress and back & forth.
Make live chat software work for you
Adding live chat software to your customer support stack brings along its own barriers. But at the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
With 38% of consumers indicating they’re more likely to buy from companies who offer live chat support, simply adding it to your website can boost revenue. And the best live chat app streamlines support team operations – making the support experience better for your team and for customers.
Have you ever decided to step up from capturing photos on your smartphone to a dedicated DSLR camera? I bet the model you want comes with all the features you need, but also a bunch more that you don’t understand.
For small teams, live chat is a similar proposition. Is the investment of time and effort going to work in our favor? Won’t customers be too demanding? Isn’t live chat for big teams in major organizations?
If you run a small team, you may worry that adding live chat leads customers to ask for more help than you can deliver. Help with purchasing; help with returns; a host of specialized requests – it’s natural to have some reservations. Adding a new channel to your business is meant to create value, not stress. So let’s consider the fundamental question, why use live chat?
4 cast-iron reasons to use live chat
Live chat lets you provide delightful support
Live chat helps you drive sales
Live chat helps you have better conversations
Live chat plays to your small team’s strengths
1. Live chat lets you provide delightful support
The thought of introducing live chat as a customer support offering can evoke fear for many small businesses. It’s easy to see why because good experiences on live chat are hard to come by: 47% of customers haven’t had a positive live chat experience in the last month.
Support is offline despite displaying as available
Disconnections during live chat
Agents taking too long to respond
These frustrations shouldn’t be taken lightly. Every customer wants to feel like they’re more than a ticket number waiting in line. With live chat, that becomes an achievable goal …you just need to apply some common sense principles.
Whatever platform you use, your app has to mirror customer experience with any other live chat conversation. To do that, your live chat needs:
A support inbox that has all conversations in one place
Proactive live chat
Personal and contextual information
With Journeys and Conversations in Kayako, every interaction your customer has with your business becomes part of your support process. Site visits, purchases, shipping history, plus events from your own product, app, or service. So there’s no need to ask additional questions – the information your team needs to respond quickly and personally is right at their fingertips.
Let’s look at a typical customer service problem using Kayako’s Journeys and Conversations. Here, a customer can’t work out why her attempt to purchase a new coffee machine hasn’t worked, but thanks to Kayako, the agent can see the problem at first glance:
A simple message asking Taylor to try the last three numbers on the back of her card, and her purchase is done. We can see how customer context doesn’t just help the agent solve Taylor’s issue without friction, it offers up the added opportunity to make Taylor’s day with a loyalty reward. It’s the type of CX we all want for our customers.
With all relevant customer journey context gathered in one place, your team can start natural conversations that provide your customers with really useful information when they need it most. Especially if you target customers browsing help pages and FAQs.
No more frustration; just lots of impressed customers.
2. Live chat helps you drive more sales
Most websites provide customers with a relatively passive sales environment. Customers come to your site and then go as they please. And without intervention, they regularly do leave.
Live chat presents an opportunity for websites to interact with customers in a targeted, meaningful way. A good live chat tool is the equivalent of having a sales clerk in your brick and mortar store. It’s a customer-centric channel that shows you’re willing to help when asked. Or if you’d like to push for sales you can setup proactive engagement to message live chat.
Targeting customers is really easy in 2018.
You can see how Kayako completely transforms the quality of interaction that you’re able to deliver to customers, all based precisely on their behavior.
Of these high-spending consumers, 63% of people who spend between $250-500 a month online are the most likely to both buy from, and be loyal to, companies who offer live chat.
According to Forrester’s data, 83% of shoppers report needing help at some point during their buying process and 55% of shoppers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their question.
Customers who use live chat prior to making a purchase spend on average 10% more per order. In some cases, they spend much more. Intuit.com was able to increase average order value by 43% after implementing a live chat widget on their checkout page and increased sales by 211% by using live chat on their product comparison page. That’s quite a bump!
It’s a simple formula. Proactive intervention = sales growth.
3. Live chat helps you have better conversations
We’re slowly coming to the realization that customer conversations need to blend the best of email, live chat, and social media to achieve the nuance required in customer communications. We’re moving away from the idea that tickets are the only way to support customers.
Unlike one-dimensional traditional support tickets, live chat conversations can be rich and multi-dimensional – just like your customers. By having live chats with your customers, you can deliver a truly personalized customer experience, and you can continue to deliver this kind of personal touch as you grow.
Building a low-friction customer experience has benefits beyond making everyone’s lives easier. By treating your customer like an individual, not just a support ticket, you’re also increasing the probability of your customers returning and recommending you.
If we’re able to look beyond the support ticket and see the customer as the individual they are, your team can really move the needle on customer loyalty and make a lasting impact.
Kayako’s Journeys and Conversation helps both the customer and the support team get exactly what they want:
The Customer Journey gives the customer what she wants. Their needs are met on the first attempt: personal support with minimal back-and-forth. This will make them more loyal – The Effortless Experience, by CEB Insights, found that the less effort for customers to get support also correlated with an improvement in loyalty.
The Customer Journey gives the support team what they want. And for the support team, this looks great on your insights and performance metrics: your conversation resolution time just went down, and you’ve created another satisfied customer.
4. Live chat plays to a small team’s strengths
Have you heard of the LEGO experiment?
University professors ran experiments building LEGO structures and two teams comprised of either 2 or 4 people. On average, the team of 2 finished the task 20 minutes faster. It’s known as the Ringelmann effect: large teams may have more capacity, but small teams work harder, faster and better.
Live chat lets your small team really shine.
One of the best things about small teams is the lack of red tape. Small teams are more agile. You can leverage this flexibility to infuse every customer interaction with personality. You aren’t tied down to rigid operating procedures or complex tiers of escalation, so you’re better able to employ common sense and empathy common in order to transform customer experience.
Give agents the authority to make decisions, and autonomy to take action quickly. Small teams all over the world are learning how proactive live chat can help grow revenue, improve customer service and inspire brand loyalty by engaging visitors more intelligently with relevant, personal, timely messages.
Maybe now is the right time for your business to start reaping all the benefits live chat can offer?
Find out how you can use Kayako to support customers and engage new website visitors with Messenger. Take it for a spin. Free for 14 days.
The online services that we use today are generally very reliable. When you want to watch something on Netflix or YouTube, you can be sure that 99% of the time, the service will be accessible.
However, it is inevitable that something will go wrong at some point. When it does, it pays to have a competent and responsive support center to handle troubleshooting.
It’s good to see support centers finally getting the love they deserve. There is a growing recognition of the important role that tech support has to play with regards to large tech companies and service providers. But this renewed interest in help centers and the job that they do is beneficial to both businesses and consumers.
With that in mind, here are seven support centers (in no particular order) that we couldn’t help but love.
7 Great Examples of Help Centers We Love
Companies are finally giving customers what they really want: fast, accessible self-service. When you think about what troubleshooting involves, which is looking at a list of symptoms and from them deducing a cause, this is the kind of task that a computer equipped with a database can make light work of. Over the last decade or so there has been a continuing shift toward fully automated support systems for troubleshooting common issues.
While this technology is still not fully matured, it has already proven itself a viable pursuit. Once the technology does mature, it will be able to provide customers with more reliable, more accurate, and faster solutions to their technical problems.
If the current reactions from customers are anything to go by, the new, independent support experience is here to stay.
Why design the best self-service pages?
A recent study by Aspect found two really remarkable trends, both of which are worth bearing in mind for any business who operates a help center:
Three out of four customers prefer to help themselves before reaching out for live support.
65 percent of consumers view a company favorably if they can solve an issue without calling customer service.
1. Customers want to be able to help themselves, and most of the time they will
Google is a sophisticated tool for searching through the internet. If you are ever faced with a specific error message for a particular product or service then you can almost be certain that running that error message through Google will tell you exactly what your issue is and how you can solve it.
2. When customers are able to solve issues themselves, it reflects well on the company
This is true whether your company actively helped them to solve their issue, or whether they did it on their own steam. If you include thorough help documentation with your products so that users can troubleshoot most issues, this will help a great deal in increasing the number of consumers able to solve their own issues.
Customers have made it clear that the best possible experience would be a quick, effortless support experience online – and they’re leaving behind businesses that don’t get it.
Can you blame them though? The online services that we use today range from simple entertainment, to services that we are dependent upon to be able to perform our respective jobs. Given how critically important many of the online services being used today are to their users, it is easy to understand why so many customers place such great value on having access to a reliable help center.
3. Different support paths make sense for audiences and fields they target
For example, companies that deal in personal finance make their phone numbers highly visible. SaaS businesses generally focus on tutorials and technical troubleshooting, but offer live agent help as a secondary step.
Being able to identify the most appropriate form of tech support for your audience, and how you can most effectively go about delivering it to them, will be a key factor in your success here.
How will you design your Help Center?
The best support centers are intuitive, guided and simple. But they don’t all have to look the same to be effective. In fact, most businesses would prefer to take any opportunity that comes their way to differentiate themselves from their competitors and make themselves stand out. If you can add some unique features to your help center, this will give you another advantage over rivals.
The thought of introducing live chat is daunting. You’re opening up the floodgates to a new channel, and it’s another thing added to your already growing list of apps to manage. Why bother with live chat if it adds this much pressure to you and your team?
Live chat is increasingly becoming an essential support tool as a growing number of customers won’t shop somewhere that doesn’t offer real-time chat.
But live chat doesn’t have to be a burden. It can be lucrative for your company and easy on your agents, so long as you can learn to manage multiple chats like a pro. Here are a few strategies to keep in mind.
Why handling multiple chats is so difficult
One of the biggest barriers to handling live chat effectively is that these messaging programs create more problems than solutions and add more tasks for your agents to try to juggle.
Traditional live chat services can also cause frustrations because they usually lack the ability to see a customer’s entire journey and what might have led them to reach out. Unlike say, an email chain, your agents have to start from zero to suss out a customer’s problem. Without the ability to see other communications with your company—emails, calls—agents have to do more work to help customers, which means longer wait times.
While live chat might make communication with customers a little easier (or at least closer to the way we communicate with friends and family today), it can complicate internal communication at your company.
Adding chat at a small company, where your support is centralized and everyone is in constant communication, might not be a huge adjustment. But traditional live chat services—as opposed to a unified solution—can slow your team down as soon as you start to scale.
If your traditional live chat tools aren’t working though, there are a few steps you can take to bring down your long handlings times and improve customer satisfaction.
How to handle multiple chats without pulling your hair out
1. Get the strategy right, first
Setting up live chat isn’t as simple as adding it to your website and seeing what happens. If you can do a little bit of set-up before you launch, you’ll mitigate a lot of problems later on. Here’s how to do it, even with a small team:
Set expectations so customers know when they can get in touch. Display business operating hours, which agent is online right now, and when he or she was last active.
If your team is fielding the same few questions over and over on live chat, consider adding links to FAQs or self-service articles on the home screen to cut down on the volume of people reaching out. If you’re experiencing an outage, let users know on the home screen, as well.
Avoid making customers wait. Customers hate sitting in a what feels like an endless queue to receive support. But there are ways to get around this: Assign live chat conversations as urgent, then send your most important, high profile customers to the right members of your support staff for the best treatment.
If your team can’t handle the pressure of increased conversations, reduce your proactive engagement settings. Try opting for more targeted engagement on sales and support.
2. Use automations to your advantage
Automations, when used effectively, can help you meet your service promises (SLAs) within a reasonable amount of time. Here’s how to make the best use of them:
Categorize your users by geography. This way, you can match your U.S. customers with your U.S. team for efficiency.
If you want to ensure your VIP customers get connected with your best support agents, you can create an automation to do just that.
Targeted engagement can also be used to proactively reach out to potential and existing customers. For example, if someone is spending a lot of time on your website’s FAQ page, you might set up an automation to open a chat from the support team asking if that customer needs help. Or if a customer keeps browsing your pages, a member of the sales team can step in.
Step in with proactive help. With targeted engagement you can offer help to customers who are browsing your help articles and FAQs—assure you are assigning this to support team. And Sales help to the sales team.
3. Improve your conversations on live chat
For customers, the best conversations on live chat appear natural and efficient. They want to know that they’re talking with a real human, who is trying to help them as quickly as possible.
To that end, to make the best use of live chat, you’ll want to direct your agents to avoid using scripted responses. This helps customers feel special, like you treat each and every person like an individual.
Though natural language is the best bet for talking to customers, sometimes your agents need to rely on a few shortcuts to save time. If you’re fielding commonly asked questions on live chat, encourage your agents to try directing customers to your FAQs and self-service.
Use live chat to provide great support
Live chat doesn’t have to be stressful! If you can do a little legwork first—adding automations, setting a cohesive strategy—and empower your support agents to take a personalized approach, you’ll have the chance to delight your customers while offering them a tool that they want.
Looking for live chat software where you can handle multiple chats and stay personal with every customer conversation? Kayako might be the one for you! Give it a try on a 14 day free trial.