Customer Experience News & Trends

Be the best at Web chat: 4 keys

Getting better at Web chat promises higher customer satisfaction and increases sales. That should be reason enough to hone your customer service professionals’ Web chat skills.

In fact, more than 90% of customers who’ve used Web chat are happy with the opportunity and ability to get help in buying decisions, resolve issues and get tech support, a Firstsource study recently found. It’s a rapidly growing way to make customers happy: Nearly 40% of customers use Web chat now — and 70% would use it more if more organizations offered it, the study found.

Of course, if you want customers to use it, reps need to take the customer skills they already have to a different level — by taking them to a real-time, written format.

“Training contact center agents so that they are equipped to handle customer queries and resolve customer issues is a given today,” said Jonathan Pinto, senior manager of business transformation at Firstsource. “But organizations should invest in training agents to meet critical chat-related capabilities.”

Where to go now

To be more effective at Web chat:

  • Create a strategy. Your goals may be one of many — divert phone calls, increase sales or build a bigger online presence. Whatever you’re looking to do, create a detailed strategy around it. Recognize the costs and risks, as well as the savings, anticipated successes and return on the investment along with the execution plan.
  • Segment customers. All of your customers will not use Web chat. Identify the customers who need it most and will most likely use it. When you know who is likely to use the tool, you’ll know the level of information Web agents must know — and you can identify when an issue should move from online to a personal phone call.
  • Recognize new metrics. You can ignore the old contact center standby metrics — at least for a while. For example, agents will be able to handle more than one customer at a time, so handle time isn’t an issue anymore. You’ll also want to make room for new benchmarks. For example, since Web chat will likely deflect some calls, perhaps calls deferred is a new metric you’ll want to adopt.
  • Train agents. Like any other communication channel, this one must be backed by resources. Reps who handle chat need to have detailed and up-to-date information at their fingertips. So building a company database that’s accessible anywhere and anytime is vital.

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