Customer Support service can be rightly called the backbone of any successful and profitable business model. The sheer importance that efficient customer support has in attracting and retaining the clients and its impact on revenue demands that a significant amount of time and energy be put into optimizing it to provide the best possible support to the customers. The customer support system be it maintained in-house or by a third party via Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) should include all possible streams of data collection and customer outreach to ensure maximum quality of service.
Online real-time chat support service has come to attain a crucial position in existing customer support model as it has proven its mettle in a very short time. In fact, 79% of customers have said in a recent survey that they prefer Chat support over other methods of troubleshooting or getting their complaints resolved. Chat support services offer a number of advantages over other approaches, some salient ones include:
- It’s a quick response strategy and customer gets an instant reply to all their queries and complaints
- It is usually the most easily approachable method as the chat box is prominently visible on a webpage
- A single support agent can tend to multiple clients at once thus increasing the workforce’s productivity and efficiency
- It’s a cost-effective method as chat support doesn’t need much extra infrastructure or manpower to be operational
- It has proven to be a sure shot method to increase sales, as verified via a study by Forbes
But as always, easier said than done. Reaping the above-mentioned benefits is no piece of cake. Most businesses fail to realize the true potential of chat support due to some minor problems in the planning and execution of this service. Below are a bunch of tips and tricks aggregated from long discussion and capacity building sessions with our customer support experts that offer a sure shot way to ensure that you get the maximum possible Return on investment (ROI) when it comes to chat support services.
1. It should be real-time and quick
The most obvious advantage that chat support has over other methods is that it is instantaneous and real-time and this is where most organizations go wrong. To be exact, 21% of companies fail to respond timely to online chat requests according to a survey. This is a major stumbling block in maximizing the lead and revenue generation potential of chat support and must be taken care of on priority.
One possible solution to this timely response issue can be to employ a team of support agents spread throughout the globe so that someone is active at all times based on their time zone and working hours. In this era of internet and digital access, it is quite easy to find home-based workers on a global level willing to work at all times.
Automated responses are another viable option that can be used to minimize the response latency but it has a whole lot of operational guidelines and merit its own heading (discussed below)
2. It should be non-intrusive
Chat support has come to be a vital element of digital content strategy and the chatbox is usually a prominent feature on any webpage and this is a good strategy. The problem occurs when it is given extraordinarily large space on a page and it begins to affect with visitor’s experience of consuming the web content that is of equal but more important.
The same principle applies for pop up messages urging the visitor to use chat support. No doubt, a proactive approach is good but there is a fine line with easily accessible and intrusive. You need to find that threshold and stay below it. This will ensure that not only the visitor has the best chance of fully engaging with the content but chatbox is merely a glance away if needed.
3. Use chatbots but with due diligence
One simple solution usually put forward to take care of quick responses is to employ chatbots i.e. algorithms and software that uses pre-determined responses to engage a consumer until a support agent becomes available. Given the need of urgency in tending to customer queries and to meet the expectations of prompt replies, chatbots seem like a good option but extreme care and diligence are needed or they can do more harm than good.
Make sure that scripted messages are designed in a very generic and neutral way and provide on very basic information to the customer. Anything more specific and it should be forwarded to a human being. Automated texts can create an impression on the consumer that they are not being taken seriously, this must never happen.
4. Focus on personalized support
The usual idea associated with chat is one-on-one interaction and the customer always expects to be given chat support on a personal level. This may seem difficult to achieve with automated responses or a single support agent handling multiple communication channels simultaneously but it is as much crucial as it is difficult.
But need not worry as technology is here to save the day. There are a number of analytics and data collection tools available that can gather all the required data points on said individual and give support agent ample information on the visitor so that they can engage in meaningful and effective communication.
For example, the online profile of the visitor indicates a strong interest in petting cats then the agent (be it human or chatbot) can casually drop some hints or comments related to cats so that the visitor is able to bond with them. This increases their chances of having an above-average level of confidence in the support staff.
5. Ensure mobile availability
This is another very important but often overlooked dimension of chat support service. Most chat boxes are prominently visible on a desktop webpage but are usually tucked away to a corner in mobile mode. This has a significant impact on the productivity of chat support especially considering the fact that 63 % of internet users use a mobile device to access worldwide.
It is absolutely crucial that mobile platforms have a robust and fully functional chat support mechanism. Considering the relatively smaller size of working on a mobile screen, chat support option can be embedded on the page as a clickable pop-up or in the form of a prominent button that seamlessly opens the chatbot when clicked on.
Integrating chat support with mobile platforms has become relatively easy in recent times owing to the widespread proliferation of mobile apps. Just set the chat support button to switch to a popular messenger app such as Facebook messenger or WhatsApp when prompted where support staff is ready and waiting.
6. Integrate chat support with other services
At the end of the day chat support is only one of many customer support strategies that you have deployed so it is highly recommended that all of these wings are well-integrated and made part of a cohesive and streamlined customer support strategy. This way not only different platforms can benefit from different forms of data collected by each other but this will also ensure a comprehensive and wholesome experience for the customer.
If rightly done, several different methods of customer support can complement each other. Chat support can be used to send customer video tutorials, animations, and DIY guides. Similarly, a chat conversation should be designed in a way that it can be seamlessly shifted to a more formal mode of communication i.e. email support if the situation demands.
7. Always Follow up
Customer satisfaction should be the end goal of any good customer support strategy and chat support is no exception. The urgency required to respond to customer queries may make it more preferable to just resolve the issue at hand and do away with the complainant but that is not the optimal way to use chat support service. Instead, it should be used as an opportunity to attain much-needed insight into the customer’s preferences and then use the invaluable data for future pitches.
It is essentially mandatory to always contact the customer after the issue has been resolved in order to get a general overview and feedback from their side. Customer feedback is also important because it will provide immensely valuable information on how to optimize the customer support experience particularly the chat support service considering it is the most preferred choice of visitors.
8. Employ a BPO service
A Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a third-party service provider that takes care of non-core systems of your organization. Considering the extent of financial and human resource needed to establish and efficiently run around the clock chat support service along with other customer support services, it can be an immensely challenging task to manage especially for a young and upcoming business.
Using a BPO service can also bring around a multitude of other benefits such as a dedicated team to handle all B2C communication with a proactive approach. It also relieves you of the burden of managing an entire department that can be easily taken care of by outsourcing it to a capable third party.
So, these are just a few of the strategies that you can employ to maximize the potential of your customer support service in general and chat support service in particular. The most important takeaway from this write up should be the realization that chat support is fast becoming the default mode of communicating with the customers and this is precisely why it deserves a much highly prioritized focus when planning the overall customer support mechanism. Outsourcing can be a viable option but extreme vetting and due diligence are needed in this regard.
Get in touch with TransData’s team today and understand the importance of chat support and other relevant service provided by TransData that you can use as a stepping stone that meets your current and future business needs.