Why Live Chat is Not a Shield but Your Best Tool

“In an era when companies see online support as a way to shield themselves from ‘costly’ interactions with their customers, it’s time to consider an entirely different approach: building human-centric customer service through great people and clever technology. So, get to know your customers. Humanise them. Humanise yourself It’s worth it” –Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business

Organisations are looking to automate online interactions with knowledge bases and chatbots, however this strips away the human element involved in communicating, making it robotic and harder to wow the customer.

These channels may offer cost-effective ways of providing answers to visitors’ enquiries, but when every organisation provides this type of service, there are no relationships being built between your representatives and the customer, therefore any loyalty is near extinction allowing them to freely shop around.

When customers are facing issues they want to make sure that not only are they being listened to, but are being understood. They want to know that an organisation is empathic to their situation whilst solving it, whereas a chatbot would only provide an answer, and if it was to offer its apologies, the customer would know it’s not actually sincere. Knowledge bases are predetermined with responses; therefore it is frustrating to visitors if they cannot find the answer they need.

Live chat is an instant communication channel that connects visitors to a company representative in real time. The chat session is held one to one and both parties’ converse by transmitting text based messages.

Live chat can hold some protection for the visitor, as they can use the communication channel at a time that suits them without the fear of being overheard. It can also encourage customers to contact the organisation who wouldn’t necessarily call with their enquiry, due to not wanting to wait in queues / on hold or live with a health condition that prevents them from using the phone. Because of the quick nature of the engagement tool, customers are more likely to ask shorter questions they would have previously not asked as it wouldn’t have been worth the effort.

It is understanding your visitors and why they do certain actions, such as choose live chat over other communication methods to contact your organisation, that will help you to focus your approach and improve your customer satisfaction. Some live chat solutions will include real time monitoring, which allows your analysts to review visitor behaviour such as the pages viewed, duration on the site, their referrer and any keywords supplied by the search engines. Tracking your visitors can help your organisation keep up with their demands as when their behaviour starts to change, your company can identify and react quicker.

Now that your company is getting to know your customers through their behaviour, your operators can add the human touch with their chat interactions. To ensure your representatives are at the best they can be, training is recommended, so they know:

· How to take a chat

· How to use functionality provided to aid operators within chat (Predefined Replies, Auto Navigation etc.)

· How to transfer chats, invite an operator into chat and have internal chat with supervisors

· How to store and delete chats

This is just some of the basic functionality that users should learn, however this may vary between solutions. Management can monitor their operators’ performance on a regular basis, which can help the, identify further any training areas that need refreshing, e.g. product / service knowledge, providing speedy but accurate responses.

Live chat software is a clever technology that provides insights into your visitors’ behaviour and your operators’ performance, helping to humanise quick interactions online. The best solution with customer service is to keep it human, and keep it customer focused.

Author Bio: Gemma Baker is the Marketing Executive for the UK’s best live chat software provider, Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.