Live help can improve both sides of the customer support experience, making a positive impression with customers and making things easier for staff.
On the customer side, the experience of engaging customer support is a positive one if it can be described by the following three characteristics:
1. Effective – was the issue resolved?
2. Convenient – was support accessible and efficient in resolving the issue?
3. Pleasant – were support staff courteous (respectful, empathetic, attentive, etc.) in their interactions with customers? (bonus points if staff were engaging or had a sense of humor, but that’s not a replacement for being courteous)
The first point, effectiveness, is largely going to be impacted by hiring, training, and knowledgebase tools (if your staff can’t access and understand the answer, they’re going to have a hard time helping a customer with it!). It’s on the second point, convenience, and to an extent the third point, pleasantness, that live help can really make an impact. I’ll get into the details of how next week.
Live Help Supports Support!
On the staff side, an interaction with support is a positive one if it hits the following four points:
1. Efficient – was the time to answer (customer wait time) and time to resolution within team goals?
2. Effective – was the issue resolved in the first interaction?
3. Customer Satisfaction – was the customer satisfied with the support they received? This is just as much an issue of communications skills as it is of actual technical support.
4. Documentation – was the case attached to the right ticket, closed, assigned, etc. appropriately?
On the staff side, live help software can actually impact all four of these points, though some preparation may be required depending on what your organization’s current processes are. Again, I’ll get into the details of how next week. One final note for this week.
Customer Experience is Too Important to Ignore Live Help
Customer experience is increasingly the differentiator for companies, not price or features. Think about Verizon vs. Comcast or Southwest Airlines vs. United Airlines—you know which of the pair are (more) infamous for their bad service. Some of this is just better marketing, but at some point even exceptionally good marketing can’t salvage exceptionally poor customer service. This is true whether you’ve experienced it personally or you’ve heard about it from multiple friends, colleagues, family members, etc.
Admittedly, some of the “importance” of this is on the sales side of customer service rather than on the support side – especially when you consider how easy it is to go to a competitor’s website and complete a transaction there (especially if they are using a click-to-chat live help solution!). However, there are implications for customer support as well.
Everyone’s had the experience of dialing into a support line and waiting and waiting…, and/or having to choose between some volume of options none of which clearly represent what you’re trying to accomplish, and some of the more unfortunate have had the experience of being juggled by multiple transfers and possibly even of being disconnected during one of said transfers or while on seemingly eternal hold. I’ve been one of those more unfortunate customers, it’s frustrating and discouraging! But I’ve also been one of those fortunate customers who has called into a company with exceptional customer service. Service that leaves me saying to myself: “Wow, this company really has its act together.” When you surprise and delight a customer like that, they tell their network of friends, colleagues, etc. how remarkable your company is.
Live help reduces wait times and directly engages the customer about their needs. It makes it easy for a support rep to direct customers to the information they are seeking and to remain compliant with your company’s protocols. By improving the customer experience, you help build the next wave of advocates or promoters for your company. By streamlining things internally, you ensure that live help software doesn’t become just another burdensome obligation your team needs to allocate time and money into implementing, learning and staying on top of day after day—its value is clear to the customer, to staff and to your organization as a whole.
Check back in next week for details on how live help can impact convenience in the customer experience, and efficiency and documentation on the support staff side. In a subsequent post, I’ll speak to the role of live help in building pleasantness in the customer experience, and effectiveness and customer satisfaction on the support staff side.