Using Live Help to Support a CX Focus

In the live help world and elsewhere, a focus on customer experience (CX, or CEX) means shifting the attention from the provision of services to the experience of the customer receiving those services.

In the live help world and elsewhere, a focus on customer experience (CX, or CEX) means shifting the attention from the provision of services to the experience of the customer receiving those services.

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Live help is a great type of customer service activity to guide and strengthen your customer experience strategy.

This is challenging for many organizations, as gathering information about what services your organization is providing is much easier to do than gathering information about what your customers think and feel about those services.

Live chat reporting has come a long way in this area. In its earlier days, reporting for live chat software was largely limited to information about efficiency. How long were customers waiting to be served on average? At the manager/admin level, what was each chat agent’s productivity? Some savvier websites may have included a post-chat satisfaction survey (whether provided by their live chat software vendor or by their own design), but that was about the extent of it. Thankfully things have changed, but more on that in a later blog post.

Admittedly, even just looking at data about wait times and missed chats can be helpful for guiding CX efforts, and post-chat surveys moreso still. Honestly, as starting places go, you could do much worse.

What CX-oriented companies ultimately need is this: some means of measurement that empowers them to continually improve, such that customers are eager to promote their company to friends and colleagues because those customers feel well-supported by a smart vendor who strives as hard as they do towards their continued success.

A CX Focus Means Continuous Improvement

Flavio Martins is a veritable guru when it comes to customer service, including customer experience management- but in the last two weeks he’s put some particularly excellent content out on his Win the Customer blog, with points that resonated very deeply with the live help team at Velaro Live Chat.

The article “Continuous Customer Experience Improvement is a Lifestyle” focuses on two key ideas. First, that continuous improvement is an essential characteristic of successful service organizations. Second, that it is a cultural issue, not merely a process issue (though it relies heavily on a cyclical process).

“While it’s natural to judge individuals or processes based on results, it’s more effective to realize that people and processes are fluid and naturally evolving. No individual or process is perfect from the onset. With careful study, learning, and application, people and processes can be improved. Everything we do, can be more than we think it to currently be. Development and improvement are not only a paradigm for people, but also for processes and technologies. Improvement is a choice. Continuous improvement is a lifestyle.”

As its name suggests, you are never “done” with continuous improvement. But that’s part of the compelling value you’re providing to your customers. You will never stop striving to beat your previous best, to equip your customers to do better and better and even better still.

For those just getting started, this may sound intimidating but it actually should be encouraging. Your process is not perfect. That’s ok. Start with what you can and understand that you’ll improve as you learn more. This fits into a larger discussion about being transparent with customers, which I won’t get too deeply into here – but you get farther by admitting failures and learning from them rather than by denying them and attempting to cover them up.

A CX Focus Means Engaging Customer Advocates

The other important piece about CX I wanted to steal from Win the Customer is the more recent article “Grooming Your Customers As Brand Ambassadors” – featured on Flavio’s blog, but written by Alistair Roque. The blog post focuses on creating loyal customers and equipping them to do some of your best marketing for you. There’s one piece I wanted to share here from the “building loyalty” section and one from the “ok they’re loyal, now what?” section.

First, Alistair’s middle step to becoming a loyal customer: choosing you again. Well-executed marketing and sales can convert leads into customers, and have those newly minted customers feeling excited about it- but ultimately if those customers don’t stick around, that means something is either wrong with your product or your CX process. Repeat business is a better indicator that you’re doing something right with your CX process than new business is—unless that new business is coming from customer referrals!

To that point, the other piece from the article you really need to pay attention to is that once you have loyal customers: “give them something to talk about.” Whether that’s beta-testing new features or encouraging them to write reviews or involving them in other ways. Show your customers that you want to be as valuable as you can to them, and that their engagement is essential to helping you achieve that.

Live Help and CX

Live help is a unique medium because it is both real-time and digital. That means that you can actually collect and respond to data in the moment, as well as easily aggregate data to look for general trends that might call for broader process changes. Obviously this is all vital to continuous improvement and customer engagement.

Additionally, by giving your chat agents access to the transcript history for any web visitor, you equip them with the information they need to make meaningful recommendations to your customers. If it seems like they’ve contacted your live help team a lot recently about a particular issue, your agent could point them to a relevant FAQ page or training resource. The important thing is that the focus is on providing value to the customer, not extracting value from them by pushing sales on them.

By soliciting customer feedback on the quality of the chat as well (at a minimum via post-chat satisfaction survey), you’re simultaneously engaging your customers in your mutual growth and gathering the data you need to continuously improve.

If you are serious about advancing a customer experience strategy in your service organization, keep these points in mind as you update your live help practices.

7 Tips on How to Handle Angry Customers Without Losing Your Cool

Working in customer service can be easy and rewarding when someone calls with a compliment or simple problem to solve. However, some customers make it tough to keep your composure.

Working in customer service can be easy and rewarding when someone calls with a compliment or simple problem to solve.

However, some customers make it tough to keep your composure. When you are speaking with rude or angry customers, it is a natural reaction for you to want to get angry in return—but you are at work and you cannot let that happen. Below are seven tips on how to handle angry customers, whether it be on the phone, on a live chat or live help session, or anything else, all without losing your cool.

Looking for a visual, shareable guide covering these tips? You’re in luck! Download our infographic on How to Handle Upset Customers.

1. Don’t Take It Personally

Although angry customers take their frustration out on you, they know that you did not cause their problem. Allow them to vent about their problem, but do not take it personally. Listen to their story without interrupting and then find a way to help.

2. Never Argue Back

It is natural for upset customers to express their anger, but some customers can take things too far and your reaction may be to defend yourself. However, as a professional customer service specialist, you should never argue back. Maintain your integrity and be the better person. If customers begin to abuse you verbally, let them know that you understand their frustration and that being rude will not solve their problem. Let the customer know that you are there to help, but you cannot do so until they calm down.

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3. Kill Them with Kindness

If your angry customer refuses to calm down, then kill them with kindness. Be sincere, respectful, and understanding. Show sympathy for their situation and express empathy for their frustration. By keeping calm and controlling your own anger, you may find that your customer will ease up a little too. Try to make a joke to lighten the mood or share a story to show that you can relate.

4. Be Patient

Each person and situation is different, so be patient and understand that it may take a little longer for some angry customers to relax—and some may get angrier as the call or live chat continues. Stay in control and try to direct the conversation to a happy resolution. Do not rush the phone call or live chat, but keep in mind that you have other customers to help.

5. Know How to Apologize

When the time is right, apologize to your customer. I know how difficult it is to be sincere when you are trying not to lose your cool, but for the sake of calming down your customer, try your hardest to give a genuine apology. Depending on the customer’s complaint and the direction of the conversation, there are a few different ways you can apologize.

  • “I’m sorry you are unhappy with your purchase. Let’s work together to turn things around.”
  • “I’m sorry you didn’t receive your purchase on time. Let me find out what I can do to make it up to you.”
  • “I’m sorry you are so frustrated. I understand where you are coming from, and I will do my best to help you.”
6. Solve the Problem

Once your angry customer has finally exhausted his or herself, ask questions to gather facts on the problem. Work with your customer to find a resolution that satisfies you both or else you will go right back to where your conversation began. However, keep in mind that you are running a business and do not overcompensate for the customer’s complaint. The solution should be fair and justifiable for both parties.

7. Relieve Your Stress

End the phone call or live chat on a happy note and find a way to relieve your stress. Let your anger go away with your customer. Whether you take a walk around the office, drink a cup of coffee, eat a piece of candy, or vent to a coworker, do not keep stress cooped up inside you. If you do not relieve your stress, you will be a ticking time bomb waiting to lose your cool on the next angry customer—or even worse, your boss.

How Do You Handle Angry Customers?

Keeping your cool with angry customers is not always as easy as it sounds. Share your tips on how to maintain composure when dealing with an upset customer. Tell us a story of the rudest, most unreasonable customer you have helped over the phone or through a live chat.

If you want to share these tips with your team, coworkers, or friends, download our infographic on How to Handle Angry Customers. Need a way to proactively engage with customers on your website? Try Velaro live chat software for free today!