Live Chat Fails: Three Things Customers Hate

Is your customer service department up to the task? Here are three ways live chat agents fail to meet customer expectations—and how you can avoid these common pitfalls.

Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels (73%) of any customer service channel (versus 61% for email and 44% for phone), with customers citing fast answers, the ability to multi-task and efficient communication as the top benefits.

However, as these advantages have become clear to customers so, too, have expectations for the live chat experience.

Is your customer service department up to the task? Here are three ways live chat agents fail to meet customer expectations—and how you can avoid these common pitfalls.

#1: Slow service

Many customers opt to use live chat to avoid the delays commonly encountered when calling a customer service line. Because speed of service is often closely tied to a customer’s overall satisfaction, many live chat departments track and optimize their first response time, or the time between when a customer’s issue is submitted and a customer service rep’s response.

Use your live chat platform’s reporting and analytics tools to ensure you have the bandwidth needed to meet your customers’ expectations for timeliness and to effectively manage peak times for live chat activity.

#2: Keeping customers in the dark

There is no “hold music” for live chat, so agents must keep customers informed of what they cannot see from their side of the screen. If the customer’s issue requires additional research and delays the ability to respond, say something. Rather than immediately typing a long-winded response, let the customer know you need a minute to explain. Then, break the information down into short, digestible chunks that can be easily read – or sum up the answer and link the customer to a manual or FAQs page for more information. Whatever the case may be, keep the customer engaged and informed, every step of the way.

#3: Overusing canned messages

Canned responses can be integral to juggling simultaneous chats and maintaining efficiency, but overusing or misusing scripted text can be an instant turnoff to customers. Similar to automated phone menus and call center scripts, canned responses can make customers feel like agents don’t have the time to interact with them on a personal level.

Create flexible canned responses that can be customized as needed, and train agents to recognize instances, such as extreme customer dissatisfaction, when a more spontaneous, personalized approach may be needed.

Ensure you have the right strategy the next time you’re contacted by a dissatisfied customer. Check out our infographic, How to Handle Angry Customers >>

How to Close the Live Chat “Delivery Gap”

Your agents are working hard. Customers seem happy. But how can you be sure you’re delivering the service your customers expect?

Your agents are working hard. Customers seem happy. But how can you be sure you’re delivering the service your customers expect?

According to an oft-cited report by Bain & Company, 80% of companies that were asked believed they were offering a “superior experience” to their customers. However, when their actual customers were surveyed, just 8% agreed. Don’t fall into the trap of making assumptions about how customers are receiving your customer service efforts.

With the analytics tools available through today’s leading live chat platforms, there is no reason for this “delivery gap” to persist. Follow these steps to obtain and leverage critical insights into customer experience to ensure you’re meeting expectations.

Look at the data.

The best live chat platforms provide many avenues for performance tracking, but it’s important to decide what metrics help you reliably measure customer satisfaction. If you focus too heavily on one key performance indicator (KPI), you may get a skewed perception of success.

For instance, you may think, chat volume is up – great, our live chat platform is gaining traction and customers are engaging. However, an unexpected spike in activity may indicate that you are lacking key information about new products on your site or that your FAQs or technical manuals are incomplete. Analyze multiple KPIs, review chat transcripts and consider other contextual data to help fill in the blanks when trends shift unexpectedly rather than assuming the cause.

Gather feedback.

A lot can lie between the lines of a chat transcript. That’s why it’s important to directly survey your customers on their chat experience. You can obtain measured and qualitative feedback during or after a chat session with intuitive surveys.

The best live chat platforms also allow website visitors to express pleasure or displeasure with individual lines of text written by your agents. By gathering this granular feedback, you equip your organization with the intel needed to better anticipate potentially negative triggers and adapt your best practices accordingly.

Keep improving.

Just as your brand evolves so, too, will the needs of your customers. Make sure your customer service organization is equipped to manage these shifting needs. Take a quick pulse on performance by looking at Net Promoter Scoring to see where expectations are being met and where improvement is needed.

But don’t stop there. Examine the transcripts for chat sessions that performed extremely well or poorly in post-chat surveys. Use your live chat platform to monitor individual agent performance and look for coachable moments to provide real-time feedback.

With the proper intelligence to guide you, your customer service organization can continue to improve, turning bad customer experiences into good ones and good experiences into great ones.

Ready to get the insights you need to increase customer satisfaction? Check out our Comprehensive Reporting Brochure to learn about Velaro’s multi-faceted analytics platform.

Why Conventional Wisdom About Live Chat is Not Always Right

Live chat is still a fairly new phenomenon, but in a relatively brief span of time, it has impacted both sales and customer service operations in the world of e-commerce, B2B, and beyond. By nestling itself into unexpected industries and taking up unforeseen applications, one thing’s for sure: live chat has stretched far beyond the box in which it once resided.Security

Here are three persistent pieces of conventional live chat wisdom that deserve a second thought.

#1. Live chat’s only purpose is to reduce cart abandonment.

While it is true that live chat serves to troubleshoot issues or questions that could break a sale, its influence extends beyond the purchase at hand. When customers share their pain points directly, companies have the opportunity to not only help eliminate barriers to immediate purchase but to potentially affect future buying habits. Recommendations made by live chat representatives may lead to an upsell or a future purchase. Yet on the flip side, knowing your customers’ unresolvable pain points allows your company to effectively develop content to address industry challenges and/or refine and innovate products that address unmet needs.

2. Live chat is a burden on staff.

While launching new processes and aligning multiple business areas is never easy, once fully implemented, live chat has consistently been shown to save on employee task time when compared with call centers. That being said, it’s important to train your staff thoroughly to confirm their knowledge of both your live chat software as well as your website and product portfolio. Once up and running, your live chat program will work more efficiently than phone support, which will lower average interaction costs, reduce wait times, and allow live chat representatives to multi-task, rather than working through an overwhelming queue – something both your customers and your reps can get behind.

#3. Live chat users are annoyed by pop-ups and proactive invitations.

According to a recent study by Forrester Research called “Making Proactive Chat Work,” 44 percent of US online consumers reported that they like seeing a chat invitation pop up to help answer questions during online research or purchase – up from 33 percent in 2012 and 27 percent in 2009. While this is an encouraging trend, and proactive chat has demonstrated numerous benefits, including increased average order value and a boost in conversion rate, you can optimize its value through smart implementation. Leverage data analytics and predictive modeling tools to ensure you are delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time.

Want to learn more about how live chat can support your unique business needs? Get the infographic Why Velaro Chat Works >> – See more here