Do you offer live chat support or want to offer customer service chat? Make sure to avoid these pitfalls
Adding chat support - or switching completely to chat support from traditional channels such as phone support - can reduce operational costs and resolve customer concerns faster. Research also indicates many customers, especially younger ones, prefer to try online chat customer support before they reach out over the phone.
But beware: To keep customers happy and loyal, you have to make sure your chat support improves the overall customer experience instead of adding friction and frustration. We’ve identified common pitfalls to avoid- along with the one thing you need to make sure you do.
1. Turning everything over to chatbots
Understand the difference between chatbot support and live chat.
Live chat tools offer your website visitors a way to directly connect with your customer service team via real-time messaging. Customers talk to a real person, but unlike phone call support, customer service agents can talk to several customers at once and give them individual attention.
Chatbots mimic the activity of talking to a real person, but are actually just conversational interface tools. Chatbots can answer common questions, refer customers to knowledge base articles, or refer them to the correct section of your website.
For both, businesses often use custom chat widgets, use chat systems through CMS providers such as Salesforce, or offer it through messaging platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.
While chatbots can use AI to gather information, respond to common issues, and direct customers to the right department, more complex customer support issues benefit from a real person offering real-time solutions.
That’s why it’s a mistake to make a sharp turn from full-service customer support to chatbot only.
If you’re eliminating the option of phone support, or simply want to steer your customer to digital channels first, you need to include an option for customers with more complex issues, whether that's live chat , phone calls, or case management.
When your customers have no way to solve complex issues, they may turn to social media to vent their frustrations or just stop doing business with you.
2. Repeated channel switching
Imagine this: Your customer starts chatting with you, but 99% of those conversations end up with a referral to a phone number. Don’t offer chat support if the agents (or bots) operating the channel don’t have the power to solve problems.
Be clear about when customers should use the chat function on your website and when they should call you. If you don’t offer live chat, or you require phone support to verify information, make sure you explain that clearly so you don’t waste your customers’ time.
3. Long wait times
The point of a customer support chat, as opposed to a phone call or email support, is for your customers to access help immediately. If your response time makes them idle, pick up the phone, or get frustrated, you need to rethink your strategy.
Make sure that your chat offers some immediate attention, even through a chatbot. You can also make it clear on your website when your live support is available, so your customers know when they can expect to receive a response from your support team.
4. Making customers repeat information
Few things irritate customers more than asking them for the same information repeatedly. Asking them to describe a complex situation several times can make a problem seem worse.
Likewise, if you force your customers to describe the issue they’re trying to resolve at the beginning of the chat, only to ask them to repeat the information once a live agent responds, it can make a bad situation worse.
You can eliminate repeated information requests by syncing login credentials to your chat, so you only have to verify a customers’ identity instead of asking them for account information that they’ve already entered.
5. Not analyzing customer chats
If you’re offering chat as a method for customers to interact with you, you need to also measure how well those interactions go. This should go beyond a basic question such as “Did I resolve your problem today?” or a post-interaction survey. These chats offer insights that can improve your customer experience and guide you toward business improvements.
Skipping chat analysis threatens your customer service experience, since resolution rates or use of the live chat software alone won’t tell you all you need to know about customer satisfaction.
With phone support, many companies use voice analytics and speech analytics to analyze metrics such as average handle time (AHT) and first call resolution. At Tethr, we believe in measuring the metrics that really matter now. While call times and resolution rates can give you basic information, we focus on numbers that give insight into your customers’ experience.
That includes things like these:
- How many of your customers are frustrated?
- Are any customers about to churn?
- Do your customer service agents address problems? Are they helpful and proactive?
- What issues cause the most frustrating conversations? What issues is your team unable to fix?
For these conversations, we score variables such as customer frustration, customer effort, agent impact and monitor key moments.
Tethr makes it possible to gain a comprehensive understanding of customer interactions without requiring a post-interaction survey - making it easier for your customer and automatic for you.
Interested in learning what analytics Tethr can find in your chats?
We offer a 30-day free trial, which gives you a self-service demo of all of our analytics dashboards. The trial allows you to see all the metrics Tethr measures and how it analyzes calls and chats.