One of the Best Customer Service Channels You May Not Be Using

One of the Best Customer Service Channels You May Not Be Using image livechatlivechatSome brands think it’s old school; others think its limited use might not warrant the human resources investment, but for customer satisfaction ratings, the numbers don’t lie.

Consumers who use live chat for service and support talk it up as one of the most satisfying support channels available today. Stats from the new eDigital Customer Service Benchmark report show live chat out in front in terms of customer satisfaction levels with 73% of consumers saying they were happy with their live chat experience. In comparison, email had a 61% satisfaction rate, social media had a 48% satisfaction rate, and phone came in at just 44%.

The eDigital survey of more than 2,000 consumers echoes other 2013 customer satisfaction surveys including BoldChat’s 2013 Live Chat Effectiveness Research Report which showed a 77% good or excellent satisfaction rating for chat. The survey of almost 5,000 global online consumers showed the speed with which questions were answered, plus the short wait time as the main selling points for live chat’s high satisfaction.

A Look at the Live Chat Customer

The BoldChat report also offered an interesting profile of the average live chat user, who is:

  • More likely to be less than 50 years old
  • More likely to be college educated
  • More likely to be a woman
  • Far more likely to be a frequent shopper
  • Far more likely to spend more per year than average shoppers
  • Less likely to be from a household making less than $50,000/year.

Top 5 Most Important Service Factors for Customers Using Chat

  1. Product/service knowledge of the agent
  2. Chatting with a real person
  3. Speed of agent response
  4. Overall quickness of the entire chat session
  5. Not overusing canned responses

5 Best Practices for Live Chat

The delivery of live chat often determines adoption and success. Featured here are five best practices for offering live chat proactively or reactively for customer service and support:

  1. Extend an Inviting Invitation. The best invitations to chat feature custom branding and personalized brand messaging and address the specific interests of the customer or the actions they are taking in a particular section of the site. Custom invitations have been proven to greatly enhance adoption rates. In welcoming chat users, make sure your chat offering is in a prominent location on your organization’s website. The 2013 BoldChat report above shows the top right corner of a website as the clear winner for prime positioning.
  2. Aggressive chat pop-ups are typically a turn-off. Consumers should have the ability to close or decline a proactive chat pop-up invitation. Aggressive live chat pops are typically found to be intrusive and annoying; consumers prefer chat options that they are able to initiate on their own terms.
  3. Good conversations carry a lot of weight. Best practices for live chat include a friendly, informal tone. If your organization promotes the use of canned responses, try to reword them so that they don’t sound that way. But, even though customers enjoy a personable, informal tone doesn’t mean being lax with good grammar and punctuation. A lack of proper capitalization and punctuation has been proven to slow reading and cause confusion for consumers.
  4. Don’t make the customer wait. Many CSRs are engaged in multiple chat sessions at one time with different customers. If this is the case for your organization, the key is to never let the customer know this. Speed of agent response is a critical key for high live chat customer satisfaction ratings.
  5. Knowledge is Key. 92% of chat users agree that the product and service knowledge by the chat agent is the most important element for a successful interaction. Agents must know their stuff or have access to a current internal knowledgebase when it comes time to chat with their web-savvy customers.

Though some big brands such as Amex have shied away from it recently, live chat may be a best kept secret when it comes to increasing customer support satisfaction rates. For customers who prefer it, it’s certainly a welcome sight in the multi-channel offering and one of the best customer service channels you may not be using.

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