5 Tips on Embracing Chat in Customer Service
[Estimated read time: 4 minutes]
As a brand, customers want you to value their time and to communicate in a meaningful way — and chat can make that happen. If you’re looking for more evidence, here are some numbers for your consideration:
- 65% of US adults have used chat as a customer service channel
- 52% of customers say that they would be likely to text with a customer support agent
- 97% of Americans use a text messaging app at least once a day
Particularly among millennials, messaging platforms such as iChat are gaining popularity. A growing number of people are communicating through messaging and chat apps. This is often because chat apps don’t count against monthly SMS limits or data usage, and they feel like real-time conversations.
If you are left wondering why you should care or what using chat can bring you, there are several benefits. Customers want to know they can trust you, and you want to have their brand loyalty. Chat can help lower the barriers to first contact, increase conversion, and help brands develop genuine relationships with customers.
The easiest starting place for integration is with your website, as that is where customers are likely to go for the most information. Still need some help on embracing this trend? Fear not, here are five tips that will provide a better experience for your customers.
Tip #1: Use Customer Journey Maps to Identify Chat Opportunities
It is critical to know how your customers will interact with your brand and it is crucial to knowing how they will escalate the conversation from chat to voice and then video. Using customer journey maps can help understand that journey from chat to agent.
Imagine you are a retail brand selling televisions. You know that customers interested in buying from you are likely comparing prices and features from competitors. Using chat would help provide a real-time interaction with the customer as they are comparing, and will allow you to engage them and further the conversation in a mutually beneficial way. Chat windows can be handled by either a live agent or a chatbot using existing knowledge to communicate.
Tip #2: Leverage Bots to Do Some Heavy Lifting
If a customer is going to interact with your company, particularly with chat, it is fair to say that most of them expect 24/7 service. This may seem impractical, maybe even impossible without automation. This is where chatbots come into play, as they can absorb some of the extra work from your website and your mobile messenger.
Chatbots can learn from interactions, are great with automated responses, and can free up your live agents to handle some of the more intellectually demanding problems and issues, making them more proactive in educating and working with customers.
Tip #3: Enhance Your Knowledgebase
Having a unified knowledgebase allows different audiences access to the same information. This means you must only worry about keeping information correct and up-to-date in one place, and it will improve accuracy rates across the board.
This can be done through authored content, connections to trusted sites, and/or your business systems. With the right system in place, it’s possible to track questions that come in that don’t yet have an answer and provide an authored response for the future. or provide a similar answer in the meantime. The key is to have a solution designed to produce accurate answers and improve interactions.
Tip #4: Consider Escalation Options to Voice and Video Chat
If a customer asks questions or has a problem that a chatbot cannot answer, they can then be escalated in a systematic way. If the agent or consumer feels it will be beneficial, they can be escalated from chat with a live agent to voice or video.
For example, imagine you are trying to install a new TV but are having some difficulty. Using a messaging app, you reach out to the company that manufactured it and begin chatting. Once you’ve explained that you’re having some trouble, you decide to move into a video chat that enables the agent to see what you’re seeing and provide better assistance.
Tip #5: Ensure One Continuous Conversation
As a company wanting to build brand loyalty among consumers, you want to make sure you deliver what your customers want and need. Companies that use the information given in prior interactions are able to give a more personalized, seamless interaction to their customers.
As a customer moves through different channels in their interactions, they want one continuous conversation with your brand. This is critical as it avoids the frustration of having to start over from scratch, something that usually happens when moving from one channel to another.
With a CRM interface, agents can be given customer context to allow for a smoother, continuous conversation with information provided by previous interactions or from the chatbot.
For further information on embracing chat and messaging, check out our webinar. If you are interested in more tips for success with chat, download our tip sheet and for more information on chat as a service, view our infographic.