6 tips for delivering great customer service on web chat

09 April 2018 by Anita Matthews

6 tips for delivering a brilliant web chat experience

Conversational commerce and service with a live agent is driving a new deal for brands and consumers. For many it’s now far easier to type a quick question than to pick up the phone and spend time stuck on hold or navigate a bewildering IVR system.

We already spend significant amounts of time on social media, texting or using messaging apps like WhatsApp so it makes sense that customers find it quicker and more convenient to use web chat.  

  • 90% of customers consider live chat helpful (ATG Global Consumer Trend study)
  • 63% of customers said they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat as opposed to one that doesn’t (Forester)
  • 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer (Forrester)

Adding web chat for digital customer service is a great way to reach out and engage with customers as soon as they land on your website. Having someone available to quickly answer questions and support them through the buying process will greatly increase the chances of them making a successful purchase and returning as a satisfied customer.

Ready to get started?

Here’s 6 tips to help you deliver a great web chat experience.

#1. Create a strategic plan

Define what you want to achieve, whether it’s faster response times, or improved customer satisfaction and align these goals with your wider organisational mission. Be realistic about the resources that you have available; staff and budget, as well as the timelines you are working to. 

Customers expect a consistent service regardless of the channel so consider how you are going to integrate web chat with your other channels. Consider using a digital customer service tool like Sentiment which will enable you get a 360-degree view of your social and digital customer interactions.

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#2. Design a streamlined process

Your web chat process needs to be streamlined and easy for your customers and staff to use. Use a provider that offers a unified inbox to ensure you don’t miss any incoming messages and can quickly engage with customers.

Identify peak times when your customers contact you, as this will influence when your web chat agents need to be online and available. Ensure your agents are ready to respond - build intelligent automations to help manage any volume spikes and route enquiries to be the right agent so they can respond at hyper speed.

#3. Build a winning team

Agents working on digital channels such as web chat have the opportunity to define the brand experience. The language, tone and responses they provide will drive the customer experience. They must be empowered to deliver high quality service for each and every interaction. Help your agents imagine it’s a real conversation – show empathy and build rapport by using any previous interaction history to build a real connection with the customer.

Ensure you create a team with the right skills for the job.  They’ll need to be able to handle written communications and be confident with spelling and grammar. Remote working can be a great way to boost available skills and to access an otherwise unavailable pool of talent. It can also improve agent engagement and will help you provide out of hours support or quickly upscale your team during busy periods.

Use an informal ‘social’ tone to create two-way conversations. Work with your communications team to ensure it reflects your brand personality and the tone you may already have in place for other digital channels such as social media.

Create clear guidelines for agents to follow around escalation procedure and how to respond to different types of questions or comments.

Have a clear agent training plan to ensure agents stay up to date with your products and services and can provide accurate information to the customer or prospect.


#4. Use AI and chatbots carefully
Chatbots are best for simple routine tasks

AI is dramatically changing the customer service landscape but it can’t provide the level of personalisation an agent can.   AI can help with simple routine tasks and, if handled correctly, a chatbot can provide useful support in triaging incoming messages or handling very simple questions.

Chatbots are best used where you can predict the question and create a standard scripted response. But they don’t yet have the necessary level of sophistication needed to handle more complex enquiries. This is when your customer service team comes into their own.  Using a bot for the simple stuff enables agents to focus on more complex interactions and means they can deliver a higher level of customised support.

#5. Monitor satisfaction levels

Ask customers what they think of your service so you can monitor the quality of the service you provide. Use short satisfaction surveys such as CSAT or NPS to ask for quick feedback on how happy customers are with the service they’ve received. You can easily do this within the Sentiment platform for both web chat and social media channels. The simple format makes it really easy for customers to complete, meaning you get great response rates – often of 50-60%.

Net CSAT Scoring - Reports

#6. Measure and analyse your results

Web chat can provide a host of useful customer service data to help you better understand customers and prospects. Create regular reports to uncover important insights and drill down into your customer interactions and behaviours to identify any areas where they may be getting stuck in the buying process.

Consider a digital customer service tool like Sentiment to manage both your web chat and social media customer care and give you even better insight about how to improve the customer experience and increase satisfaction levels.

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Tags: webchat, customer retention, digital customer service