What's In Store | ICMI
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What's In Store for Tomorrow's Chat Customers?

Live chat is an important part of business, and customers really appreciate the fact that they can speak with a representative in real time without having to pick up the phone. Chat works better for many individuals, especially when they are busy doing other things or they do not have access to a phone. The live chat feature is not too recent of an introduction to the business world but it has grown substantially in popularity since it was introduced. Businesses caught on to the idea of helping customers through live chat and ran with it. And now, many businesses even communicate and help their customers through other outlets such as video chat and social media.

The only problem that arises with a live chat situation is when the customer needs help resetting their password or they need help with another type of technical situation where seeing is better. These situations can be difficult because some tasks are easier to show than to verbally explain. Explaining the process can complicate the situation even more.

So what’s the solution? The introduction and concept of self service within live chat is making a big difference in the customer service world. This type of support is more efficient and also helps customers feel like they are receiving even better, more personalized care. Customers are able to get instant, accurate answers in real time.

Companies, such as WalkMe, offer an online step by step guide. The tool is interactive and also easy to use, making it very effective in the live chat world. This type of program can be regarded as a sort of GPS for the Internet. There are useful tip bubbles that pop up and allow customers to click to speak with a live representative. The bubbles offer permalinks for customers to view more information about their specific problem as well. When the customer clicks on the live chat link, the connected representative can then see where the customer is and exactly what they have clicked on. This helps the representative better explain the process and provide specific direction. These types of walk-throughs are highly effective, as the agent can actually watch what the customer is doing. This means that the representative can detect if the customer has made a mistake, and help them fix it.

This level of efficiency can cut a company’s expenses in half simply by freeing up agent time and allowing agents to assist other customers.

So What is Next for the Live Chat Support World?


The live chat world will improve over the coming years and will help engage employees while also providing more effective customer service. Interactive responses will help guide and show customers what they need to do, which will result in less time being spent trying to correct answers.  If more self-service tools are integrated into live chat services, efficiency will be the key to success.  Agents will have more time to deal with multiple customers, meaning the company will save money.  Having efficient agents who can tackle more customers at once means that customers are happy too.   It’s often thought that social customer care will be the forefront of customer care for the future, but I believe it will be a more personal touch that is certainly more manageable.  Social will still exist (very prominently might I add), but live chat will be more engaging and controllable, with the ability to track and monitor customers as they get the help they need.  

What Problems do Companies Foresee with Interactive Live Chat?

One thing that companies and employees must remember is to not overload themselves with chat screens. It is typical for a representative to handle 2-3 screens at once, but anything more can cause confusion and complication, as well as delayed wait times.

Some companies are afraid that their call volume will decrease, but you must remember that customers are still contacting you, just in a way that’s more convenient for them.  The contact center must meet customers where they are. 

Another problem and concern is how to staff for this type of interaction with customers. It is important to remember that companies will need more employees to handle customer chats and as telephone calls. Depending on what your current call and chat volume, you may only need to add in a few employees.

Final Thoughts

Although live chat has already become a prevalent form of customer support, the overall consensus is that interactive live chat will continue to grow at great rates and will pay off in the long run. By adding self-service tools that customers and employees will use, both will be happier and more empowered and customers will have another channel to turn to for effective and efficient support. This will elevate the customer experience to a new level.

Having the ability to visually demonstrate solutions to problems will improve customer satisfaction and result in better revenues and service.

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Topics: Chat

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Zoey Richardson — 10:46PM on Apr 10, 2014

Great article! Talking about live chat, I accidentally came across inside, and after looking through their site http://www.inside.tm/, it morphs a business website into a virtual storefront so business personnel can see and help their site visitors in real-time using chat.

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