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The 5 Reasons Live Chat Fails

This article originally appeared on CallCentre.co.uk.

Live chat was supposed to bridge the gap between the more personal offline face-to-face experience and the impersonal online experience. It aimed to create a low cost, alternative customer service channel to the phone – in touch with the modern way consumers interact with brands.

Call center agents can handle multiple simultaneous chats and customers receive fast and efficient help and advice without leaving the website. But, in practice, the market is still full of many poor examples of live chat implementation in terms of user experience. Why are customers still not receiving help when they need it, still being shifted between channels? The result is that they leave sites and businesses to seek better – and timelier – help elsewhere using alternative channels.

Here we look at the five key reasons why live chat (when done the wrong way) is failing both customers and businesses.

1. Security concerns

Many customers (in some demographics it is as high as 25% from our research) think live chat is not secure and businesses risk losing website visitors. When choosing a chat provider, probably the most important factor – especially for the financial, health and legal sector – is to have a secure chat window, which will display ‘HTTPS’ for the customers’ peace of mind. For companies who prioritise security, an alternative to cloud-based live chat is an on-premise solution. Installed within your own data centre, all conversations and information received are kept secure, behind your firewall, and not on somebody else’s server.

2. Expectations not met IN chat

WhosOn industry research shows that 15% of customers have had a bad experience with one of the live chat solutions. Resource availability is the top annoyance for visitors.  What is the point of having a chat icon visible, if nobody is free to take any incoming enquiries? All good chat providers will ensure that the option to chat is removed from the site until the staff are available to assist. In the meantime, the chat window can be replaced with a call back request window to ensure you do not lose custom.

To ensure your customers are directed to the correct department, skillset or even specific agent, we would recommend the use of a pre chat survey. This is a box that appears before the chat to ask a couple of questions about your customers’ requirements.

3. Expectations not met AFTER chat

78% of those who receive a poor follow-up to a live chat will return to other forms of communication, following our own industry research. A trusted chat provider will offer the ability to integrate with your current CRM system, meaning customers won’t have to repeat details as all information and chats will be visible to the agent instantly.

A ticketing system will allow you to raise a task, assign it to an agent, with a due date and relevant record notes/chat history attached. This is stored against the customer record, so if they return and begin a chat, the ticket is immediately visible. Also consider post chat surveys – a great way to continuously improve upon service.

4. Execution

11% of repetitive proactive chat invites causes customers to leave the site, according to a report published on e-tailing.com.  Set triggers that automatically send a dynamic invite to the customer, when they clearly need help – as you would help them in a high street store.

The triggers should be fewer and smarter, based upon keywords entered in the search engine used to find your site or even the time spent on a specific page – these invites will be welcomed as opposed to a deterrent.

Use prospect detection to prioritise hot prospects using your own rules – i.e. over a certain basket value, from a specific location where a marketing campaign is active, or once a specific item has been viewed. Link this to dynamic invites, so that once somebody is defined as a prospect, the invitation will reflect the circumstance – for example “10% discount for Midlands customers, click to talk to an agent now”.  Remember, correctly executed, proactive invites can increase your conversion rate by 28%.

 5. Poor implementation

22% of customers don’t even notice that live chat is available during their visit, according to the same report on e-tailing.com. Positioning and branding is key, it needs to be at a main focal point on the site – not hidden down with the company registration number.

It needs to match the look and feel of your website, showing the customer that it’s not a foreign object – use your corporate colours, your logo and even agent pictures to build trust to enable a conversation to commence.

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