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Window of Opportunity: How to Improve Performance with Every Live Chat Interaction

The average live chat interaction lasts just 11.5 minutes. How can you train agents to use this time to make a definitive impact on site visitors – and know it when they do?

To make the most of your live chat investment, you need to be sure your agents are operating at an extremely high level – and constantly improving. Of course, it’s not realistic for supervisors to watch every engagement. Fortunately, today’s leading live chat platforms provide the insights needed to measure, monitor and coach your team’s performance one agent at a time.

Live chat customer interactions

Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

There are a number of reasons why your organization might have decided to launch a live chat program. Maybe your focus is increasing online sales conversions, or you’re simply looking to enhance your customer service efforts. Whatever your mission, success depends on your ability to secure key performance metrics and accurately interpret this information to optimize your team’s productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

To that end, here are five key metrics that should be on every supervisor’s radar:

  • Account utilization: At a very high level, use metrics such as queue wait time and number of missed chats to keep a pulse on overall performance of your team. As the numbers ebb and flow, you’ll be able to pick up on seasonal spikes and dips, define daily peak times and recognize when something critical has shifted.
  • Agent utilization: Similarly, you should monitor agent level performance to see how productive your agents have been and how their time has been split between multi-chat, single chat and idle time. Use this information to identify training needs and to adjust staffing volume to improve performance.
  • Service level performance: Monitoring chat agent performance is critical to maximizing the return on investment (ROI) you can achieve with live chat. Key data points include comparing average chat length and average handle time, and calculating the ratio between customers serviced and those that decide to abandon a chat request.
  • Customer satisfaction: Success depends on having happy customers. Customer satisfaction reports based on post-chat survey submissions and message-level feedback provide essential insight into your staff’s ability to address the needs of both your existing and prospective clients.
  • Conversion tracking: It’s important to track how chat is affecting online sales conversions as well as the ability of your live chat staff to influence conversions. Use your platform’s reporting tools to identify when sales convert, the value of the conversion and the agent responsible for helping make it happen. This will help you identify individual user behaviors and discover patterns of success from which to establish your department’s best practices.  

Monitoring & Mentoring

While these KPIs help you obtain a big-picture view of your team’s performance, change happens at the individual level. Developing the skills of your live chat team has the potential to not only increase productivity and customer satisfaction but to also reduce staff turnover. Critical to achieving this is providing thoughtful feedback to your agents. By utilizing your live chat platform wisely, you can quickly and easily assess an agent’s performance and provide in-the-moment mentorship using these three tactics:

  • Real-Time Chat Shadowing: Get an inside look at chat operations as they happen by viewing pre-chat surveys, and using your live chat software to shadow chats that are in progress – without the website visitor being notified. In doing so, you can identify coachable moments in real time, communicate with the agent behind the scenes and turn an everyday chat into a real-world training opportunity.
  • Chat Review and Feedback: You can’t fix what you can’t measure – and you can’t improve what you don’t see. The best live chat platforms allow you to filter chat transcripts in order to review the most pertinent interactions and deliver granular feedback by sharing annotations with agents.
  • Proactive Chat & Canned Messages: You may be directing your team on the best times to try out features like proactive chat and canned messages. If you are working with these features, be sure your live chat platform offers testing and reporting functionalities so you can continue to fine-tune their use. It’s important to observe how visitors are flowing through your website, especially when implementing proactive chat at different points in the process. Use your software’s monitoring tools to look for opportunities where proactive chat might be most effective. For canned messages, consider A/B testing different variations of the same messaging to help your agents get it just right.

Just as your live chat platform requires configuration, so, too, does your live chat team rely upon your input and feedback to optimize its performance. With the proper live chat tools and processes in place, you can respond to spiking line graphs with appropriate staffing adjustments and transform daily chat interactions into coachable moments. Seize that window of opportunity to empower your agents and delight your customers. Make those 11.5 minutes a space where experimentation is encouraged, improvement is expected and every chat is better than the last.