ICMI is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


A Recipe for Award-Winning Live Chat Support

Learn more about Signs.com, winner of the 2017 ICMI Global Contact Center Award for Best Chat Support

“It’s nice to see such a wide variety of metrics used to measure the success of this channel. In addition to this, the inclusion of Quality Assurance audits, reviews, and CXO oversight lends well to the ongoing success of this channel. Hugely impressive that the CXO gets a copy of every chat.”

      - 2017 ICMI Global Contact Center Awards Judges

According to ICMI research, more than half of customers now prefer to interact with companies via live chat. It makes sense, right? As expectations rise, customers want fast and efficient service, and they want service that fits their lifestyle, not the other way around.

The catch: offering chat support is not enough. The customer’s experience with chat must match that of your other channels--if not exceed. We’ve all been on the other end of a terrible chat session. Slow response times, lags in the conversation, and glitchy technology is annoying. So, what’s the secret to delivering exceptional live chat support? Signs.com is leading the way, and their stellar work earned them the recognition of the ICMI Global Contact Center Awards for Best Chat Support in 2017.

Madison Page, Signs.com

How do they do it? There are many keys to their success, but what stands out is the way they designed their chat offering with the customer in mind, the way they collaborate across the organization, and the way they use metrics in their relentless pursuit to improve. Want to learn from their approach? This article shares an inside look at the Signs.com team.

Giving Customers Peace of Mind

To make any new channel implementation successful, you have to start with a clear goal and purpose in mind. For signs.com, that mission was simple: make the purchase process less stressful for customers.

“Because we offer a custom product, no matter how informative our site is, our customers still have questions that are unique to their custom graphics,” says Madison Page, Manager at Signs.com. “For peace of mind, customers like to quickly speak to a professional with questions or concerns before they make the purchase. We found that chat is the best channel to accomplish this. Because we can answer questions quickly and thoroughly, it is the greatest method of communication for helping a client navigate our site.”

Case in point, Signs.com now offers custom proofs via live chat. That way, customers know what they’re ordering and how it will look when they receive it.

“We can answer questions about the material, usage of our products, and installation all online! Our clients don’t have to go searching for answers,” says Page. “We have knowledgeable, friendly staff available to help them however they need!”

Signs.com Chat Example 

Collaboration, For the Win

According to Page, the entire Signs.com team thrives on and believes in collaboration.  This collaborative spirit allows their contact center to drive success and process improvements that benefit the entire team.

For example, the “free design services” Signs.com offers sometimes leads to customer questions. While the customer experience team is trained to understand the ins and outs of the process, as well as the day-to-day role of the design team, customers sometimes have specific design questions that a support team member can’t address. That’s why open communication is a priority at Signs.com. The design team and customer experience team work together to make sure that clients are taken care of promptly. If a customer experience representative receives a design related question, they can chat with the designer in real-time using an internal chat system to check up on the design. The result? The customer gets an immediate response instead of a transfer to another department. And according to Page, customers love it!

Do your agents chat with customers? Don't miss this Contact Center Demo workshop! 

“Our clients tell us time and time again that having a team that works so closely together is incredibly beneficial. We think so, too! We strive to make sure our entire team has great communication! Further, our customer experience representatives even communicate with the development team to troubleshoot website issues on the spot!”

It’s a smart approach. After all, the front line support team often gets a firsthand look at any product or website “bugs.” Empowering the support team to report those issues immediately allows for quicker resolution. That’s exactly how the Signs.com team sees it, says Page.

“This type of department-to-department communication is virtually unheard of in large contact centers. Dealing with a contact center often means getting switched from one department to another to solve a problem. This type of nonsense doesn’t happen at Signs.com. We believe that interdepartmental communication, although non-traditional, is the best way to serve clients most effectively.”

Improving Response Time

While this team has accomplished a lot over the past few years, they’re still relentless in their pursuit to improve. In November 2015, Signs.com hired a Customer Experience Officer to oversee their customer experience team. Before this hire, their COO oversaw the day-to-day operations of the customer experience department, but hiring a dedicated CXO set them up for greater, more focused success.

The CXO made time for learning a priority and began training representatives to answer customer questions quickly and correctly, making it easier for them to help more clients. With a wider range of training and better-developed tools and processes at their disposal, customer experience representatives are now able to finish chats faster and get to new chats in a record time of seven seconds--which is seven times faster than the industry average of one minute.

Perhaps even more impressive, those stats are translating to revenue for the business. Since implementing live chat, website pages viewed per session have increased by 263%, the sales conversion rate rose by 679%, and the average order value has increased by 14%.

Would you like to replicate this level of success in the coming year? Page shares this advice and encouragement:

“Our accomplishments did not happen overnight. It took a lot of trial and error to perfect a queue system that worked well for our clients. And we’re still learning! Every day, every chat, we learn and grow. That’s what makes our chat system so different from our competitors. We’re willing to listen to our client’s suggestions, get employee feedback, and always continue improving. We can’t wait to see where the future will take us!”

Do you see a trophy in your team’s future? Nominations for the 2018 ICMI Global Contact Center Awards will open this September, so stay tuned!