Using Live Chat for Customer Service

Now that I’ve posted several articles about Live Chat, maybe it would be a good time to talk about using it as part of a customer service multichannel initative. I see more and more questions on the forums about whether Live Chat is appropriate for customer service at all.

A lot depends on your customers, your business, and the skill set of your customer service representatives. If your customers want to have it, your business is conducive to using it, and if you have or can hire someone with the right skill set, then I say go for it.

Live Chat is useful for both customer service and information management. As a channel for customer service, chat is another channel for communication, both proactive and reactive. It is best suited for interactions of low to moderate complexity but that will be part of the tweaking you do at implementation. When used for information management, chat resources can be tied to trending, data mining, reporting, and workflow management.

Live chat enhances the customer experience and can differentiate your business from the competition. Some ways to do this:

  • Monitor the customer’s journey through the Web site
  • At predetermined behaviors, offer proactive chat…rather like a store clerk noticing a customer’s trouble finding a specific item.
  • If done at the appropriate time, the chat will take place in context to the customer’s needs and can increase the percentage of browsers who convert to buyers.
  • Agents can co-browse to help the customer find what is needed or wanted.
  • They can push pages and share documents that explain or illustrate products, services, and activities. The record is automatically captured in its entirety, often with time stamps which can increase record and data storage compliance.

Communications between people have always been in a state of change but never so much and so quickly as now. So even if your customer base really isn’t interested in using this functionality, you need to revisit ever 6 months or so. Pay attention to the trade news and consumer sentiment about Live Chat and add that information into your next decision point. It likely will become a mainstream channel and an expected one as your customer mix changes and people adapt to the new channels.

Make ready for the Chatter!


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