For the first time in many years, support teams and customer centers are seeing a reduction in the number of incoming tickets via email. This is because a new hero has taken its place on stage – namely chat.
And it is no wonder that chat has become so popular. It is a quick and easy way to get in touch and get help, via text. Email has a reputation for being a slow channel (a reputation that is often not true at all) while chat and phone are channels you turn to when it’s a little more urgent.
But despite the popularity of the chat feature among customers, many business owners are careful about activating chat to their channels. And there is a point to think twice before activating a chat feature on your support. Below we have gathered everything you need to know and think about, before you go live with your chat.
Chat increases the number of contacts
I often hear managers and decision makers opt out of the chat function because “it will increase the number of contacts”. Yes, that statement is partly correct. Because chat is an easy way to get in touch with a company, it is immediate and accessible, so there are many companies that have experienced an increase in the number of contacts from customers. But here it is important to remember that these are not “unnecessary” contacts. It’s not customers who get in touch just for fun. Instead, the increase consists almost exclusively of those customers who otherwise would not have made any contact to get their problem solved. So by daring to invest in chat features, you will have a greater chance of capturing the customers who are dissatisfied without your knowledge. Which in the long run leads to a reduced number of lost customers and a higher number of satisfied customers.
Combine bots with live agents
With today’s bot technology, it’s simply inefficient to let ALL chats go directly to an agent. With smart menu trees, you can incorporate many of the most common answers directly into a bot.
With us at Soluno, matters concerning configuration SMS are among the most common we receive. Therefore, we have chosen to post this selection as one of the first to come up in the chat. Then you immediately get the info you need to solve the problem yourself.
If any of the choices given by the bot do not match the customer’s case, he or she can choose to “Contact a support technician” instead. In this way, simple self-service matters are sorted out, something that simplifies and streamlines for both employees and customers.
It can be very annoying to write in a chat to a company, sit and wait a long time and then realize that there is no active agent. Such events can impair the customer’s experiences of how your support or customer service works. Be sure to inform the customer about the times they can expect to receive a response from a real person. This is easily remedied with an autoresponder that comes up at certain times. You can also choose to hide the bot completely when the agents are not working but then you miss the chance to reach the customers with the automated answers as well.
Implement the chat in the right places
It’s easy to think “Now we have chat started, therefore we should run it actively on all pages of our website”. But there is a point in both implementing the chat step by step and selecting the places where the chat has a specific purpose. By activating the chat gradually, you avoid giving your agents an onslaught of chats on the first day and you get a chance to gradually move the workforce to the right channel. And some places on a website, for example, you might prefer that the customer converts via a form to get in touch with the sales department. Therefore, it can be good to make a trade-off over where to place the chat.
Make the chat omni channel
It is not only on the website that you can incorporate a chat function. Try to keep an omni-channel mindset. There are many smart solutions on the market that allow you to collect Facebook chats and twitter chats, help center chats, etc., into the same interface. In this way, your agents do not have to keep track of several interfaces, but can handle the cases in one place at the same time while your customers receive a consistent reception, regardless of which channel they are in.
Soluno’s support manager, Adam Olofsson, tells more about his experiences with Soluno’s chat function
When you went live with the chat feature, how did you go about implementing the chat?
We have waited until our case management system has launched a function that allows us to easily manage all channels in the same interface. Chats can come in from Twitter, Facebook, MySoluno.se, soluno.se/support etc. and enter the same interface that we are already at when we handle emails. The important difference was to have a chat team ready that is logged in to take the chat immediately and that there is a clear notification to the team when there is a chat available. In addition, a chat bot function was also released at the same time, which can act with menu selection or interactively by writing questions to it, so that we could answer most of the common questions directly. Just like you wrote above 😊
Did Soluno’s support experience an increase in incoming tickets when the chat was activated?
Yes, the total number of cases has increased slightly, but handling chats can be easier than conversations, for example. It’s okay to write “Wait a minute and I’ll be back soon” to be able to check something out or investigate the matter. To wait a few minutes for an answer in a chat, I feel more okay is to have to sit with the phone to my ear and wait for an answer on the phone. This creates the opportunity for an agent to simultaneously handle multiple chats as opposed to phone where you can only take one at a time.
What is the biggest challenge with chat?
Accessibility, chat, like telephone, is something you need to be ready and available for. If you do not respond quickly to a chat, the customer will lose patience. Either you have missed the chance to help the customer, or if you are lucky, they will call in, but then you have a risk of duplication of cases and a less good start to the possible troubleshooting. Make sure you have a chat team ready and backup if these are not available. Should there be a crisis and no one is available, make sure you have a system where you can quickly and easily change the autoresponder, or have an autoresponder based on whether an agent is logged in or not. In this way, you can inform the customer directly that the answer in the chat may be delayed so that the customer can contact you in another way instead without having to wait.
Where is the biggest benefit of chat?
There are two fairly important benefits of chat. On the one hand, the chat bot, which can answer a variety of matters, connected to your help center, it can provide suggestions for guides and solutions completely without an agent being involved. Then the potential efficiency of management. Being able to handle multiple chats at once is enormously much more efficient than being stuck in a single call at a time.
What is your tip for companies considering getting a chat channel for their support service?
Spend time and try to find the most common questions and build a menu tree or make sure to have help articles on these that a chatbot can access to minimize the number of less relevant contacts, we already know that about 80% prefer to be able to solve their case themselves without human contact.
Also make sure that the chats are easy to manage for your support team, make sure that everything is in the same place and that good information, such as name, email and error description, is included in the chat when the agent receives it so you can quickly start helping customer instead of asking a lot of questions.