There are not enough words to describe how important it is for brands to stay relevant with the trends of today’s fast-changing market economy. Staying relevant means focusing on delivering the best in-store experience to their customers, especially with regards to the digital media. Within a short while, the customer support channels have gone through a disruptive change. The advent of social media and chat support took everyone with a storm. It has been gradually changing the way customers interact with their businesses traditionally. With the buzz around social media increasing and online chat becoming a more effective and efficient application, the whole BPO industry is embracing a major overhaul with regards to its customer support functionalities.
But it has been observed that many global giants with a sound digital strategy are still cautious about the usability of online chat as a web interactive and sales-boosting tool. Such skepticism can be attributed to a flawed execution strategy and the inability to arrive at a potential ROI pre-deployment. Though there is an increase in the number of firms that reliable outsource chat support but to end the cynicism around chat support one should consider the following points.
The following four points can greatly optimize the online customer experience for dubious and uncertain firms.
Evaluate the need
Brands should first realize where exactly does online chat fit-in inside their overall business manifesto. The following questions may give some insights.
- Will the implementation reduce costs?
- Is it going to improve the customer satisfaction(CSAT) rate and reduce customer effort?
- How is it going to impact sales if chat is deployed?
- Will it increase leads if specific customer segments are targeted?
Also, benchmarking existing channels on identifiable goals can give the management an idea of whether implementing web chat is the right choice. The first step would be to run a pilot process towards attaining a single business goal. After the evaluation, the business can decide on their online strategy and if needed, scale up the process altogether.
Choose the apt platform
Once a firm arrives at a decision to use web chat, the next question would be which platform to choose and how to use it. It is necessary because platform failures may lead to counter-productive efforts and adversely affect the CSAT score. The following aspects of web chat should be considered
- Is it going to be a cloud-based resource or a hosted one?
- What would the firm prefer? A proactive chat support or a reactive one.
- What assistance would the customers prefer? ‘Active assist’ or ‘passive assist’.
Companies that outsource chat support also emphasize on data security and reporting capabilities such as chat transcript, transaction history etc. User-specific features such as typing notification, font size should be scrutinized. To stay ahead of the curve one can also conduct a CSAT specific survey at the end of a transaction so as to understand one’s customers better.
Web users are usually in favor of self-service and may consider repetitive chat requests as incursions. But at certain times they do require assistance. It is the firm’s duty to find a balance between the two extremes and one way to achieve it is by targeting specific drop out points, key acquisition and sales trigger points. Many companies that outsource chat support use it as a tool to complement website self-service by supporting customers when in need, complementing sales conversions, up-selling and cross-selling when the opportunity arrives.
The best business intelligence would be to build the web chat facility as a supportive tool to either overcome the limitations of the website or supplement business activities.
Manage customer experience
The main objective of an interactive channel is to support customer queries and improve customer experience. An agent’s role is to reduce customer effort and personalize the interaction by facilitating a ‘human touch’ and hence, it is of paramount importance to train them accordingly. Employ appropriate metrics to measure ROI and exercise the best-in-class workforce management practices to deliver a superior customer experience to one’s clients.