4 reasons why call centres are switching from telephone to live chat
One of the perennial drivers for the adoption of live engagement is the impact on cost. The logic is this. Even if the vast majority of your customers self-serve, there will be times when they need help from a human being who can advise on products or provide additional information. Traditionally that’s been done by a telephone hotline but you can offer the same service more cheaply – and also more efficiently – by talking to your customers via a chat tool.
But chat is much, much more than a cost-effective solution to a perennial problem. In circumstances it offers customers a better experience than the telephone channel and that is reflected not only in higher conversion rates but also much better customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. Why?
1. A seamless experience
When a customer arrives at a website with an intention to buy, he or she has already made the decision to transact online rather than in a physical store or over the phone. As such, picking up the phone, dialling a number and waiting in a queue is a distraction at best and at worst an imposition. It is much better to allow the customer to maintain the online experience by simply clicking through to a chat agent.
2. A personal experience
Online chat – either in the context of sales or customer service – is satisfyingly personal. Think of it this way. When your customer rings a contact centre the incoming call is just one of many falling out of the blue and into the laps of your call centre agents. To some degree you can filter the calls by category through a menu system, but essentially the contact begins from a cold start. This means the agent will have to find out all about the customer’s requirements from scratch and this often involves a series of scripted questions.
With pro-active chat the scenario is very different. The chat sessions are triggered by tracking and analytics software that follows each customer and identifies points on the journey where they are showing signs of needing assistance. It’s a highly personalised approach and when the agent serves a chat invitation he or she already knows what the customer is looking at and probably has a good idea of the problem.
As a result the agent can be immediately helpful and that help is entirely in context with the experience.
3. Motivated agents
This has an interesting and highly positive effect on the motivation of chat agents. It’s my experience that chat agents often have a different mindset to their counterparts in call centres. From the outset they are there to be helpful. Freed from any “getting to know you” scripting they can simply get on with the job of addressing the problem or issue at hand and they can usually resolve matters very quickly. I’ve spent time at a lot of chat-based contact centres and I’m always impressed by just how enthusiastic and motivated the agents are. That’s appreciated by customers. Hence the higher satisfaction scores.
4. Customer friendly tools
Live engagement often begins with a chat session but it doesn’t necessarily end there. Increasingly companies are deploying a wider range of tools to create a richer experience. For instance, if a customer wants to get a better sense of the look, feel, or functionality of the product, the agent can serve up an instructional or promotional video. Equally, the agent can do a walkthrough by switching to video chat – thus enabling a visual demonstration. None of this is can be delivered quite so seamlessly on the phone. And the truth is, online customers want an online experience. Live engagement can deliver that.