What do your customers want? Figuring out the answer to this question gives you an edge over the competition and develops an ongoing relationship with your clientele.
People like live chat more than other methods of reaching out for customer service. One study found 42 percent of users prefer live chat even over email communication.
However, if your live chat isn’t up to par, the customer experience suffers. Live chat is one way to improve your overall CX, but only if you offer a usable and functioning live chat. Here are eight key ways of creating optimal CX through a live chat that meets consumer needs.
1. Understand Why Consumers Like Live Chat
First, you must understand the reasons consumers like live chat. A recent study showed over 80 percent of people are satisfied with live chat as a form of customer service. Live chat offers an instant and personal level of communication not available via email. People hate using phone-in customer service, though, because they inevitably wind up going through multiple computerized prompts or reaching someone challenging to understand or not informed about customer service policies.
Live chat offers an opportunity for instant answers and a resolution to a problem without the aggravation of telephone prompts or the wait time of email correspondence.
Xfinity, which is owned by Comcast, offers live chat via its website. One thing it does that’s effective is offering different categories, depending upon what you need help with. Categorizing questions allows the company to guide consumers to an agent who can be of help, such as tech support for new customers trying to hook up equipment.
2. Choose the Right Placement
You have a few short seconds when a visitor lands on your page to grab their interest and keep it. If the visitor lands on your page with a question and can’t find an easy answer, you risk losing them to a competitor. Place your live chat in an area that is easy to find and draws the eye. Most sites place the chat feature in the lower right or over in the sidebar, so this is a natural place for customers to look for help.
Consider the other elements surrounding your live chat button, too. Is there enough white space, so the live chat feature stands out? Make sure the color pops, highlighting the feature and drawing the eye.
3. Personalize the Experience
Even if you use a chatbot, make sure you create a personalized experience for the user. If a live agent answers questions, give that person a name, and if possible, share a photo. Greet the person by name if possible and personalize the experience by repeating the question back and using the name and details for that specific customer.
KBG Injury Law offers a live chat on its main screen with an image of one of the lawyers. The button lives in the lower right of the screen above the fold. When you click on the live chat, a box pops up, and you learn the name of the agent you’re speaking with and are greeted immediately.
4. Chat 24/7
About 51 percent of consumers expect businesses to answer questions around the clock. Live chat gives you an opportunity for meeting this need, but only if you have well-trained agents that can answer basic questions and solve problems. Even though availability is important, poor experience with customer service in any form isn’t acceptable. If you can’t adequately staff your live chat 24/7, then only offer it during business hours.
5. Separate Pain Points
Identify your typical audience’s pain points. For example, one consumer might need one solution and a different consumer another. Separate your live chat channels and the agents who cover them accordingly, so customer service reps are trained sufficiently in the area they cover.
Fitbit separates its live chat sections according to issues its customers might experience, which gives it an opportunity to thoroughly verse live agents on those topics. Well-trained agents have an immediate answer for potential and current customers, improving the user experience. They ask you to choose a product and an issue. They then route your chat session to the agent best trained in how to help you solve your problem.
6. Improve Customer Satisfaction
Studies show that a live chat improves customer satisfaction. In one survey, researchers found phone-in customers had only a 44 percent satisfaction rate, but live chat customers had a 73 percent satisfaction rate. Of course, this varies depending upon how well your live chat meets customers’ needs and hits the other points in this article. However, simply adding a live chat improves customer experiences.
7. Respond Immediately
People expect an immediate response via live chat. Imagine you’re a customer and you land on a business website. You have a question before you place an order. You don’t want to wait days for a response or bother with picking up a telephone. Instead, you just hop onto live chat and ask your question.
Businesses can nail user experience at that moment by offering fast and thorough help via the live screen. Users shouldn’t have to wait for a response but get an immediate answer. A bot answers basic questions that get asked frequently, and customer service reps answer everything else. Even if you have a 24/7 live chat, users grow frustrated if they have to wait a long time before connecting to a live agent.
Federal Student Aid offers live chat and does something a bit different that is very user-friendly. It starts a countdown timer of how long it will be before your chat agent appears. It also asks basic questions while you’re waiting, such as what your name is. This gives the agent a moment to prepare for the chat session but seems like an immediate response to the user.
8. Measure Performance
Test your live chat frequently, measuring the time it takes to respond, how on-target responses are and the performance of live agents. Internal analytics show how many customers who engage with live chat wind up making a purchase, but also poll regular customers and find out if there are any areas in your live chat you should improve.
Strive for Small Improvements
Strong CX makes your site stand out and keep loyal customers returning time and time again. While you might not be able to implement every technique at one time, strive for small improvements to your live chat. Make one or two changes and see how those elements work before moving on.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner