Meeting the need for customer service speed

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How many of you skipped the tick tocks to jump straight to the article?

How many of you were annoyed by the delay in getting straight to the point?

Even the slightest setback of a few seconds is enough to prove the point: we all hate being held-up.

The same is doubly true in customer service. Customers grow irritable when they’re forced to wait for a response, fix or resolution. As such, there’s a real need for customer service speed.

Online, this need for customer service speed is being answered by live chat software. We expect to be able to click that chat button and open up a window to instant help.

But for the brands behind those chat windows, living up to the ‘live’ promise isn’t always easy.

Here, we explore the need for customer service speed, and the live chat tools that can help you deliver it.

Customer service speed and the live chat promise

With a live chat service, the clue is in the name. Customers expect real-time, efficient support, with chats answered and set into motion quickly.

That means speedy replies and quick solutions. These real-time responses are what makes live chat the most preferred support channel today.

Yet currently, the need for customer service speed is not being met. In fact, a staggering 21% of chats are not answered at all. For chats that are answered, the average wait time is 2 minutes, 40 seconds.

This is unacceptable. Customers use a live chat service because they don’t want to pick up the phone and wait on hold, and they don’t want to wait to hear from you via email. They want immediate, if not instantaneous responses.

Unsurprisingly, then, the live chat channels with the highest satisfaction rating answer in 30 seconds or less, with the fastest response times as low as 7 seconds.

So, how can you boost your customer service speed to whizz through more chats more efficiently?  Live chat software comes with a variety of tools to help you do just that.

Before the chat

Before the session begins, there are several tools you can set up to ensure optimal customer service speed via chat. These include:

Supervisors or managers can manage the schedules of their live chat agents. You can define work periods and create rotas, to ensure even coverage throughout the day.

You can configure your chat button so that it will respond to agent availability. So, if no agents are available, an offline message is displayed to your customers instead of a “Chat now” message. This helps to avoid false promises of ‘live’ help.

Use pre-chat surveys to find out the customer’s name and need. This will help you give personalised, relevant service right away.

Chat routing ensures that the right agents get the right requests. When customers connect to the best agent for their query first time, they get a solution sooner. So, be sure to configure your routing rules carefully – based on skill, time, and availability.

You can use chat queues to both manage customer expectations and manage chat requests more efficiently. For agents, it’s helpful to see how many chats are pending, and which ones need priority. For customers, it’s useful to stay in the loop with relevant queue messages.

While these pre-chat tools won’t make your responses any quicker, they help the conversation get started as efficiently as possible.

With the top priority for customers being getting through to an agent quickly (80%), make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure smooth chat set-up.

During the chat

Next comes the chat itself. Once the chat session has begun, there are lots of tools you can use to deliver pacey customer service speed. You can try:

Typing out a greeting to each individual customer can be a time sink. So, use pre-populated greetings that take the customer’s name from the pre-chat survey form. That way, you can send a personalised welcome message with a single click.

Chat previews let you see what the customer is typing, before they hit ‘send’. This helps you give pre-emptive service, reaching a resolution quicker. Plus, you can keep an eye on the customer’s typing progress – helping you dip in and out of chats more efficiently.

When it comes to dipping in and out of chats, the correct label would be concurrent chat sessions. Unlike a telephone call, handling concurrent chats means that you can deal with more than one customer at once. In turn, your customer service speed builds momentum.

Many of the questions you receive will be straightforward FAQ. Rather than typing out those answers manually every time, you can insert canned (or pre-set) responses to save time and effort.

Use suggested responses to reply within a few strokes of the keyboard. Rather than an official, company response, a suggested response is like the predictive text on your phone. Your typed messages are remembered, and the chat software will suggest the most suitable recent response for you to insert. It’s a nifty little time-saver to slash your response times.

To eliminate typing altogether, you can also try video chat. Video chat duplicates face to face service through your website, and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to offer fast, friendly service.

If you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to delay. Instead, you can tag a colleague or manager using the ‘@’ button and get help right within the chat window.

These are just a handful of the tools you can use to boost your customer service speed, but they all contribute to a quick, competent interaction.

74% of customers say the speed with which their inquiry is resolved is most important to them, so keep your momentum once the chat session is underway.

After the chat

Last, you can use the finished chat session to continue improving your customer service speed. Tools to help you do this include:

In the unfortunate event that you do miss a chat, you don’t need to let the customer slip through the net altogether. Instead, you can use missed chat handling to reignite the conversation and send an email response to the customer’s missed session.

Use sentiment analysis to find out how happy customers are with your live chat service. Do you need to be quicker? More efficient? Post-chat sentiment analysis will give you insights on how customers think you’re doing.

To be at your fastest, you need to know peak chat times and trends. So, make sure you use chat analytics to find out when customers are most likely to engage, and man your channel accordingly.

Meet the need for customer service speed

With smart use of live chat software, you can meet the need for customer service speed. And importantly, that need not come at the expense of quality.

By using the live chat tools at your disposal, you can boost speed while still offering personalised, empathetic service.

To blend quick and quality customer service, start your free trial of WhosOn today.

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