Contact Centers Continue to Find New Ways to Optimize Live Chat

(Today’s Guest Post is brought to you by Scott Brand with Inspirations for Youth Rehab sharing with us some of their successes and thoughts on using live chat)

It is quite obvious that the love affair that consumers have had with Live Chat continues to get stronger and stronger. And the numbers speak for themselves. According to eDigital’s live bank survey, conducted by Econsutancy, a renowned international research and customer service training group, Live Chat has the highest satisfaction level of any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email, 53% for Apps, 50% for posts, 48% for Social Media, 44% for phone, and 41% for SMS.

The stats (above) come courtesy of Econsultancy’s Customer Service Benchmark which surveyed 2,000 consumers on their experiences from various customer service channels

Ocean Tides, a national teen and adult rehab provider, is a perfect example of how a company can thrive with Live Chat. Up until September of 2013, Ocean Tides limited its customer interaction to phone calls and emails.

Then in October, 2013, the company tested SnapEngage – a highly customizable Live Chat software for customer sales and support. At first, the decision to add another layer to the company’s customer engagement was almost an afterthought. And right from the onset, the chat platform took off like a locomotive. Ocean Tides customers were flocking to Live Chat, which pleasantly caught the company off guard.

“When we first deployed SnapEngage, the application immediately exceeded all our expectations,” said Collin Lynch, Ocean Tides, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Manager. “Initially, we thought it would complement our existing customer service offerings, but not to the extent it currently performs.”

“When we first deployed SnapEngage, the application immediately exceeded all our expectations,” said Collin Lynch, Ocean Tides, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Manager.

Ocean Tides is the parent company of Inspirations for Youth and Families Teen Rehab and The Cove Center for Recovery adult rehab.

SnapEngage Live Chat platform

But organizations can’t just contract with Live Chat providers and sit back and enjoy the show. There is a definite art to Live Chat that companies need to learn and implement.

Here are some hard and fast rules for a company to win in the competitive Live Chat game:

Live Chat is not a Sales Tool – Live Chat is more of a facilitator than an actual sales instrument. Generally, as a rule of thumb, agents don’t record sales from Live Chat. It just pushes the customer further along the Buying Cycle. In many industries, healthcare for one, potential clients don’t feel that Live Chat is secure and the agent should always strive to move a prospect to the telephone as soon as possible.

Use Live Chat as a filtering device – Live Chat can serve as a filtering device to learn more about the prospect to see if he or she is sales worthy.

View Live Chat as the bait to reel in the big fish – An experienced Live Chat agent knows that deals aren’t made over an Internet transmission. Once a Live Chat agent is able to woo its prey to the landline or VOIP, then he or she is in range to close the sale over the phone. SnapEngage’s built in Call Me feature

“Generally, when I am on Live Chat with a client, within the first three to five sentences, I will have asked that client to call me on our hotline provided that they qualify for our service and have insurance benefits,” said Mark Ambrose-Muzyl, a Live Chat agent for Inspirations for Youth and the Cove Center for Recovery.

Market Intelligence – A Live Chat agent hears it all. Sometimes these encounters get ugly. One Live Chat agent claimed a prospect once used characters to represent a part of a human’s anatomy, however, often times the prospect on the other end of the connection offers invaluable market intelligence to share with others in their business. Even at the simplest level, a Live Chat agent should listen to the way the prospect or customer talks and the words they use, jot them down, and use them as keywords in a future Google Adwords campaign.

Keep them moving – Once a Live Chat agent determines that the prospect is not really a prospect, it is best for all parties involved to be pointed in the right direction. This in turn allows the Live Chat agent to conclude the call and move onto the next prospect. So having phone numbers or hyperlinks of places for resources such as a Medicaid phone number and/or web site goes a long way in providing quality chat customer service and improving performance efficiencies.

The Hot Live Chat Keys are a Hot Commodity – The Live Chat Hot-Keys or key-stroke short-cuts so to speak can be a real time saver for a sales agent focused on the bottom-line. A company can fill out a template that encompasses all the frequently asked questions they and their team receive and with a simple key stroke provide a customer with a relevant answer as opposed to retyping the same response over and over again. This improves the workflow tremendously.

Let’s take for example the scenario where a college student is working on a term-paper and requests information about what are the signs of teen drug abuse from a busy addiction treatment facility call center agent.

With the hot key, a call center manager can create a script like the following for the whole team to use:

“I am sorry but this is an active help line that we reserve for serious and sometimes life threatening phone calls. Please feel free to visit a dedicated drug and alcohol abuse information web site such as http://www.Erowid.com or http://www.Samhsa.gov to assist you with your project.”

Integrate Live Chat with Google Adwords – If a company is running an Internet advertising campaign, such as Google Adwords, many of these Live Chat programs will reveal where each call originated from on the web site or what word(s) was typed in their search query to find the company’s hot-line. This information can be used to add frequently used keywords into ad campaigns and determine which web site pages are generating the most traffic.

Get Personal – Sometimes Live Chat agents are unable to close the proverbial deal from one chat session and want to be compensated for all their time spent communicating with the potential client. In these instances, many Live Chat agents opt to leave their prospect with their personal mobile phone number. In some instances, they may not hear back from them for as long as one-year, but still end up with the conversion.

The bottom-line is web site visitors are like shoppers in a store. They prefer to browse more than they actually like to buy something. Now with Live Chat – this provides a company another communication vehicle for a prospect to learn about your product or service and perhaps make a transaction or resolve a customer dispute in a less threatening environment.

As today’s consumer, of all age groups – demographically speaking – continue to become more at ease with their Internet use in their everyday life, more and more companies will be entering the Live Chat space.