The customer of today expects a superior experience and a stellar customer support at a compelling cost. There has led to increasing pressure on businesses to provide this stellar service while controlling their overheads and maintaining their bottom line.
Customer support has been at the center of attention, for sometimes the wrong reasons too. The lack of it has also even led to otherwise superior experiences being nullified. Hence, customer support is of paramount importance to drive the business and cement the reputation of any online business today.
There are multiple ways to implement a customer support system. The ‘classic’ customer support methods- email and phone are still very popular. But those methods suffer from a host of problems pertaining to lack of scalability, lack of traceability, high cost of set-up and lack of the kind of personalization and quickness that is central to customer experience today.
As a result, the promising option of a live chat tool is worth looking at. Live chat support on your website will help you be more available, more proactive and more scalable to your customer support ecosystem. It will also lead to fewer incident of customer frustration and help you climb higher on the satisfaction ladder.
There are a host of live chat software in the marketplace today with a number of different features offered. So, what is the best mix of features that you should consider? Let us look at the best eleven that will get most of your business aspects covered.
- Proactive chat – The foremost feature of chat applications that utilizes the concept of immediacy is the proactive chat feature. It has been noted by Forrester itself in this report that 44% of online customers feel encouraged to proceed with the purchase in the presence of an online chat assistant. The benefit of having a proactive chat is to preempt the customer with suggestions or possible product combinations. Proactive chat enhances the kind of cross selling and up selling that a business can achieve.
- Sending an attachment – Customer queries and their resolution often call for the sending of attachments which could be images of problematic products or paper receipts etc. This cuts through a lot of processing time. For example, one of our customers in telecommunications industry uses this feature to compensate their customers with their pre-paid mobile phone cards getting damaged. Before live chat, their customers had to visit the nearest location and produce the damaged pre-paid card to be compensated. Now their customers simply snap a picture of their card and send it the live chat agent as an attachment and their mobile phone is instantly credited.
- Chat transfer facility – One of the features to look for in a good chat software is the ability to ‘transfer’ the current chat context to another service agent. This is useful to ensure the serviceability of the support system. It is possible to be swamped with too many incoming requests or a request that requires escalation to a manager or transference to a specific department. The feature you have to look for here is not the mere transfer, but the actual transfer of the entire context, with the chat history accessible to the new agent taking over the chat. This is very beneficial to keep up a good turnaround time and switch between different requests more efficiently.
- Inviting agents to chat – A feature that is the direct relative of the chat transfer, is the one where service agents can add other service agents into the conversation. This is very efficient in pacifying a customer who demands to ‘speak to a manager’. The inclusion of another service agent helps drive the conversation ahead if the original agent wasn’t making any headway.
- Agent to agent chat – This feature allows for service agents to chat, like an inbound enabling approach for the business. This feature opens up interesting avenues for employee training and also live agent support. It is sometimes not advisable to pull in a different agent at an early stage in the conversation, which could lead to loss of confidence on the customer support system. It is a better idea to chat with other agents who could help out with a particular issue, without the customer knowing of it.
- Integration with Facebook business page – A good ranking and response rate in the social media presence is a great way to maintain the credibility and image on those platforms. While you may hire social media experts for that, a good live chat software can help you do that, if it has direct integration with your Facebook business page. That feature shows any incoming customer chats directly on your website. Not only does that help you respond faster, but it also helps you to keep a single view on the chats that are happening around your business. This lessens confusion and leads to better relationship management with the customer.
- Customizability – It is always a good idea to get a live chat support software for your website that can be fully customized to with your branding guidelines including the font, color, spacing and margin considerations and the placement of the chat window. It also goes on to include the kind of animation that the window opens with, the kind of (if at all) emoticons supported, the sounds produced by incoming or outgoing chats, the presence or absence of the close button etc. While the highest of customizability will not be very business effective and only expensive, some degree of it is a great benefit to you.
- Ability to receive customer feedback – Every chat application needs the ability to capture the customer’s feedback at the end of every chat operation. The trigger point for the customer feedback capture can be the customer shifting the focus to another window or trying to close the chat window. The feedback should generally include the customer rating and an optional note to leave. There could also be a drop-down (that you should be able to customize) with possible reasons of good or bad feedback. This is a great way to ‘close the loop’ and gain insights into the performance of agents.
- Chat history archival and retrieval – The live chat support software should empower agents to check the previous chats with the customer and also gain quick access to the previous activity of the customer. This is very useful to achieve familiarity with a customer and not waste the customer’s time. For example, if a customer has already placed ten orders of a particular kind and is facing a problem with the eleventh, then asking the customer very basic questions about the product might not be good idea. The ability to retrieve chats and the customer activity helps maintain the right context, right from the start.
- Mobile support – It is almost needless to state that it is mandatory for a serious online business to have a mobile presence. Hence it is very logical to expect that your live chat support software should support the features it provides over a mobile app as well. Mobile app integrations can get much trickier than the web, which is why mobile app chat integration is generally a bespoke process (unless you are using the vendor’s platform for the entire app to begin with). It is important to ensure no performance degradation of the app or issues with the experience with the integration of mobile app support. This feature can also be a differentiator for you, if your competitors take longer to provide mobile app chat support. Mobile chat support opens new doors in customer communication as well.
- Performance analytics and dashboard – The icing on the cakes that are live chat support systems is the inclusion of performance analytics and dashboard that reveals insights about the agents’ performance. A good dashboard should typically show (and rank and sort) the agents with their response time, their feedback and ratings, their average number of chats closed per hour, their chat speed etc. A dashboard is very important to reward the high performing agents and maintain the right spirit of reward within the organization.
These features are some of the most important ones to look for in live chat support software and ensure the complete live chat support software package for you and help you to get the basics right. Live Chat Software features should be compared to the kind of pricing that the live chat support system provider offers. These Live chat Software features and the consideration of the right price should place you in the right position to get the right live chat support system for you.