Customer Service & Support Articles

5 Ways to Ensure Your Live Chat Agents Aren’t Mistaken for Robots

by Niamh Lynch
Published on 23 February 2017

Chatbots might be lauded as the next big thing in customer service, but do your customers really want to talk to robots? According to new GetApp research, not really.

A survey conducted on customer service values and preferences shows that 88 percent of respondents want to talk to a real person, whether that be by phone, email, or live chat. This becomes even more apparent with the news that Facebook is scaling back its investment in chatbots after a reported 70 percent failure rate.

Considering that customer service chatbots are most closely related to live chat, you want to make sure that your agents aren't mistaken for the frustrating robots that can't quite seem to solve your customers' problems.

As AI and machine learning experts continue to iron out the kinks, live chat might be the better option for reaching customers with bigger results. How can you ensure that both you and your customers get the most out of your live chat experience? Here are five tips on using live chat for customer service.

1. Avoid overusing automation

According to GetApp research, only 9 percent of survey respondents prefer automation when it comes to seeking customer service. Having said that, there are lots of benefits to using automation in discreet ways. The key is to have the right balance.

If you're using a solution like HelponClick, Zendesk Chat, or HappyFox Chat, you'll have the option to use canned responses or have quick shortcuts to common responses.

These can be great for putting users 'on hold', starting conversations, or answering questions that have been asked a thousand times. With customer analytics that offer a more detailed look into a customer's past activity, it'll be even easier to personalise messages to individual customers, even if they do have to be partly automated.

The key is to remember that people are opting for live chat because they can't or don't want to trawl through documentation, descriptions, or knowledge bases themselves. They want a real, live conversation with a real, live human.

2. Keep your staff up-to-date about the product

Live chat can be great for sales, but only if you're doing it properly. No matter where your agents' experiences lie, make sure that all of them are up-to-date and knowledgeable on your product offering, or that they're willing and able to reroute relevant queries to someone who is.

Consider getting some customer support agents that have a background in sales, as well as customer service - they'll know and understand the techniques and psychology that encourage a client to make a purchase.

A solution like Zoho SalesIQ, built for live chat sales, will help too: you can prioritize leads by scoring them so that you can target those most likely to convert first.

3. Leverage your analytics

Using software to manage your customer service can provide extra information about your customers to help with personalization and targeting. Specifically, analytics is a functionality included in lots of live chat software to help glean insight into your users.

Specialized live chat software like LiveChat and Olark integrate directly into Google Analytics to help provide you with info about where your customers are coming from, while others like REVE Chat and Zoho SalesIQ have built-in analytics tools that give you insights into who's visiting, when they're visiting, and what they're looking at. Use this information to tailor your messages to your customers and refine your live chat approach.

4. Make the chat module yours

There are two aspects to the customization of your live chat software that you want to make sure you've got covered.

First, make sure that you spend a little time customizing the chat module to your company's branding. Leaving it in the default wrap is like visiting a real life store that hasn't bothered decorating - it doesn't leave a good impression. Also, branding helps give customers the sense that they're talking to your company, not some automated chat box that's been tacked on to your website.

Secondly, make sure that your chat module has customization options for your customers. They may want to change font size, save the conversation, have the option to call via VoIP, to send an email, or to share files. The options will change depending on what products you offer, but the objective is to give your customers a sense of personalization and control.

5. Manage proactive chat closely

If you have a proactive chat feature where your agents initiate chat with a customer or prospective customer on your website, it's worth putting considerable effort into researching and configuring the rules that will trigger the chat. If the live chat triggers too easily, you'll annoy and alienate customers.

If it doesn't trigger at the right moment, you'll lose potential clients. Kayako talks about "live targeting your ideal customer," which means finding out who you want to target and what they want, in order not to miss an opportunity.

Domo arigato…. live chat agent

Robots still have a long way to go, but without knowledgeable and helpful live chat agents, you might be frustrating your customers with an experience that's plagued with robotic answers. By taking advantage of the features in live chat software, you'll be able to provide your customers with exactly the type of customer service experience they expect: friendly, helpful, and human.

Check out some of the top live chat solutions on GetApp

This article was originally published on August 29, 2014.


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