Keep up with customer expectations by using live chat experiences to optimize a contact center and communicate instantly, personally, and effectively.
Contact centers in every industry confronted a dramatic shift in recent years. Even as the global pandemic forced everyone to operate remotely, brands needed to continue serving customers — in fact, several industries experienced soaring customer demand despite lockdowns and daily restrictions.
Leaders pulled through to meet customers with speed and effectiveness, bolstering revenue and earning loyalty throughout a period of turbulence in which competitors struggled to keep up.
Business is different in nearly every way imaginable today, and significant challenges remain that contact center leaders are trying to resolve. Contact centers require the resources to support a hybrid workforce, and customer needs have evolved. Now, the communication channels they rely on to interact with a brand are almost entirely digital. With this, every second during an interaction between your brand and a customer counts.
Live chat experiences are the solution many brands rely on. Agents on the front lines are prepared for peak times of high volume using artificial intelligence (AI), and they can jump into conversations with a customer and add the perfect touch of personalization as soon as necessary.
Let’s explore why your contact center needs to be optimized and how live chat experiences can do that.
Decades into the contact center’s existence, brands are finally serious about realizing their true value to an organization. Optimizing a contact center transforms it into the central hub for customers to feel welcomed, heard, and cared for.
Here’s why you need to optimize your contact center:
Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than waiting for a reply. Customers have busy lives like the rest of us, and the last thing they want is to be stuck waiting on hold for an agent to reply. But the troublesome waiting game doesn’t stop there. Agents then have to track down information to provide what’s hopefully a detailed, accurate answer.
In the digital-first world, there’s simply no excuse for a contact center to force a customer to wait around — or potentially be bounced around between agents — and not be guaranteed a satisfactory resolution.
Contact centers drive up costs for many organizations, too. Yet it doesn’t need to be this way. If an organization equips its contact center with the right tools including live chat and virtual callback technology, costs actually decrease while operational efficiency increases.
Delight a customer even once, and you’ve made an impression that increases the likelihood of them returning to your brand in the future and becoming a promoter on behalf of your brand.
Memorable experiences lead to increased customer loyalty, retention, and advocacy — all of which are the types of benefits leaders inside and outside the contact center want to achieve.
Only one group of employees makes all the difference in the moment: agents on the front lines. Train and coach your agents effectively, and you’ll resolve customer pain points before they spiral out of control.
Training gaps are usually the source of mid-interaction frustration experienced by customers. If these gaps aren’t eliminated, customers lose trust that your brand knows itself, its products, and what the customer needs at that exact moment.
Agents in a contact center shouldn’t be scrambling for customer or product information — instead, they should have it at their fingertips to seamlessly identify the customer, the reason for the service interaction, and the appropriate resolution.
How do you communicate with friends and family? Either on a computer or mobile device, you send and receive messages on a daily basis. Live chat experiences aren’t any different — and that’s exactly the reason why live chats are increasingly popular among consumers.
Live chat is designed for fast, seamless communication between a brand and customers. It allows the brand to use either an agent or artificial intelligence to send and receive messages with the customer in real time. Brands get to live at their customers’ fingertips, and customers feel connected to the brand being just a message away.
As a result, the brand-customer relationship grows even tighter — only due to a live chat’s empathetic, one-on-one conversations.
Optimizing your contact center shouldn’t feel like a daunting task, especially if you decide to do so with live chat software. It’s important to recognize the benefits of live chat experiences for your brand and customers.
Here are six ways to optimize a contact center with live chat experiences.
Customers now expect to interact with a brand as conveniently as they do with family and friends — a study conducted by Forrester found that messaging shifted from fifth-ranked overall in terms of channel usage prior to the pandemic to being second only behind email.
Disruption to a contact center is disastrous. Unable to keep up with tickets? Customer satisfaction (CSAT) is about to plummet. It’s a challenging time for contact centers as a labor shortage increases each agent’s workload, but live chat experiences, along with other automated solutions, alleviate stress and maintain operational efficiency.
Live chat can be configured to greet customers with an AI chatbot and provide automated assistance. In some cases, this could get a customer through a service interaction perfectly. But if the customer needs more hands-on aid, triggers can cue an agent to join the conversation immediately.
What’s critical is that, even if an agent participates in a live chat, everyone saves more time than other channels. Phone calls can require lengthy hold times — without a virtual callback solution, at least — that no one enjoys. Being available anytime proves to customers that you’re accommodating their schedules, not yours, with quick and effective service.
Hiring agents for a contact center doesn’t cost only a lot of money, but it also costs a lot of time, You need to secure the budget to add headcount, advertise job openings, and onboard. In most cases, this entire process takes several months to hire an agent successfully.
Live chat experiences enable your contact center to do more without adding a stressful workload to your agents, all while customers receive the outstanding service your brand aims to offer.
Personalization tells a customer you know who they are, what they’re shopping for or already purchased, and how they’re seeking to be helped. You can’t guess any of this, and manually pulling up customer information wastes precious time.
CRM data should be integrated into your live chat software to tap into customer information automatically. It allows the agent or AI chatbot representing your brand to address customers by name and identify their needs easily.
Live chat experiences open the door to a higher conversion rate, too. Phone calls and emails can feel cold and ‘sales-y’ whereas real-time messages are casual and friendly. Customers are much less likely to reach out through those communication channels during checkout. But a live chat puts you at the center of a customer’s experience as they shop or are about to pull the trigger.
It also allows your brand to gently suggest upgrades, similar items, and more that expand revenue. If your contact center delivers on upselling and cross-selling products or services, expect leaders from outside the department to take notice.
Follow-up is tricky with other communication channels when things go awry. Calling or emailing a customer after the fact can be too late. Live chat, however, places your brand in the middle of the customer journey. If something goes wrong, the customer can reach out in the moment, or your brand can check in during a website visit to ensure things are going smoothly.
When live chat software works alongside other systems like a virtual callback solution with speech analytics, you begin to earn increased efficiency and a reduction in costs associated with dissatisfied customers and low response times. It also makes conversations with customers quick — saving your customers and agents time.
Optimizing a contact center with live chat is a win for both your team and your customers. Agents focus on the tasks that need their attention most — such as investigating open tickets — while an AI chatbot acts as a first line of defense for inquiries, but your team can still jump into a service interaction in seconds if a customer needs further assistance.
Live chat experiences are a game changer today. As the contact center faces challenges including a labor shortage and budgetary constraints, equipping your team with an AI chatbot elevates and maintains the quality of service your customers have come to expect from top brands.
Ready to take your contact center to the next level? Check out our guide 4 Steps to Supercharge Contact Center Agent Performance and discover how to create better experiences for your customers.