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Customers First: The Best B2B Customer Service Blog

8 Ways Customer Support Chat Can Be Used to Meet Modern Demands

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 21, 2017 11:04:00 AM / by Matthew Brown

Think about a day in your life for a moment. Maybe you wake up and group text your friends about lunch plans and then chat with a friend on Facebook Messenger as you ride the train to work. You then sit at a desk and respond to emails and instant messages throughout the day until it’s time to head home. We communicate with more people than ever, in a more instantaneous way, yet most of us actually talk less than even a decade ago. So what does this mean for customer support? It signifies a shift in how people communicate – they want answers now, but don’t always want to pick up the phone to get them. This communication preference is where chat has become valuable to customer support as it enables new support opportunities. Here are 8 ways a chat feature in customer support software can be utilized to meet the communication preferences of the modern day customer…

 1) Great for answering simple questions – Without chat, email support can get bogged down with answering simple email requests. Enabling chat means customers don’t need to wait a long time for a response to a simple question such as requesting a contact number, which is a huge plus for them. Chat truly shines in this area and offers a quick alternative for customers to get immediate answers to simple questions.

2) Quick sharing of visual assets – Sometimes an issue that can take a long time to explain in words can be described visually in seconds. Customer chat that incorporates visual assets such as images, video recordings, screen captures, and even screen sharing can lead to much faster ticket resolution times. It’s why many tech-savvy customers opt to use chat in the first place.

3) Chat support doesn’t require a singular focus – A call center agent trained only to use the phone can sit there on a slow day twiddling their thumbs as they wait for the phone to ring. Email agents can also be trained in live chat and alternate between the two channels as needed – both use the same resources (knowledge base, wiki, etc.) and agents can work on email support while waiting for a chat customer to respond. Younger customers also prefer chat because it promotes multitasking and is easy to use in modern offices with open floor plans.

4) Easy to transfer chat into a formal ticket – Sometimes a problem is just too complex to solve over chat or a customer leaves the chat abruptly. Instead of just abandoning the conversation, it’s easy to transfer the dialogue to a ticket and continue to work on resolving the issue over email. It’s a nice way to keep customers happy by not forgetting about their issue and reassures them that their needs are important.

5) Can lead to expanding support hours – Chat can be a good fit for companies with an international presence. Maybe agents in some countries aren’t comfortable offering phone support in a non-native language, but they are fine with answering simple questions via chat for customers in a different geographic region. This allows you to broaden your support hours and offer chat support to customers for more hours each day without having to rely on chat bots or other solutions.

6) Create a log of conversations – Imagine if you had a text log of your phone support conversations so you could see what solutions worked well for a certain issue or situation. While it’s possible to have these conversations transcribed, chat offers a log that is available instantly and is 100% accurate. And unlike email that’s filled with signatures and to/from information, a chat conversation is a succinct dialogue that’s easy to evaluate. Looking at logs is a great way to fine tune your support messaging.

7) Gather specific customer data – Chat can be a source of crucial data points that may be used to make key support decisions. For example, if you’re seeing overnight chat requests from a foreign country on a consistent basis, it may make sense to reevaluate your solution to see exactly why these chat requests are coming in. It could be that before chat was implemented, people living in this location just waited until email support hours opened to submit tickets because they received faster responses. A revelation like this may result in a new office being created in this location to better support these customers.

8) Create new upselling opportunities – This will help in getting organizational buy-in for a chat solution. People in general are impulsive. When a customer starts a chat conversation and is told a feature they want is part of a higher tier package, they are often tempted to immediately upgrade to get the feature. Chat agents can also be trained to state the additional benefits of a higher tier package to make it sound even more appealing. This approach can only improve the success rate of upselling your offering.

 

In short, customer support chat can help a support team in many ways. Not only is it great for answering simple questions, but it also enables agents to be more productive and increases the number of customers they are able to assist. Add in the data and upselling benefits of chat, as well as it’s increasing popularity as a support channel, and it’s no surprise that more companies are utilizing customer chat support than ever before.

   
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Live Chat 101: Sales vs Support

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