The Digital evolution is here! You have managed to convince the exec team that the investment is required and you have successfully established your web-chat channel, or strategy. Great! , so…..what next?
We have been talking about digital customer contact for many years now, but the reality is that there are still only a handful of organisations who have moved more than 10% of their customer contact over to Live Chat and other Digital Contact Channels/Platforms and away from traditional voice, or email.
The general consensus is that a leap of faith is required to effectively deliver the sort of transformative service and efficiencies that Live Chat and other Digital channels can produce so what can we do….
We asked some experienced Live Chat and Digital subject matter experts for their thoughts on the future development of webchat as a truly effective customer contact channel.
Our customers have already made that leap of faith into digital and expectations are high! They expect to find their answers and buy products on line and, if they need help, to get that online too through chat, social etc and not by having to navigate an IVR or, be placed on hold. The reward you will get, if you deliver chat in the right way, is a channel with the highest CSAT, greater loyalty and higher efficiencies than any of your traditional methods of telephony or email. And if a company wants to attract customers who have grown up with the internet being as common place as the phone box was to Generation Y, they are going to have to embrace livechat!
The good news is there are those out there who have done it right or, are on the path to building their strategy – we have helped a lot of them and know how to deliver the transformational service that will make you stand out amongst your peers, excite your customers and keep the Exec team happy.
The first thing to remember is livechat is not a derivative of the phone – yes, there are some metrics that have the same name such as AHT, CSAT, NPS but how you drive them to be the best you can is very different. Your business case needs to include the efficiencies which an effective chat operation delivers – concurrency, minimal transfer, very low repeat rates, high resolution and you need to have the right practices in place to deliver the KPIs you commit to. This means that the experience your customer gets from the moment they land on your website needs to be right – what software to use, where chat appears, how it looks and acts, how quickly they engage with an agent and so on. To continue to excel, you need to have recruited agents who meet the best profile for chat, who have had training that includes not just the knowledge on how to use the software but the human touch on building rapport within a digital channel and the tools you need to track your performance – the MI and dashboards and quality & compliance controls are different, but the right creation of these can give you so much more strategic data to help you to continue to grow than phone or e-mail ever could!
So go for it – because if you don’t someone else will. We have seen several companies shoehorn live chat into their existing contact centre structure, benchmarking people, processes, escalations and other ways of working alongside contact centre. This approach in our experience does not work and does not deliver something which is futureproof, it is also costly in the long run, so, bring in help if you need it to make your livechat channel work brilliantly first time – customers know what good looks like and expect to receive it. And then say ‘You’re welcome’ to your Exec team when you have the best performing channel and over 90% of your customers telling you they are more than satisfied with the help they get from you and your livechat team – this really can be your reality if you join in and make that leap of faith too!
Historically web chat was deployed as a cost saving exercise through a combination of rate and/or concurrency by shifting the customer contact from voice to chat.
Today’s customer demands far more and chat has to evolve in three areas:
- Customer experience by being a channel of choice offering where and when support, including out of traditional hours and mobile.
- Support for and promotion of self serve, making the most of the large capital outlay, whilst allowing the customer to stay in the digitised world.
- Integration into the Omni-channel service spectrum, ensuring the conversation thread can be picked up in which ever channel the customer choses next…. Including social, community as well as the more traditional
Ultimately these will lead to the original goal of cost efficiency but will also ensure customer adoption and experience.
Zaheer Gilani,Founder and CEO of Omnixco – C Level CX, Business and Digital Transformation Strategy Professional.
In my experience, organizations with successful digital adaption demonstrate the following characteristics:
- Clarity of Purpose and Strategy
- pursuit of digital adaption plays an important role in delivering customer promises
- there is clear customer, contact and channel strategy to drive desired results
- Excellent Understanding of
- the customers and their needs, wants, preferences, emotions and behaviors
- the potential of technological capabilities to deliver the desired experience across channels and touch-points
- Cross Functionality
- leadership – a board level agreement, endorsement and budgeting of digital adaption
- management – an upstream level integration of insights, allocation of resources, setup of incentives
- collaboration – journey and associated service inception, design, development, testing and launch across target channels and touch-points
- Relentless Execution
- people – definition of desired values and policies, identification of required skills and competencies, acquisition, training and mobilisation of talent
- process – review and development of existing and required data and customer journey processes from an enterprise value chain perspective
- technology – identification, acquisition, development and leveraging of existing and new technological capabilities
- continuous optimization – digital adaption is an evolution and journey of an organisation – it requires continuous optimisation of people, process and technological facets across an organisation
Leading organisations recognise and leverage live chat as an important element of digital conversation where a successful live chat proposition consists of:
- not just a textual dialogue but a conversation that may switch to other modes of communication e.g. voice, video, etc. and involve interaction practices and capabilities e.g. identification and verification, knowledge, co-browsing, screen-sharing, call back, appointment booking, etc on a reactive or proactive basis to achieve customer goal
- forward planning around customer’s life-cycle, anticipation of their intent and engagement rules, forecasting of resources including skills and their availability, active or deferred engagement strategies including but not limited to real-time presence of ‘best’ rather than any agent.
However, what is interesting and worth ideation, strategy and planning is the role of Bots and how they will compliment or enhance human to human, human to machine or machine to machine engagement. To learn more about Bots Strategy – you can read more here.
If you are developing your Digital Transformation and Live Chat, or, other Digital platforms and require experienced Interim, or Permanent talent and experience to develop, or support this, or are considering your next role in the Digital contact space, please contact the team at Douglas Jackson on 0345 620 9720, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.