- Step 1: Align chat goals with business objectives
- Step 2: Manage customer experience and chat volume
- Step 3: Determine your staffing requirements
- Step 4: Train your agents
- Step 5: Build a chat workflow
- Step 6: Monitor success metrics and improve chat deployment
Define business objectives
Different stakeholders will have their own ideas for chat: Support might want to improve the customer experience, while Sales might want to see an increase in conversions. Consider who the stakeholders are when developing your chat goals so the benefits extend from your team, to the whole company, and on to your customers. Here are five business objectives you can target with chat.
Improve customer satisfaction (CSAT)
Chat provides the personal attention, convenience, and speed that customers love. It aligns with the growing consumer preference for messaging and gives customers immediate answers without forcing them to jump through hoops. Chat typically offers the fastest resolution rates, beating all other channels, especially email. Since customers hate waiting for support, chat has become the channel of choice for organizations wanting to improve their CSAT.
According to Zendesk’s Benchmark report, live chat has the highest satisfaction rates of all channels.
Increasing sales and revenue
Customers are three times more likely to make a purchase when you reach out with a chat. Answering questions about products or the purchase process can provide customers with the confidence they need to complete an order. For example, Le Tote, an apparel and accessory rental service, uses an automated trigger to offer help to customers who are lingering on the checkout page. By proactively engaging customers during the buying process, Le Tote is able to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions.
“Zendesk lets us be there in the customer’s moment of truth. That is the all-important moment when a customer opens up and says something that can make or break a tote selection.”
- Aubrie Rice, Customer Development Manager at Le Tote
Measure conversion rates, including those specifically attributed to chat, with conversion tracking.
Reducing support costs
Chat is one of the most efficient support channels because agents can handle multiple conversations at once, something that’s not possible via phone. This increased efficiency and agent productivity mean a lower cost per contact for your organization.
For example,Zendesk Chat has helped Miinto reduce call volume by 40%. This fashion network’s live chat team has become more efficient thanks to Chat shortcuts. Using shortcuts, they can respond to frequently asked questions at the click of a button. Zendesk Chat has also proven critical during Miinto’s mid-season sale, known as “Shopping Spree”. The team extended their operating hours for chat during the sale and, according to Eveline Poetsema, Operations Manager at Miinto, “[they] actually employed less staff to answer customers’ questions.”
Zendesk Chat has made Miinto’s agents more productive and this has saved them the equivalent of a third of a full-time employee.
Lowering cart abandonment
More than half of shopping carts are abandoned by online customers. By providing your customers with assistance or proactively offering them support, chat can help mitigate cart abandonment and close more sales.
“For a small company, growth is a priority and this is where chat plays a major role. With [Zendesk Chat], Datanyze can quickly identify customers interested in buying and nudge them towards a sale.”
- Jon Hearty, COO of Datanyze
Improving response rates
Seconds matter when it comes to customer support and chat allows for quick, real-time answers. Faster response and resolution times mean higher agent productivity, reduced costs, and, as mentioned above, higher CSAT.
“After switching to live chat, we are able to process and solve customer requests 10 times faster.”
- Dmitry Odintsov, Director of Sales and Business Development at True Conf
“The ability to transfer chats between Live Help Specialists, or over to the customer experience team, has also been important for achieving faster resolution times and increased overall satisfaction.”
- Justin Smith, Manager of the Live Help team at Edmunds
Select success metrics
Depending on which business objectives you settle on, you can choose a set of metrics to measure your success with chat. Ideally, you want to pick metrics that are relevant to your business objectives. Here are four metrics to consider:
- Chat rating - Zendesk Chat's chat rating feature lets customers rate a chat (positively or negatively) and leave comments. The chat rating can then be used to monitor the overall CSAT of your support operation and drill down into the performance of individual agents. You can also use Analytics to measure the effect of various chat factors (e.g., wait times, response rate, and chat duration) on the overall CSAT.
- Average wait time - The average wait time is the length of time it takes for an agent to start serving a customer. This is important as it indicates how long, on average, your customers are waiting to be served. The lower the response time, the more likely your customers will be satisfied with their experience. This metric is also a good gauge for monitoring and reducing support costs and improving response rates.
- Average chat duration - If your goal is to reduce the overall support cost, then keep a close eye on the average chat duration of your agents. This lets you see how long your agents take to serve an average chat. Bear in mind that agents will frequently handle more than one chat at a time so the actual average chat duration will usually be a bit lower than the recorded number. Also, be wary of driving this number down as it might adversely affect your CSAT.
- Agents logged in and serving - These two complementary metrics – agents logged in and agents serving – give you insight into how many agents were available and for how long they were serving. This is useful to track shifts as well as plan future schedules. You can also use this to minimize agent overlap and keep costs down.
By aligning the goals of using chat with your overall business objectives, the relevant stakeholders will quickly see the value of chat and its impact on the bottom line.
As you develop your business objectives and select metrics to measure the success of your chat deployment, consider the following:
- What is your current support infrastructure like? Are your customers happy with it?
- Why do you want to add chat?
- What is your budget?
- How do you foresee chat impacting your bottom line?
- How do you currently increase sales conversions? How do you anticipate chat improving this process?