Help Agents to Focus on the Human Factor of Web Chat

18th Nov, 2014
Read time: 2 minutes

In the fourth part of this series we discussed how to avoid common errors in web chat deployment which you can view here.

Web chat is a very efficient communication tool and according to eConsultancy 73% of customers surveyed said they preferred it as a customer service channel. It is important however that agents remain aware that there is a human trying to make contact on the line. Avoiding these common errors experienced by web chat users will help increase your customer satisfaction levels on web chat.

There is a real person on line

Web chat requires a personalised conversation, so use scripted responses cautiously and ensure that they blend with the tone of the non-scripted responses. Consider how you can best reflect the corporate brand in voice while delivering a human response on line. Support your teams with a style guide and provide appropriate words and phrases, using factual and non-promotional responses. Customers seek answers to specific questions, so short direct answers with one or two ideas per response can be beneficial and help to avoid sales or promotional speak. After answering their question directly, additional context can be provided by referring them to the appropriate catalogue text on your web page.

Tip: monitor repeat instances of similar questions. By adding the relevant answers to your website you could improve the customer experience and reduce customer effort.

Quicker, more cost effective contact

Agents may sometimes forget the importance of patience, and that resolving the query is the priority. Putting yourself in the customer's shoes by asking, "What help does the customer need to resolve this query, so that they can move forward?" can be advantageous. Support agents need to do this respectfully. Managing concurrent chats (up to four maximum, ideally two) may be productive, however agents should be encouraged to take appropriate breaks or switch channels if the pressure of work could impact the customer experience.

Tip: an effective knowledge base of preferred answers can make a significant difference to seamless answers and reduce agent stress.

Clarity delivers understanding

Insistence on correct grammar, capitalisation and spelling is not trivial, it is a practical professional standard to reduce possible confusion and improve customer reading speed. We cannot assume the reading competence or native language of any browser, so using text speak or inappropriate phrases could lead to a misunderstanding or lengthy discussion.

Tip: a good knowledge base of preferred answers for frequently asked questions and answers acts as a solid support increasing time to answer and reducing repetitive work.

Customer experience and survey

Ensure that you manage the customer experience from beginning to end. It is helpful to offer the chat transcript to the customer at the end of the conversation so that important information or advice is not lost once the chat window is closed. Offering the transcript by email and adding a survey to evaluate the experience will assist you to ensure the service delivered is valued and contributes to transforming customer engagement. Chat transcripts should also be stored in the case management or CRM solution for easy reference.

Tip: remember to include the customer effort question, "did the organisation make it easy for you to achieve your goal today?"

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