Running a digital company takes time, effort, and most importantly, money, which is the only thing that can buy the other two defining factors. In terms of customer support, there is—or used to be—a clear link between the quality of your team and the money you invest in it. To put it briefly, you must invest a respectable amount of capital to get results and maximize company productivity in the area of support. However, live chat support has revolutionized how you conduct business and take care of your customers. In this article, we’ll go over the importance of live chat support for your business’s productivity. We’ll also provide some perspective on why this is the most efficient way to provide support for your clients, regardless of the industry and niche of your company. Let’s get right into it!
Online Live Chat Support Is Taking the Place of Less Effective Support Options
First, it’s important to understand what live chat support is replacing. Businesses used to be dependent on and limited to using one or several of the following support channels for many years:
- Advantages: asynchronous communication allows for detailed inquiries and responses and is convenient for customers to access at their own pace.
- Disadvantages: It can be slow to receive responses, not suitable for urgent inquiries, and difficult to provide real-time assistance.
- Advantages: immediate communication, which allows for clarification and resolution of complex issues; personal touch; and building rapport.
- Disadvantages: can be time-consuming, it has long wait times; it has limited accessibility outside business hours; and it’s not ideal for detailed inquiries.
- Advantages: it’s a secure and reliable way to send and receive documents; it's convenient for sharing sensitive information.
- Disadvantages: slow and outdated technology; requires access to a fax machine; not suitable for real-time communication.
- Self-service portals:
- Advantages: 24/7 access to information and resources; customers can find answers independently as they don’t rely on support agents.
- Disadvantages: may not address complex or specific inquiries; not suitable for personalized assistance; requires some technical literacy.
- Online forums and communities:
- Advantages: it’s a collaborative environment for finding solutions, sharing experiences, and receiving peer support from other customers.
- Disadvantages: unofficial channel; response times may vary; not moderated or guaranteed to be accurate information.
- Direct mail:
- Advantages: it’s a personalized approach that can be used for targeted communication and promotions.
- Disadvantages: slow and outdated method; limited interactivity; not ideal for immediate assistance.
Live Chat Support Was a Productivity and Profitability Game-Changer
The need for faster, more efficient, and personalized customer service was the leading factor behind the creation of live chat support. The previous solutions were simply outdated and inefficient. Also, most of them required much more staff, which, in the case of large businesses, could be detrimental to their profitability. For example, imagine having a business with several channels for different purposes aside from support. That causes the following:
- The allocation of resources to different departments to take care of the needs of customers.
- Increased operational costs.
- Decreased efficiency.
- Increased staff training needs.
- Increased staff training material needs. There are different types of training requirements for answering calls, emails, and faxes, among others.
- Lack of communication between different departments and channels. That can lead to low customer satisfaction.
- And numerous other disadvantages.
Of course, while live chat has become a dominant force in customer service, many of the earlier methods still have their place. Businesses often use a combination of channels, including live chat, email, phone, and self-service portals, to provide comprehensive and responsive customer support. But now, there are major advantages, like centralized control over customer service and support channels and productivity levels that are already better than before.
Boosting Company Productivity with Online Live Chat Support
Customer service is a critical aspect of running a successful business—live chat support is simply the most efficient tool to take care of it. As more companies embrace the convenience of these technologies, there’s a growing opportunity to not only enhance customer satisfaction but also increase company productivity. Even though live chat support offers improved productivity as a technology, there is a set of best practices that can improve productivity even more.
Let’s explore how to maximize productivity by focusing on three key factors: response time, stress percentage, and employee retention. There are more customer support KPIs you should keep track of, but these are enough to prove how much of an improvement your company can make with a single chat support tool.
1. Response Time Matters
One of the primary benefits of online live chat support is the speed at which customer inquiries can be addressed. To maximize productivity in this area, consider the following strategies:
- Utilize chatbots: implement chatbots to handle routine queries and basic problem-solving. These AI-powered tools can provide instant responses, freeing up human agents to tackle more complex issues.
- Set realistic expectations: be transparent about response times. Make sure your customers know what to expect, and then strive to meet or exceed those expectations consistently.
- Prioritize queues: use a queue system that identifies high-priority chats and routes them to the most experienced agents. This ensures that urgent matters are addressed promptly.
- Implement templates: create a library of pre-approved message templates or canned responses for common inquiries. This helps agents respond more quickly while maintaining consistency in their answers.
2. Reducing Stress Percentage
High-stress levels among your support team can negatively impact productivity and employee satisfaction. Here are ways to mitigate stress in an online chat support environment:
- Proper training: ensure that your agents are well-trained in customer service skills, problem-solving, and using the chat support platform. Knowledgeable agents are more confident and less likely to experience stress.
- Regular breaks: encourage agents to take short, regular breaks to recharge. This can help prevent burnout and improve their ability to handle challenging situations.
- Supportive culture: foster a supportive work culture where team members can openly discuss challenges and share experiences. Peer support can be invaluable in reducing stress.
3. Employee Retention is Key
High turnover rates can be detrimental to productivity and customer service quality. To boost employee retention in your live chat support team:
- Recognition and rewards: recognize and reward top-performing agents. This can include performance-based incentives, acknowledgment in team meetings, or career growth opportunities.
- Professional development: offer ongoing training and opportunities for career advancement. When employees see a path for growth within the company, they are more likely to stay.
- Flexible work arrangements: consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible hours, to accommodate the needs of your support team.
- Work-life balance: encourage a healthy work-life balance by promoting reasonable work hours and discouraging excessive overtime.
In conclusion, online live chat support can be a powerful tool for enhancing company productivity, but it requires careful attention to response times, stress management, and employee retention. By implementing these strategies, you can build a more efficient and sustainable chat support operation that delivers exceptional customer service while keeping your team motivated and satisfied. Remember, a happy and well-supported support team is more likely to provide top-notch service to your customers.