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Blog

Jul 05, 2017

Delight Your Customers with Live Chat Support

A picture representing a human-like virtual customer service agent

[Estimated reading time: 4 minutes]

In today's age of technology, the way we communicate has shifted. People are not just interacting differently among family and friends, but the channels where they engage with brands have changed as well. Customers no longer want to have to pick up a phone to connect with customer service. They want a quick response to their problem, no matter what time of day.

The way to do that? Live chat support.

According to Gartner, "Live chat is increasing in popularity as a preferred customer digital engagement channel, expected to grow to 10% of all interactions by 2018." By that same time, over 80% of companies will offer some form of live chat on their website or on mobile. This feature is becoming not only preferred, but expected, from consumers searching for assistance. When implemented correctly, live chat support greatly enhances your ability to serve your customers. Delivering improved response times, more accurate answers, and time savings for both parties, proper live chat support provides a much easier customer experience.

The 3 different types of live chat support

1. Human-only: the most basic approach

  • Pros
    • Personalization: Customer service agents in this system are able to easily engage with customers as they seek assistance, with more time to gather accurate information and personalize it to each customer.
  • Cons
    • Training: Customer service agents will need to be properly trained on all product-related information to be able to accurately and efficiently handle customer inquiries, while keeping the interaction conversational, providing an authentic experience rather than relying on scripts.
    • Repetitive tasks: With the customer service agents handling all customer inquiries, they are likely to spend the majority of their time resolving very repetitive, frequently asked questions -- spending less time helping the customers who need more complex assistance.
    • Staff bandwidth: The last thing you want to do when implementing live chat is to force your customers to wait for assistance. This system is only as efficient as your agents, so you might find that hiring more agents is required to handle their customer volume.

2. Automated-only: virtual agents, chatbots, and intelligent knowledgebase

  • Pros
    • Response time: By leveraging advanced technology, these virtual agents can handle the most commonly asked questions your brand receives. Pulling from approved internal and external sources, the chatbots can quickly craft the most accurate answer to your customer's question.
  • Cons
    • Limited to most common questions: To achieve this benefit, you must set up a knowledgebase and manage it, updating accurate product information. This system is only as successful as the technology and knowledgebase content. Most automated chatbots are unable to resolve complex or confusing customer inquiries, which can leave customers frustrated.

3. Blended: the best approach to live chat support

  • Pros
    • Automated support: According to a report by Forrester, 44% of online consumers think the ability to answer their questions while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a site can offer. Automated agents handle the bulk of such customer requests.
    • Escalation ability: A blended approach utilizes the advanced technology of virtual agents and chatbots, with an added escalation feature. When a customer inquiry is too complex or not answered in the knowledgebase, they are able to use a simple escalation feature to immediately connect with your customer service agents.
    • Maximized staff bandwidth: Customer service agents are at the ready, focusing on the customer cases that need their attention, without spending their time on repetitive tasks.

Implementing a successful blended approach

To capitalize on the benefits of a blended approach, you need intelligent technology -- including a chatbot to power the virtual agent experience. Astute Bot gives you the perfect mix between virtual and live agents. The conversational interface leverages patented natural language processing to interact with customers.

To power up your bot with intelligent answers, you'll need knowledge management software to provide the accurate responses that your customers are searching for. Astute Knowledge is able to pull answers from multiple sources to craft the most up-to-date, accurate answer. The system can get up and running quickly by leveraging existing content and approved external sources, so you don't have to spend a significant amount of time building your knowledgebase. Over time, advanced machine learning capabilities will alert you to ways of improving your answers.

As your chatbots and knowledgebase handle the simpler, more repetitive tasks, your live agents are free to handle the complex situations that require a human touch. Using an intelligent escalation tool, such as Astute SOS, customers are able to smoothly transition from automated chat support to a live agent. The details of the interaction and customer history is transitioned as well, allowing the agents to pick up where the last interaction left off and further tailor their responses. Escalations can be triggered based on history and current behavior, allowing the live agents to view and engage with the highest priority customers first.

With all of this technology integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) system, your agents can work within a single interface, using in-context guidance and the same knowledgebase powering your chatbots, ensuring consistent and accurate answers.

See this technology in action by requesting a demo of our software and learning how Astute Solutions can help you.

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