“Agent” or “Operator”, “Virtual agent” or “Virtual assistant” – we often name the same things differently and this sometimes can narrow our options. Developers and marketers can describe software features in absolutely different words, and you can even believe that they are talking about different things while in fact they are talking about similar functionality. Looking deeper in what this or that feature does, we can find out that it can be utilized in much more ways than we are used to think.
Let’s take a look at the feature named “multiple departments”. The first thing you can think of is separating sales and support departments. Probably this is the common usage. Larger companies can add marketing or PR, delivery or many other departments. But if we think of division in general, we can find more options for this feature.
You can have multiple service departments in a city or even in several cities. In this case a department can mean location. Your website visitors can choose their city before entering the chat and get to the right person on the first try. Still all the departments are operated within one admin panel, all agents can access same canned messages, and the website owner can review statistics about all agents and departments in one place.
For multi-lingual websites it can be vital to have multi-lingual service. The multiple departments feature comes in useful here. Set up languages as departments and assign them to the corresponding operators. When you website visitors choose a language before entering a chat, they actually choose a specific language department.
If you sell just a few products or some products require special attention, you might want to have a separate person in charge of a specific product. You can add the product name as department along with other departments. For example if you sell cars, you can offer your customers to contact new cars sales department or used cars sales department.
Promoted products require special attention. When you offer your website visitors to contact you regarding special offers, first of all you draw their attention to the subject, and then you help your potential customers to make a decision during a live chat session.
You see how flexible a chat feature can be. Do you use any features in a way that is not very common?
Do you regularly monitor the quality of your customer service? Do you make sure that your online service staff delivers positive experience to your website visitors? Well-structured weekly monitoring will help you uncover the gaps in your chat service and take timely measures before you start losing customers.
We suggest going through two checklists to make sure that your live chat service works effectively.
I. Make sure that the chat is well set up.
The first checklist is about general impression and chat settings. The answers to the below questions will help you understand if your chat settings are correct and effective.
1. Is it easy for your website visitors to spot a chat plugin or a chat button to contact you?
2. Does the chat widget or button design corresponds to your website design?
3. If you use any pop-up settings, do you allow the website visitors to browse the website for a while before the pop-up invitation to chat appears?
4. Do you use advanced settings for automated chat invitations to address your website visitors individually depending on their referral URL, used keywords or a current page?
5. Are your website visitors allowed to leave a message via chat plugin when the chat service is unavailable?
6. Do you collect visitors’ contact details before they enter the chat?
Now check your answers. If you have any NO-answers, you might need to review your chat settings and improve widget’s performance.
II. Make sure, that your chat agents are effective.
The second checklist is about regular monitoring of your chat service. Let’s say, once a week would be good. Here are the questions you need to answer.
1. Do your chat operators know all about your products and services to effectively communicate with your customers? You can check it going through chat scripts archive and making sure, that all the provided answers are correct.
2. Are your chat operators talk in professional and polite manner?
3. If canned messages are used, is there all information up-to-date?
4. Do your operators manage to answer all customers’ questions, or are there unanswered questions?
5. If operators are not able to answer a question, are they able to talk the visitor into leaving contact info to provide answers later?
6. If the visitor is promised to get contacted later regarding unanswered questions, are you sure that the contact will not be lost or forgotten?
7. Is the average pickup time less that 10 seconds? Check that under the Stats tab.
8. Is your operators’ rating higher than four stars? You can also check that under the Stats tab.
9. After you read the chat archive, what impression do you have? Do you think that your website users are satisfied with the service?
Check your answers on the second list. If you heave any negative answers, you’ll see a room to improve your chat service. Good luck!
Small- and medium-sized e-commerce sites don’t often have the resources that are needed to provide around-the-clock live support to everyone who needs it. By using a program that incorporates virtual support and live support, you can affordably offer prospects and customers a personal level of service without spending exorbitant amounts of money.
What are the benefits of support via chat?
The benefits of offering support via chat are well-known. What’s more is that all of the most important benefits apply just as easily to virtual support as they do to live support. By turning to HelpOnClick, you can get the most out of these benefits to ensure that your e-commerce site delivers the most profitability:
Increase Efficiency – Even the most sophisticated live chat program is going to fall short from time to time. Customers are going to be left waiting for assistance, and many of them aren’t going to wait very long. Live chat supplemented by virtual support helps to eliminate this problem.
Eliminate Wait Times – No one likes waiting for assistance. In a brick-and-mortar store, it’s sometimes a necessary evil. Incredibly, you can offer a level of service that’s superior to that of a physical store by using HelpOnClick. At any given moment, visitors can get the support they need instantly.
Increase Sales – People are more likely to make purchases when they’re confident they’re getting what they want. Expecting people to jump through a bunch of hoops to find out what they need to know isn’t practical. They’re far more likely to just go to an entirely different e-commerce site. You can keep that from happening by offering support via chat.
Improve ROI – Like any online business owner, you’re always looking for ways to enhance your ROI. HelpOnClick is easy to implement and incredibly affordable. The support it provides is sure to increase customer satisfaction and boost sales, so the return on your investment will be all the greater.
Provide Superior Support – The absolute best aspect of offering support via chat is doing what it takes to provide exceptional customer service. Live chat and virtual chat are practically ubiquitous nowadays. Live chat is widely considered to be superior, but virtual support can pick up the slack and ensure that no one is left waiting around for help. With a reputation for offering unbeatable customer service, your company’s success will know no limits.
Get the chance to sign up for the 60-day free Virtual Chat Agent Trial and check out January specials.
In the new age of Internet commerce, customer service has significantly changed. To succeed in online business, you need to understand its trends and requirements. In this post we would like to share with you a selection of expert thoughts about digital customer service.
Micah Solomon, business speaker, consultant, bestselling business author
“Millennial customers (born after 1980) bring to the market an entirely new set of expectations. They think differently about customer service, about how they want to be treated in business interactions. It’s a generation of consumers defined by the digital world that they’ve known since infancy. A group of people, larger than the baby boom, who have lived their entire conscious lives immersed in an internet – wifi – smartphone enabled world and have little understanding of the more earthbound systems and expectations that dominated the consumer landscape only a few years ago.”
Steven Van Belleghem, one of Europe’s thought leaders in the field of social media, conversations and digital marketing
“The world is becoming more and more digital. The fast adoption of smartphones and tablets has further enhanced transparency. Today, more than half of the consumers use their mobile devices to compare prices while shopping. If a company or brand doesn’t provide a clear added value then consumers will shop for price. The online world has made price transparency very accessible, a trend that spells danger for any company out there.”
Shep Hyken, customer service expert, professional speaker and bestselling author
“Customized experience, be it in person or digital, is your opportunity to connect with the customer as an individual. Companies are able to track a customer’s information through prior purchases, buying patterns and even products and services the customer has simply shown interest in. The digital experience is starting to mirror the in-person experience.”
Jeff Bezoss, CEO Amazon.com
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”
“If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.”
Dion Hinchcliffe, expert in information technology, business strategy, and next-generation enterprises
“The core of the problem companies have in onboarding new digital channels such as social media, is that customers will then expect the company to respond and participate in conversations. And engagement at scale is one of the hardest things for companies to do as they are organized today, despite plenty of studies confirming the significant value in doing so. Remove the barriers to doing engaging in scale and make it a success by supplying tools and proactive organizational policies to orchestrate advocates (employee, partner, and customer) to do the work whenever possible.”
Ekaterina Walter, Social media strategist at Intel
“When customers connect with customer support, all they are looking for are two things: rapid response and accurate information. There are still a lot of brands that cannot provide fast enough response and that continues to be a huge differentiator for a number of companies.”
Dave Kerpen, CEO, Likeable Media
“Online customer support is table stakes now. In order to truly be different, companies must use online customer service to surprise and delight customers. You stand to gain from delighting both complainers and already happy folks.”
The quality of customer service depends on the people who work in the service department, their knowledge, qualification and devotion to their job. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Are you 100% sure that your service staff delivers great customer service, or is there a room for improvement?
- Do you pay enough attention to customer service improvement?
- What else can you do to help your service staff now? Next week? Next month?
Why is it important? A number of researches show that every customer experience, good or bad, can impact your future sales and reputation due to the word-of-mouth effect. Here is what the researchers say:
- A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience.
- Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
- Negative interactions with a business are spread to twice as many people as positive ones.
- People are twice as likely to talk about bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about good experiences.
- 67% of people spend money after getting recommendations from their friends on online communities like Facebook and Twitter.
- Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience.
The competition is very high in all business sectors, and it is the service that makes the difference. If you invest in your customer service department, the staff will make your customers happy. If your customers are happy, they will tell their friends about you, and in its turn it will increase your sales.
Well trained customer service staff is not a matter of a month or even a year. Enrichment and enhanced training should become daily processes. If you go up step by step every day, you are more likely to reach the goal than if you do nothing today, and try to reach the goal in one jump in a year.
Do you already have a daily training program, or do you teach your staff only when they fail? Let’s discuss it in comments below.
Posted by Tatiana » Add Comment »
Filed under Live chat
If you are running an online business, your top priority is to get customers to make a purchase. Whether you are selling goods or services, your site should provide all the information customers need to make that purchase. One of the best ways to do this is to use a live chat support service.
Why A Live Chat Agent?
Imagine you are a consumer visiting a site and considering making a purchase. If you have a question about a product or service that you cannot find on the site, what would you do? Many people will look elsewhere if they do not find their answers on the FAQ or the main page. Also, some site visitors simply may not have time to read through your site to find answers. With so much online competition in nearly every field, that is a chance you should never take. A live chat agent will be able to quickly and efficiently answer specific questions. With a convenient widget in the corner of the screen, your site visitors enjoy the option of having their questions answered before they can consider looking elsewhere.
Why Choose HelpOnClick?
If you are not familiar with the HelpOnClick chat software, it is well worth your time to learn more. We understand that your main priorities in shopping for a live chat service provider are value and quality. These points summarize a few of the ways we excel in both areas:
- The software is translated to over 10 different languages.
- With our tools, you can create specific invitations to direct visitors to the right departments.
- You will never have to worry about losing chat data with emails and offline collections.
- HelpOnClick live chat software can be easily integrated into any website. You can find plugins for all major CMS and e-commerce systems.
- You can use web interface, desktop or mobile apps. Stay connected to your website visitors everywhere anytime.
The best part about HelpOnClick’s live chat support service is that we offer a no-risk trial. Unlike many services offering free trials, we do not collect your financial data as a condition for trying our service. We are confident you will be impressed enough with the value and quality that you will be eager to purchase it when the trial is over. Whether you are looking for live chat support for e-commerce, to improve web-based customer service or for another reason, we have all the tools to help you succeed. Sign up for your free trial today.
Posted by Tatiana » Add Comment »
Filed under Help Desk
Online customer service whether it is delivered via live chat or help desk lacks some important things that make communication personal. I am speaking about eye contact, voice tone and body language. Still there are few things that will help you add personal touch to customer service.
1. Use photos and real names of your agents.
I hope you agree that chatting to a Service_Agent_003 makes you feel like you are talking to a robot. And you do not expect personal care from a robot, do you? If you are using HelpOnClick live chat on your website with such nicknames, just go to the admin panel, click on Admin tab > Setup > Operators, double click on operator, edit the names and upload photos. This small change will make your chat representatives sound human and create better impression.
2. Avoid promotional tone.
When a visitor asks you to tell about a product, the worst thing you can do is to come out with the complete product description as it states on your website. Even if you have added a shorter description to canned messages, this will not help you to sound natural. If you have ever experienced such a situation in a regular store, you might remember that it feels like an assistant does not care about your needs and you get bored and start yawning quite soon.
When we talk about online stores, you can be pretty sure, that the website visitors have already gone through at least basic product description, and they will not be happy with your quick standard reply. If they ask for your assistance, they definitely have a few particular questions and your first priority is to find them out. Do not be afraid to ask questions to provide better help. Your customer service can be personal only if you address visitors’ particular questions, not just provide quick general replies.
3. Mind what a visitor asks, not what you want to tell.
Again I would like to mention using canned messages. It is very appealing to create one-fit-all replies to common questions and use them as they are. Let’s take an example. You sell software that is localized to several languages, for example, it can be used in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. I can expect that for faster help you will create a standard message that names all the supported languages. Let’s look at possible script now.
Visitor: Does your software support Spanish?
You: ‘Our brand’ software supports English, Spanish, French, German and Italian for now. And more languages will be added next month.
Visitor: Does your software support Spanish?
You: Yes, it does support Spanish.
Which one sounds more personal? To me it is the second one, because it addresses the visitor’s particular question. In the first variant we have used a quick canned message as it is, and provided excessive information, that the visitor is not interested in.
These tips will help you add personal touch to your customer service and deliver great experience to your customers. What other methods do you use in your service? We will be glad to discuss it in the comment below.
Posted by Tatiana » Add Comment »
Filed under Live chat
If you are a new user of the HelpOnClick live chat, or still thinking of opening an account, you need to know about some helpful features that make your user experience full and fruitful.
When a website visitor contacts you via the chat widget, you might want to know the visitor’s name and some other information before the chat starts. Here the pre-chat fields come in useful. You can regulate the number of fields and collect the info you need. Also if you have several departments, such as sales, technical support, marketing inquiries or general questions, you allow visitors to choose the department and they get to the right person on the first try. Go to Admin > Customize > Pre-Chat Fields to set up the feature.
Incoming chat sound alert
During slow hours there is no need in having the chat admin panel open in front of you. You can minimize the window, or even leave your seat without risk to miss a call. Just make sure that the sound alert is on (on the Monitor tab), and your PC sound is on too. Once someone contacts your online chat service, the sound will notify you immediately.
Automated chat invitations
Invite visitors to chat using automated invitation rules. This feature provides huge opportunity to create custom invitation rules, and invite visitors with personalized messages. You can set up timing, user type, referral URL or current URL, send a visitor to a specific department, and of course, compose a specific invitation message for each invitation case. You can create as many invitation messages as you need. Go to Admin > Customize > Invitation Window to set up invitations.
For the most frequent questions it is wise to use ready replies. Keyword search will help you find the correct message quickly, and you will be able to provide full information instantly. Canned messages help you save your time, and allow manage simultaneous conversations easily.
When all operators are offline, you can hide the widget, or allow visitors to leave a message. Just define the required fields and set up an email for collecting messages.
Allow your visitors to find you on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Enable the social buttons on the Settings tab, and your customers will be able to reach your social accounts right from the chat window.
Try how these features work – set up a free full-featured test account now.
Posted by Tatiana » Add Comment »
Filed under Live chat
HelpOnClick live chat software is a powerful and intuitive tool for communication with your website visitors.
HelpOnClick is not only easy to use software, but also an easy to integrate one. HelpOnClick live chat can be easily integrated with the major content management systems, popular e-Commerce systems, CRM and help desk software, as well as Facebook and Google Analytics.
Basically the HelpOnClick live chat button or widget can be integrated with any website. There is just a piece of code that needs to be copied and pasted into a website code.
If you are using a popular CMS or e-Commerce system, it is even easier, because installation can be performed via your admin panel. On the HelpOnClick website you can find installation guides for WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Kentico, Light CMS;
Magento, OsCommerce, ZenCart, PrestaShop, X-Cart, Opencart, BigCommerce, Shopify, CS-Cart, Woo-commerce, 3D-Cart, Volusion, Pinnacle Cart.
All the communication history can be collected in SalesForce, Highrise or Zoho CRM; HelpOnClick, Zendesk, Desk.com, Freshdesk, Zoho, Happy Fox or Mojo helpdesks.
Registration and installation only take 5 minutes. Sign up for a 14-day free trial and see how easy and powerful the software is. HelpOnClick live chat is the perfect tool for your website sales and customer service!
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Filed under Help Desk
This is a guest post provided by Ashley Verrill, a market analyst at Software Advice.
If you asked someone what they think about when you say customer service, they would likely describe an unpleasant experience – one of compounding frustration because they had a problem, then were forced to sit on hold and bounce from one agent to another to get it solved.
This scenario is even worse from the company’s perspective. This might have been the only communication since the customer purchased, and it doesn’t really sound like an experience that inspires them to come back.
There is an alternative – proactive customer service. This means reaching out to your customers before they have to call you, instead of reactively responding when they have a problem. Not only does this provide a better experience, but in one study it reduced call volumes by as much as 30 percent. In the same report, customer retention rose as much as 5 percent.
Here, my company provides six specific actions you can take to turn your service from reactive to proactive.
Want to know what your customers are thinking? Just ask
Customer service is about giving customers what they want, which means you first have to find out what that is. And there’s no better way than to ask them. By regularly reaching out to customers, businesses can easily identify areas of weakness and correct them before customers become unhappy.
PBS.org, for example, used customer feedback technology from ForeSee and found out that many of their website visitors were looking for recipes from their cooking shows – information that wasn’t available online. This frustrated many viewers that visited the website. As a result, PBS.org created a new website exclusively for recipes and other food-related resources. Their customer satisfaction levels increased dramatically.
Reach out and be transparent if there’s a known problem
It’s always better for customers to hear about a problem directly from you instead of realizing the product or service doesn’t do what they need it to, when they need it. While they might still be frustrated, these customers are less apt to hold a grudge; or worse, head to social media to voice their dissatisfaction.
If your company identifies a problem, you should first identify all customers that would be affected by the issue and proactively reach out and offer an apology. Additionally, you could offer a discount towards a future purchase, or a refund if your solution to the problem can’t address their needs.
If you can’t solve the problem right away, be empathetic and clear about what you’re doing to address the issue. Finally, invite them to contact you with any questions or feedback, and make sure those responding to this channel do so quickly.
Show some love for your loyal customers
Proactively reaching out to customers with offers in between purchases provides an additional opportunity for positive interaction with customers to strengthen their relationship with the company. It can also solve problems customers didn’t even know they had by alerting them to something they may be missing out on and offering a way to fix this.
Sending an email to a customer a couple months before their two-year subscription renewal is due, for example, and offering a five percent discount to thank them would likely seal their desire to renew. It also means the customer doesn’t have to call or email to renew themselves, which prevents any lapses in their subscription and ensures their continued satisfaction.
Look for clues of unrest in online conversations, attack the problem
Use social listening technology or manual searches to find customers talking about your company on social media. If you find someone voicing a complaint, reach out and see what you can do to address their needs. If they respond positively, you might retweet or share that experience. This shows you care and respond proactively, and could solve similar issues if other customers are having the same issue.
If you surface a repeated issue, this might indicate something bigger is going on. This would prompt you to reach out to similar customers in your database just to check and make sure they don’t have the same problem.
Use live chat to prevent customers from digging around to find the answer
A Forrester survey found that 44 percent of respondents believe the ability to get quick answers from a live chat representative during an online purchase is “one of the most important features a website can offer.”
Online chat assures website visitors that someone at the company is there to provide any information needed and saves them the trouble of having to search for an answer or call or email the company.
Proactive customer service doesn’t just help you keep the customers you have happy. By turning your customers into advocates for your brand, it becomes a marketing tool that drives new business. Investing a little extra in a proactive customer service approach now is a valuable strategy that can result in considerable dividends down the line.
About Ashley Verrill
Ashley Verrill is a market analyst at Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.