10-Step Live Chat and Messaging Best Practice Checklist
Perhaps your brand has made the decision to implement chat and messaging as part of your omnichannel contact center strategy, or you want to improve the customer experience (CX) you deliver through your existing chat and messaging channels. Either way, chat and messaging are increasingly important elements within your CX tool kit.
Most brands have been delivering customer support through voice-based channels for decades. But, while the service offered provides the perfect complement to telephone support, delivering best-in-class chat and messaging support requires a different approach.
Download our checklists for step-by-step guides to the must-dos of chat and messaging best practices, or read on to learn more.
Recruit for the Chat and Messaging Skills You Need
Chat and messaging agents need a different skillset than those providing voice-based support. The ability to multitask effectively, understand emotion and display empathy digitally, while also effectively handling concurrent conversations without confusing information is essential. Your recruitment activity should proactively identify those candidates with the right capabilities.
Organizations implementing chat and messaging can fall into the trap of asking phone-based agents to manage chat or messaging conversations alongside voice-based interactions. Because voice-based and digital conversations require different skill sets, this approach will not deliver the best results.
Act with Speed
Chat is real time, therefore, customers expect immediate support. Show customers their place in the queue and how long they can expect to wait for the conversation to start. Aim to leave customers waiting no longer than 45 seconds for the conversation to begin. Once the chat is in progress, aim to leave it no longer than 30 seconds between customer and agent interactions to drive satisfaction.
While messaging is not a real-time conversation, customers still appreciate a fast response. Aim to respond to text messages within 30 minutes.
Make Effective Use of Automation
Automation can help free up agents from repetitive tasks and keep customers engaged. You can make use of automation at different stages of the interaction. For example, at the start of the chat or messaging interaction, you can use automated messages to initiate the conversation such as, “Hi. I’m Sandy. How can I help you today?”
Make Use of Shortcuts
Chat and messaging agents need to work quickly. Help them communicate effectively by making use of keyboard commands to quickly move between windows. Hotkeys help agents to quickly add frequently used text. For example, “Hi John, sorry for the wait. I’ll be with you in just a moment.” Be sure to personalize scripted messages appropriately.
Limit Concurrency for Chat Agents
One of the business benefits of chat is that agents can manage multiple chats simultaneously. Remember that the more chats an agent is managing, the longer the wait time for each customer. So, be sure to balance concurrency with speed and accuracy for the best results.
Ramp Up Concurrency For Messaging Agents
Like chat, one of the business benefits of messaging is that agents can manage multiple chats simultaneously. Unlike chat, as the conversations are not taking place in real time, agents can handle up to eight interactions concurrently without negatively impacting customer satisfaction.
In a chat conversation, customers can’t hear what the agent is doing but they are waiting for a real-time response, so be sure to let them know what is happening throughout the conversation. If an agent needs a moment to look up information or check with a colleague, let the customer know they’ll have a short wait while a task is completed with phrases such as: “I’m asking my manager. I’ll be with you in just a moment.”
Pay Attention to Detail
Customers may find it harder to explain what they need in a written format than they would in a voice conversation. Chat and messaging agents need to be especially attentive to details, carefully reading what is written and asking concise, clarifying questions. Customers should not be asked to repeat information they have already shared. Messaging agents in particular should be sure to carefully read the conversation history, which may have taken place over a period of hours or days.
Keep the Conversation Short and Friendly
Customers are familiar with text-based conversations and expect them to be succinct. Avoid long and overly formal text. Chat and messaging conversations should prioritize brevity. Careful use of emojis can help to convey the sentiment of the conversation and create engagement with the customer, but use sparingly.
Share Files and Rich Media in Messaging Conversations
Messaging is a format that makes the sharing of media and files simple and effective. Customers can refer to materials shared in their own time and come back to the conversation when they are ready. Shared files can also be referred to later, supporting future customer self-service.
Sitel Group® connects brands with their customers across voice and non-voice channels, including 133 million chat interactions every year. Download our guide to learn more about how we Create Cost Efficiencies and Deliver Powerful Digital Brand Connections with Chat and Messaging.