Up until now, chat support has had the same legacy problems as phone support or email support; there is no consistency from one support request to another. Customers deal with a different agent every time, and even if the customer has repeat-problems, each new chat agent can't see the pattern forming or offer a big-picture solution. But a high-quality CRM and smart customer support integration is exactly what you need to change all that.
When a chat agent connects with a logged-in customer, ideally their CRM entry pops up on the screen. Depending on your CRM population practices, this could be as sparse as a name and email address or filled with relevant data collected about their shopping habits.
Whatever is available now, it's never too late to start building detailed profiles for customers and then using those to truly personalize how a chat agent speaks to their customers. With clever use of your CRM, you can create a true customer relationship experience by remembering a customer and their preferences each time they contact your customer service channels.
Here are a few tips for chat agents to build a real relationship with customers by reading and adding to their CRM entries:
Start by getting to know customers in a few quick glances. While chat agents often respond immediately and get going with the conversation quickly, you can also use your eyes to rapidly scan any information available on this customer in their current CRM entry.
If your site collects this information (as most do), take a look at the customer's buying, shopping, and wishlist activities. This will let you know the kind of customer they are, both in personal shopping preference and an idea of their recent timeline for interacting with the site.
A chat agent can, for example, quickly see that a customer purchases every week, that they have built a large wishlist, or that they have a recent purchase that is the most likely trigger for this service request.
If previous customer service agents have interacted with customer service previously, there's a chance that there will be notes added by those previous support agents. Whether a customer is picky or funny, if they have children or if their home has slow internet, these can all be relevant and helpful tips provided by those who have assisted before.
If your company keeps transcripts of previous chats or phone calls, these too can be used to enhance the customer service experience and are highly useful in creating a sense of continuous customer-relationship. Skim and reference previous conversations as you trade the first polite phrases with a customer.
You can also check out where a customer is located if they have listed or granted permission for this to be known. Just knowing the general city and region of a customers location can give some important clues on how to deal with them and what to expect from your connection.
In addition to using the CRM as reference material, you can also use it to direct chats straight to someone the customer will find familiar. Keep track in the CRM entry of a customer who has served them in the past. If a previous chat agent is available for a new call, direct the customer toward them and add a reminder flag for the agent.
Customers will often be both relieved and happy to speak to someone familiar. And the novelty of speaking to someone who actually remembers them and their problem is incredibly gratifying.
When chatting with customers who have previously or recently contacted customer service or otherwise interacted with the website in the past, use familiar and memory-based language. Instead of sounding like a bank teller with "It looks like you contacted us a week ago about this purchase, " instead say something more like "I recall last time you contacted us that it was also about this package" or "That package you ordered hasn't shipped yet, so you can still make adjustments to the order. Can I help you with that?
Be familiar with the customers and speak as if you, the chat agent, are the brand building a consistent relationship through every website interaction. As long as those interactions are visible when a live chat conversation starts.
Next, be sure to record and archive all chat (and phone call) conversations in a transcript. As you can see, these transcripts are highly valuable for future interactions with these customers in building a consistent relationship and referencing conversations they've had with the company previously. So it makes perfect sense to continue collecting this data and even highlight the most important parts in your CRM notes.
You should also consider sending on those transcripts, un-annotated, to the customers as well. Customers often get very useful information in live chat that "disappears" when the window closes if they don't smartly copy the whole thing into a separate document. You can make sure customers keep ahold of the information you provide simply by emailing that transcript over after the conversation is done. You might be surprised just how much this is appreciated.
Lastly, be sure to take a moment and make a few notes during or at the end of each customer live chat conversation. What did you learn about the customer? What useful targeting or circumstantial or preference information did they share? What would you want to know the next time you work with them, or what would you tell another chat agent if they took the line?
Add to the CRM any information you think might be useful. You, others, and the customers will be thankful you did the next time they contact the company for service.
Live chat customer service is a vital aspect of a full-channel support team, and is quickly taking the lead as a customer-favorite way to contact brands for any purpose. Using these techniques, you can not only improve the quality of service, but also help customers feel personally cared for with a CRM-driven personalized approach.
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