Chat Support Best Practices

In this article, you’ll find details on one of the best support channels available. The chat support best practices and benchmarks you’ll find here will help you better understand how your organization can use chat support, how you should benchmark your costs and results, and what some of the implementation considerations are. You can also download our full PDF Chat Support White Paper at bottom.

Chat support compared to phone and email support

Chat support is currently the generally preferred support methodology of both companies and their customers.

Chat support regularly receives higher customer service marks. It allows customers to multi-task while also receiving on-demand support. It is the sweet spot for current consumer expectations.

Technical support satisfaction level by channel (Econsultancy, 2014):

  • Chat: 73%
  • Web: 61%
  • Phone: 44%

From the company’s perspective, chat support is highly efficient. Support agents can handle concurrent sessions, which significantly reduces costs per transaction as compared to phone support. Additionally, the live interaction helps avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary back-and-forth that can be prevalent in email support. The economics continue to favor chat as the leading option.

Why is live chat preferred the preferred support choice of consumers?

As stated by JD Power in the US Wireless Customer Care Full-Service Performance study:

The higher levels of satisfaction with online chat are partially due to the efficiency and immediacy of the experience.
Within the online channel, the chat feature has become the leading contact source, as 42% of full-service customers indicate using a live online chat feature vs. email (23%) or other social media forum (16%). Additionally, online satisfaction is highest among customers who use the chat feature.”

Chat Support Best Practices
Chat support and productivity baselines and metrics

Chat support gives individual agents the ability to handle concurrent issues at the same time. There is, however, a balance that must be achieved in terms of agent capacity, responsiveness, economics, and customer satisfaction. Key studies have been performed in this area, and while results may differ based on support complexity, it is been routinely shown that two concurrent sessions per agent provides the best balance between productivity and customer satisfaction.

When an agent moves from handling one issue to two concurrent issues, productivity increases by 85%. At this point, wait time between customer question and agent response typically only increases by 3 seconds. However, interaction wait time for the agent drops 82%, as the agent is now able to move question to question rather than waiting on the customer.

By moving from one chat session to two per agent, you are able to increase your support center’s productivity by 85% with no significant impact to the customers.

Moving to three concurrent sessions, however, begins to show considerably diminished returns. Whereas with two concurrent sessions, the agent still has wait time on the customers, with three sessions, the customer is now purely waiting on the agent. Agent wait time drops to zero, netting an additional 13.6% productivity gain. However, customers are now waiting nearly twice as long as they would in a one session scenario.

Source: QPC Australia

Chat support metrics to determine success

When deploying support methodologies, managing to simple but insightful KPIs is key to success. Four keys areas should be measured for best results:

  1. Quality
  2. Service Level
  3. Productivity
  4. Cost

Measuring these areas allows organizations to keep customer-focused while managing internal cost concerns. By leveraging industry standard KPIs, organizations are able to take a step further and benchmark themselves against both competitors and best-in-class.

The following table provides industry standard measures, along with general North American averages. Organizations will want to dive deeper into their particular sector, and where possible, compare themselves against direct competitors.

Chat Support Best Practice MetricsSource: MetricNet LLC and UBM LLC

Chat support implementation considerations and best practices

If you’re convinced chat is the right support option for you, there are several considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Low cost geographies are ideal for chat support. They can provide cost advantages, while minimally impacting customer satisfaction. Voice quality is not an issue with chat support. Additionally, the use of scripted dialogue can further enhance the quality of interaction.
  2. Infrastructure components and integration with your support portals will be required. Specialized chat support vendors can quickly deploy and maintain these solutions in an off-premise, hosted environment.
  3. Staffing provided by a specialized vendor will allow you to quickly ramp up and down to meet seasonal volume, trial chat support, or meet changing customer preference over time.

BETSOL is a leader in chat support, providing an end-to-end solution. BETSOL will host the infrastructure and provide staff with class-leading results.

  • 75% lower turnover than industry average
  • 2x industry average customer satisfaction
  • 24x7x365 network monitoring and network engineering
  • 24x7x365 chat, email, and phone support
  • Large scale, proven support, with over 10,000 simultaneous agents supported
  • Proactive engagements, driving true support transformation leading to increased customer satisfaction and reduced cost

Next steps

PDF - Chat Support Best Practices
Free PDF – Chat Support Best Practices

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