Inside the Quality-First Contact Center

Why Live Chat is the Channel That’s Changing the Customer Care Game

Callzilla recently implemented live chat customer service capabilities for a client. This client, a subscription-based live television streaming service, initially only offered email as a means of customer service. Reflecting the bad old days of email customer care, response times ranged between 3 to 5 business days and time-to-resolution untold, their customer satisfaction rate was very low and had it been measured, customer effort, very high. In partnering with Callzilla, they implemented new channels—phone and most recently, live chat, for a multi-channel customer service approach. What we’ve found is that many of their customers experience a whole host of problems but this company was unaware because they utilized the wrong channels. This approach worked for this client, but why? Can it work for all businesses?

It’s about meeting your customers where they are.

Due to the nature of this client’s services, their demographic is already very tech-savvy and is using their mobile devices to access a live streaming application. The live chat service opened an additional channel for younger subscribers and gave them the ability to live chat from within the app, resolving their issues in one spot without making them send an email or make a phone call.

Live chat, and any kind of multi-channel approach, is about understanding where your client base is and giving them the access they need, so that First Contact Resolution stays up and Customer Effort Score stays down.

And not just the demographic, but how they interact with your live chat tools.

Customers volume on live chat simply exploded. We expected it to displace and eventually eclipse the customer service volume conducted over the phone or via email. However, the phone and email traffic remained constant, proving there was a group of people that simply weren’t reaching out for help because it wasn’t convenient or they weren’t comfortable presenting their problems.
The live chat feature is allowing our client to meet their customers where they feel comfortable interacting—increasing customer loyalty, satisfaction, rate of resolution, and most critically, Life Time Value (LTV).

The right chat resources make it possible.

Through the simple data collection now available through live chat, we’ve been able to enhance the overall Voice of Customer program for this company. Through customer feedback that now finally exists, we’ve proved to this client that they have a serious challenge in the infrastructure and technology platform they utilize to distribute content to their subscribers. They believe that they are a customer-centric organization, but now finally have the data to understand that their subscriber base is largely unsatisfied. Their challenges lie in the central nervous system of their service offering and until they make the painful adjustments around this challenge, they face an uncertain future in mind of cord-cutters. Customer care is a core tenant to retaining their subscribers, and as long as they are willing to make the commitment to a more robust technology platform, their future subscriber base will remain loyal.

Operationally, to implement a live chat strategy, you need enough resources – an agent can only take on so many concurrent chats. While chat volume for this particular brand exploded upon launch, in the effort to quickly handle as many chats as possible, we realized that we approached the dangerous trade off between quality (ability to serve and resolve customer problems upon first contact) and quantity (maximum chat handling). Ultimately, we settled on a maximum of 3 concurrent chats with a Service Level of 80%, response time in 20 seconds or less. The live chat is only a good feature if enough resources can be allocated to it, otherwise those same users that came in will wait too long for first contact or have a lower quality of ongoing interaction if the agent is handling too many chats. Standard industry Service Levels proved to be relevant in our mission to serve as many customers as possible, in as short an amount of time as possible, and resolving as many cases as possible within the first contact.

Measuring live chat success is still tough, but there are steps we can take.

At the end of our live chat engagements with this client’s subscribers, we offer a simple survey – thumbs up or thumbs down on the experience. If we get a thumbs down, it could be because the agent needs better training, or it could be because their issue wasn’t resolved, or because the customer was unhappy with the amount of effort needed to reach resolution, which is sometimes not the agent’s fault. Of course, this is a streamlined approach, but we will need to get more granular in order to really determine how these users are interacting with live chat, to refine the processes.

Topics: Call Center Technology Customer Service Insights