Live chat is a great way for businesses to have real-time conversations with customers and build long-lasting relationships. It also provides a simple and easy way for customers to quickly contact your business, in case of queries and issues.
However, unless you monitor your live chat process, it’s difficult to find out what’s working and what isn’t, and how you can improve it further.
Here are 5 key metrics that you should keep an eye on to measure the effectiveness of your live chat system.
Number of chats
Monitoring the number of chats will tell you during which days of the week and times of the day you can expect a surge in chat volume. This will help you efficiently allocate call agents and resources to handle the peak hours.
You can also break out the number of chats by customer segment. For example, your website may receive different type of visitors - web developers, designers, analysts, managers, and executives. Find out which segment drives the most number of chats. Can you do something to reduce their chat volume? For example, how about creating a knowledge base specifically for senior managers?
In Ubiq’s earlier days, we noticed that although our product was targeted at CTOs & Product Managers, most of our chats were from HR managers who came to our website via Google Search, and were unable to use our tool. This helped us realize that we were attracting the wrong audience. Once we refined our website content to be more CTO-specific, we were not only able to reduce our chat volume but also increase our conversion rates!
First response time
First Response Time is the amount of time it takes for an agent to respond to a chat request. Nobody likes to keep waiting for customer support. So the lower your first response time, the more effective your live chat. It’s one of the most important metrics that affects customer satisfaction.
To begin with, you can monitor the overall first response time across all your chats. Is it an award-winning less than 30 seconds? 1 minute? 5 minutes? This will give an idea of your live chat’s operational efficiency.
Go deeper and monitor the first response time for each agent. This will help you identify which agents can use additional resources or training to be more effective.
Also, find out the overall first response time during the peak days and hours identified above. It’s bound to be more than the average. Find out why it’s happening. Is it because your agents are tied up with too many concurrent calls? Is it because your technology is unable to support so many concurrent requests? Or is there a more serious problem with your product that acts up during these peak hours?
Once you find out why your first response time shoots up, you can immediately take the right steps to lower it - whether it’s hiring more agents, upgrading your technology, or looking into your product performance.
First Contact Resolution (FCR)
First Contact Resolution is the percent of issues that are resolved during the first chat. Higher your FCR, the better it is. To improve this metric, you need to find out why customer issues remain unresolved even after the first chat.
Here are three questions that can help you identify the cause of open issues.
- Are your visitors able to reach the right agent? For example, if a user has a question about payment methods, is he able to reach an agent who can answer his question? How often do you have to transfer the chat to a second agent?
- Are your agents well-trained and well-equipped to resolve the issue? For example, some issues may require screen-sharing to walk users through the solution. Do your agents (and customers) have access to screen-sharing tools? Do they know how to use it?
- Which type of issues take multiple attempts to get resolved? Is it about using a specific feature? Is it about getting started with your product? Is it about managing multiple users? Once you find out the most common topics responsible for a low FCR rate, you can address them quickly.
At Ubiq, we noticed that most of our low FCR issues came from new users who were unable successfully integrate our product to their system. So we spent a couple of months building a new user onboarding process that made it easy for them to get started with our product. Guess what happened.
It completely stopped all integration-related questions from new users and reduced our average response time by more than 23%.
Chat duration (chat length) is the amount of time it takes for a chat agent to resolve customer issue.
Monitoring the average chat length is a good way to understand the overall effectiveness of your live chat process. Short chat durations indicate efficient support processes and a clear understanding of user issues. Long chat lengths indicate a scope for improvement.
There are various factors that can lead to long chat durations. Here are some common reasons for increasing chat lengths
- Poor communication skills of chat agents - Chat agents are unable to understand user issues and/or communicate the solution clearly.
- Poor communication skills of users - Many times, users are not able clearly communicate what they want, or understand what they’re being told to do.
- Poor access to resources - Agents may not have ready access to required information and resources required to conclude the session. So they have to ramble or buy time while they look for it.
Classify your live chats into topics and find out which type of user questions have the longest resolution time. Customize your workflows to resolve them faster. For example, find out which questions require screen sharing or video assistance. Create video tutorials for those topics, that agents can readily share with users, or train your agents to resolve them over screen-sharing.
Every business exists to make customers happy. However, in the quest for operational efficiency, many organizations make the fatal mistake of ignoring customer happiness. They aim to reduce first response time and increase FCR rate, but don’t bother to find out if the user got a satisfactory response.
There are multiple ways to gauge customer happiness about your live chat process.
Initially, you can ask users to rate their chat experience (or how likely they are to recommend your business) on a scale of 10 to understand what they think about it and what they expect in future.
As you get more responses, you can ask users to fill out a post-chat survey with more detailed questions about what they liked, and what they feel can be improved.
You can create targeted post-chat surveys to find out what users think about your product, website, customer service, individual chat agents or even a specific pain point. For example, if your live chat was about a billing problem, then you can share a billing-specific survey with your user.
A Live Chat System is like the eyes and ears of your organization. It allows you to quickly identify the customer pain points, gather valuable user feedback, get new ideas for product improvement and take your business in the right direction. If you monitor the right metrics, you’ll be able to successfully run your live chat process and leverage it to make customers happy.
For more than 8 years, Sreeram Sreenivasan has worked with various Fortune 500 Companies in areas of Business Intelligence, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He regularly writes at Fedingo about a wide range of business growth & marketing topics. He’s also the Founder & CEO of Ubiq BI, a cloud-based BI Platform for SMBs & Enterprises.