Suppose you are on an eCommerce website and you’re experiencing an issue while at check-out. You have a moment of panic, thinking to yourself “what do I do if it is passed business hours, and I have no one to help me finish my order?”
Then you see it. The small box, with a friendly face, in the corner of your screen - a sigh of relief! You explain to this person you are having an issue, and they are more than happy to assist you. Just like that - problem solved.
Well, have you ever thought “who is on the other side of that box?” Has it ever crossed your mind that someone is micro managing every aspect of what goes on in that box to ensure the customer is satisfied? Well believe you me, that goes on here at The Chat Shop.
The importance of quality interactions between a chat agent and the customer is something The Chat Shop prides itself on. We’re continually reviewing chats to make sure we are upholding our promise, to not only our clients, but the customers of that client. It is imperative that live chat agents understand that it takes multiple factors to uphold a quality chat environment.
So, how does one ensure that the people they have hired and trusted to represent their company are performing at such a high standard, as required by The Chat Shop? Sidenote: how high is our high standard of live chat support? Well you can compare us to the rest of the industry in LiveChat’s Customer Service Report 2015. Our average first response time is 29 seconds, the average for every message after that is 32 seconds and we deliver 98% customer satisfaction...so short answer, pretty high standard.
Back to the original question. Ensuring that chat agents are delivering to a high standard for the client?
First, you need totally awesome people managing your support. Luckily, we've got that covered.
To complement their awesomeness, how do you give them the skills to take on such a challenge? Here at The Chat Shop, we make sure each agent is facilitated with the right resources and processes that enable them to provide a great service. In-depth initial training (100 paid hours of the stuff), ongoing training, up to date client Knowledge Bases, and an everlasting enthusiasm for what we do.
Aside from these measures, the most important tool we use is our Quality Assurance process. This is, by far, the most crucial element of maintaining the performance of our chat. We use a thorough Quality Assurance Process whereby Account Managers, Team Leaders and Live Chat Agents review chats on a daily and weekly basis.
Our Agents complete weekly Quality Assurance forms that help Team Leaders and Account Managers, as well as Agents. We are able to see the good and bad elements of every single chat. This gives us the opportunity to break down the meat and potatoes, if you will, of each chat and learn from each other during the process. Just because a chat reached a client goal and was rated ‘good’ by the website visitor, doesn’t mean that the agent used their personality well and had a good tone. We’re always looking for ways to make each and every chat better.
Quality assurance for live chat support
Now that we know the agents have a weekly obligation to complete the Quality Assurance process, let's discuss what the important metrics are.
The Chat Shop provides services to a wide range of clients, from medical suppliers to real estate, and much more in between. What this means for us is that our Quality Assurance questions and metrics must be suitable for more than one client.
There are certain key performance indicators (KPIs) that are important for any chat service, such as first response time, average response time and customer satisfaction. There are also client specific goals and KPIs that must be achieved and qualitative metrics that we also have a coring system for.
- Reading and responding properly
- Client goals/Upselling/Ultimate customer satisfaction
In total there are 20 quantitative and qualitative metrics in our Quality Assurance Process.
It may seem a little intimidating but our Quality Assurance Process isn't designed to scare Live Chat Agents into the worker The Chat Shop wants them to be. The Chat Shop employs people that enjoy self critiquing, and see the value in reviewing their own work. Our agents partake in our Quality Assurance process so that together we can empower them to review their own work and develop personally.
How I’ve improved with the feedback
Starting out as a Live Chat Agent can feel a little nerve racking. During the first Quality Assurance process that I completed with my Team Leader, I was repeatedly stating "Not sure if this was correct, but I said it because...". I felt the need to give reasoning as to why I provided the customer with the information I did, which in most cases, turned out was the perfect response. I soon got over this when I realised how kind and helpful my Team Leader was.
An issue that I faced in my first few weeks of Quality Assurance was speed of response. If a customer asked me a complicated question, that warranted a long response, I would often find myself taking too long wording what I thought was a perfect response. I soon realised, with the help of my Team Leader, that this was offering effective support.
Not only would the customer be waiting for a response, not knowing why the answer was taking longer than usual to get to them, but the answer that they did get was hard to digest.
I soon realised, with a little prompting, that it was important to keep a conversation with the website visitor. Responses had to be quick to keep them engaged and happy. And chat support isn’t very effective if instructions and information are so long that they are hard to follow. Quick responses, guiding the website visitor step by step, are far more effective.
By making these small adjustments each week, chat by chat, I was able to improve the overall quality of service provided to the customer. Without Quality Assurance, I would have never realised the importance of the small errors I was making. I never have changed them and I wouldn’t have grown into the agent I am today.
Yes, agents at The Chat Shop are great, but we're always looking for ways to be better.
Providing top notch live chat support is a complex puzzle. In order to deliver 98% customer satisfaction, increase sales and generate leads (and produce an all round 5 star service), you need to do more than stick the technology on your website and hope for the best.
Putting live chat on your page is one thing, but without the proper ongoing training, it could end up being no better than an FAQs page. And what does that give you? Nothing but disappointed customers. You cut them short of any real benefit, as well as not meeting (and certainly not exceeding) their expectations.
Ongoing training, an enthusiastic work environment (even for those working from home), and a meticulously updated Knowledge Base are all pieces of this complex puzzle. When put together, they make for a superb customer experience. The final piece of that puzzle needs to be assessment and critique from an agent’s personal perspective and their manager’s perspective.
Self assessment is not something that can only be used in live chat, it is something every business should be doing. The same principles can be applied to your customer service offering, sales process, and even your entire business. Each of us complete a weekly Quality Assurance process because it is something we want to do...we are the best at what we do and want to get even better.
Looking to provide successful live chat support for your website visitors? Have a chat with our agents to find out how we can help.