The Evolving Face of Chat Support
Chat support today has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1996. It was introduced by enterprises as a way to service customers faster and more efficiently, in real time. Something they were failing to do via their call centers. Customers were already comfortable with the medium of live chat, thanks to the host of personal instant messaging platforms popular at the time (ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, among several others). Hence, organizations grabbed the opportunity to use this medium as an additional channel for providing customer support.
There are several arguments against chat support, but, the ground reality showcased by multiple studies is a positive one. As instant messaging, be it for personal use like Facebook Messenger or professional use, like Skype, has become a part of everyday life, live chat usage has grown over the years. Quoted from a Forrester study, “Online chat adoption among customers has significantly risen in the past few years, from 38% in 2009 to 43% in 2012 to 65% in 2015.” Research has shown that companies using live chat to manage customer interactions have benefitted in terms of lower costs, increased revenues, and most importantly enhanced customer satisfaction. A study conducted by Kayako states that 79% of businesses surveyed found live chat support to positively impact sales, revenue, and customer loyalty. The same study also found that 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that provides live chat support, while 52% are more likely to repurchase from such a company.
Additional proof of the benefits of chat support is provided in a report by Aberdeen Group titled, ‘Live Chat – The Gift That Keeps On Giving’. Their study found that companies using live chat had a 28.4 % agent utilization rate, while companies that didn’t, had a 3.1 % agent utilization rate. Further, companies using live chat saw a 6.8% decrease in average cost per customer contact, 5.3% increase in cross-sell and up-sell revenues, and 4.9% decrease in agent overtime costs.
A host of technologies today including AI, Analytics, and Automation, are being used by companies to further enhance the live chat experience for their customers, while aiding support agents in doing a better job of servicing customers. A hybrid version that combines chat bots powered by AI and a live agent, is the combination being adopted by companies to provide a superior live chat experience. This model ensures faster problem resolution, thanks to advanced technological tools, while maintaining a human touch.
Having recognized the power of chat support, companies are finding creative ways to harness its potential. The end goal: a delightful customer experience. Some examples that stand out:
1. 404 Error – It’s mighty frustrating to come across this ‘Page Not Found’ error. Understanding how annoyed customers get, SnapEngage provides personalized chat support to help customers, and direct them to what they were looking for, anytime they land on the 404 Error Page.
2. Facebook Chat – As users spend a huge chunk of their time on Facebook, Petplan, a pet insurance company included a ‘Chat with us’ tab on their company page. This way followers of their page on Facebook can avail their live chat service without leaving Facebook. A simple feature, yet, big on convenience.
3. SMS to Chat – U.S. Patriot Tactical integrates chat support with SMS. Clients can engage in a live chat conversation with the company’s support team through a simple text message. Their ‘Text-to-Chat’ number is displayed on their website. This feature enables speedy communication with respect to order inquiries, order status, returns, and more.
How Millennials Seek Support
Love them or hate them, millennials are here to stay, and only growing strong. As per demographers at the Pew Research Center, millennials are those born roughly between 1981 and 1997, and account for 27% of the world’s population, i.e. 2 billion people approximately.
Somewhere between 19 years – 35 years of age, millennials are already becoming a significant cohort in terms of consumer spending, employment, and other economic prospects. As previous generations retire, millennials will dominate what products and services are consumed, and how, where, and when they are consumed. This poses a challenge for business leaders, as this generation functions differently from those before them.
Their inherent characteristics define the way millennials reach out for technical support. As highly independent, aware, and self-reliant individuals, they seek out solutions on their own, and they require answers fast. So, companies should have ready resources (chat, FAQs, videos, forums etc.) to cater to the self-help needs of millennials.
As emperors of multi-tasking, millennials expect the same from companies. They may reach out to you on your website, Twitter, Facebook, chat, or email. You have to be available where they are. Additionally, your support needs to be omni-channel and holistic. Impatient, with less tolerance for inefficiency, millennials expect you to remember them and their relationship with your company; having to repeat themselves on every different support channel is cause for major angst, and will score you several negative points in their books.
It’s now or never with them. If they don’t find what they are looking for quickly and easily, safe to say they will move to a competitor who offers swifter service. This means, if you don’t have the desired information available on a self-help forum, then, provide easy access to an agent who can assist them at the earliest. Raised in an era of on-demand services, millennials will not be keen to run from pillar to post, to have their problem resolved.
A generation heavily reliant on texting, millennials favor chat support. The ease of messaging and real-time response provides a level of comfort that they are familiar with.
Besides providing omni-channel, consistent, personalized, and fast support, your customer facing technology needs to meet to the high expectations of the tech savvy millennials. They are extremely comfortable with technology and don’t shy away from adopting new devices, software, products, and services. No matter what complex solution your service offers, it should be user-friendly, intuitive, and must work without glitches.
Chat Support For Millennials
Given their unique characteristics, demanding nature, and affinity for texting, chat support is a highly recommended channel to service millennials.
The companies mentioned above that have creatively used chat support, serve as perfect examples of effective chat support for millennials. They managed to further simplify the process, enhance convenience, and proactively address a grievance. And that’s the kind of effortless service that millennials demand.
Elaborating on why chat support is suitable for millennials:
- Comfort – Over 65% of millennials prefer live chat because they expect a quick response, while 52% of them prefer a text conversation. Live chat incorporates the ease of texting and real-time response that millennials are fond of. They can get immediate assistance without having to go through the hassle of dealing with a call-center and its numerous IVR options. Further, chat support allows them to pose a query, and get back to the chat at their convenience, with the chat history right there to scroll through.
- Multi-tasking – 58% of millennials expect a brand to engage with them whenever they choose. Chat support is not intrusive, it can be availed while doing something else, while on the go, and at any hour. The convenience of anytime-anywhere that chat support offers, allows millennials to multi-task, without disrupting their lives. Further, with smartphone penetration expected to reach 66.5% in 2018, smartphones will become the primary device to avail online services. Chat support can be provided with ease on these devices.
- Tech savvy – A sophisticated chat support tool can help customer service agents provide an impeccable customer service experience. As digital natives, millennials are updated on the technologies available, and compare experiences, even across unrelated companies. They are aware of the quality of service out there, and expect the same, whether you are a food delivery app, or a company that provides complex home automation systems. Quality support is not a luxury, it’s now considered a basic necessity. And chat support is capable of providing all the features that millennials demand from customer service: real-time response, at their convenience, fast and effective problem solution.
Where millennials are concerned, chat support has all the makings of a star customer service channel.
CSS Corp’s Millennial-Friendly Chat Support
Keeping in mind the requirements of millennials, who are digital natives, who seek instant gratification, who are into DIY solutions, who want more, and want it now, CSS Corp introduced Cognitive Customer Experience Platform.
It is CSS Corp’s AI-based virtual assistant platform that assists organizations in their endeavor to provide a seamless, personalized, and engaging experience to their customers.
The platform makes the best of human and machine intelligence to offer context-based and personalized solutions, through interactions that are humanistic and conversational. It can be integrated with all customer channels like voice, email, chat, and website, across multiple devices. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI, machine learning and deep learning techniques, Cognitive CX Platform predicts intelligently, automates queuing, routing and channel allocation, and analyzes vast quantities of data to provide insightful answers. Further, it can be easily linked with Amazon Echo, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Now.
The solution improves customer experience by 25%, reduce costs by 50%, and enhance support agent/engineer productivity by 30%.To know more about our Cognitive Customer Experience Platform and how we can help please visit www.csscorp.com