by Roy Figueroa – Site Director, hammerjack
Originally published on LinkedIn
The benefits of an omnichannel and agile customer interaction strategy have been largely discussed over the last five or six years. Several studies have been published which advocate the addition of live chat as a customer service channel to complement the traditional email and phone support channels.
We have made available some of those studies and stats that support the premise of the article.
62% of customers expect live chat to be available when accessing websites through mobile devices, 82% said they would use it. (Source: GoMoxie)
92% feel satisfied when they use the live chat feature, more than any other customer service channel. 42% says they prefer live chat because they don’t have to wait on hold. And, 44% says that having live chat during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer! (Source: Inc.)
Customers expect customer support when and where they want it. They also expect being able to start an interaction in one communication channel and complete it in another. (Source: Forrester)
Millennials prefer live chat! (Source: Software Advice)
Customers’ preference for live chat has never been higher! But why is it imperative for businesses to outsource to address their customers’ changed preferences and expectations?
Customers want after-hours support
Customer support presence after-hours, or the hours between 5 PM and 9 PM, has become more and more important because of customers’ increased expectations. After all, there’s nothing more reassuring for customers than knowing that they can reach out anytime and have someone, not something, address their needs. Also, it’s a good way to increase sales!
Fact is, pre-recorded messages or email can’t up-sell or cross-sell. They’re also not able to provide the empathy, care, and, more likely than not, the answers to customers’ concerns.
For those in e-commerce, extended support hours could mean catering across more geographies and time zones. The internet has made it easy even for small businesses to go from local to global. But prompt support even to those located outside a business’s usual hours will be critical. Responding 12 to 24 hours later could mean a lost sale and/or disgruntled customer.
However, not a lot of people would like to work the night shift. Who does? Additionally, the premium pay, or shift differential, that can come with a late afternoon or overnight shift can be restrictive.
This is where outsourcing, specifically to the Philippines, can help.
The after-hours of Australia and the US fall within the Philippines’ day-shift hours and are attractive to the customer service professionals that the country has in abundance. As most of them work the night shift to support US regular business hours, they would jump on the opportunity to work on the day shift and will likely stay longer.
Customer Service helped build the Philippines’ economy. It has the Expertise and Interest in Customer Service.
The Philippines’ outsourcing industry is one of the biggest contributors to the economy and has spurred the development of not a few business districts. The country’s educated and English-speaking workforce has made it a preferred destination since the early 2000’s for large companies and outsourced service providers wanting to offshore labor-intensive business functions, primarily customer service, to take advantage of the skills and reduced costs.
This experienced workforce provides the best people to do the job of a live chat representative because they enjoy customer service and have been extensively trained on it.
Their disposition, focus, and experience to make customers happy will be essential in the potentially toneless live chat conversations. Trained customer service professionals know the words to say and not to say to convey messages effectively even in the absence of key elements in a conversation that are only possible over phone conversations, for example, pitch, intonation, volume.
The quality of the conversations with customers should not suffer because a business decided to provide them more options.
Live Chat is accent-neutral
One of the biggest hesitations of businesses who haven’t taken advantage of outsourcing offshore is the difference in accent and the possible negative reaction of customers. Because live chat is accent-neutral, this hurdle is no longer there.
Still, a great understanding of the customers’ culture and great communication are necessary. This is where an experienced offshore outsourced services provider can help. Outsourcing a function as critical as customer support, whether it’s live chat, email, phone support, or all, should only be with the help of a provider that provides continuous training and quality support.
While there are compelling reasons to establish live chat or expand support to after-hours, businesses should not rush to the point where the quality of customer interaction is sacrificed. Live chat, if done right, should improve customer experience, reduce the need for customers to call, and increase sales. Fortunately, a lot of use cases already exist and those who established live chat first, possibly with a few initial challenges, now enjoy a competitive advantage in their respective industries.
The key is to find a partner with the experience, track record, and passion to deliver customer service to you and your customers! And, while you’re searching, maybe read more of my articles below.