There are a number of critical considerations when it comes to planning the perfect live chat experience for your online customers and such factors are well-acknowledged when you have a team of high performing individuals knowing how to handle different visitors. The most common factors to see when planning to hire the right number of people for your customer support team are many: from the number of visitors received on daily basis to the number of hours the business in willing to make available and the accomplishments associated with using the live chat tool.
Besides the above features, there are some other important features as well that affects the development of a live chat experience, hence, finalizing the decision of the business for the number of employees required in the customer support team.
As for this blog post, we are going to examine some additional factors needed to be taken into account when the business owner can decide how many agents will perfectly fit for the scope and scale of your customer base.
The Essentials of Planning the Best Live Chat Experience
1. What is the live chat agent’s workload?
Does your agents’ work hours are stuffed with the excessive workload? This indicates a shortage in the much-needed staff. The relationship is obvious, the more the agents, the more live chat requests they will be able to answer in a proportionate manner.
Agents willingly undertaking a large number of chat requests is not an issue, unless the workload starts to affect the quality of the conversation and customer satisfaction provided. As for this relationship, it is easily inversely proportionate, the more live chat request per agent, the more likelihood of the customer service to drop in terms of quality and reliability.
If we talk about working under normal circumstances and workload, around 500 chats per agent each month is considered ideal without compromising the quality of the customer service in the slightest. While once the number of chats per months starts to topple this figure, the customer satisfaction rate will automatically start to decrease due to over-the-limit demand. Agreeably the level of experience and skillset of the agents are also taken into the equation.
The business owner must also see that the workload of customer support agents alters year around on seasonal basis. An effective workaround would be to employ part-time seasonal agents for the holidays. Besides that, the agents should also be provided regular training at the hands of experienced support professionals to prepare them to cater the ever-increasing demands of this shift towards live chat in the industry.
2. What is the time taken for each chat?
The agents should acknowledge the strict importance of quickly responding to each live chat window, or prevent idleness as much as possible. Also, do see the customers’ issues are resolved within the ‘first-time interaction’, rather than forcing them to contact the company over and over again only to get frustrated and perceiving your agents as unprofessional and unknowledgeable.
Remember, a customer abandoning a live chat without acquiring a reasonable answer to his/her problems will create a negative perception and word-of-mouth of your company to their family, friends, workplace colleagues and others in their social circle. Also, it is a fact that succeeding live chat conversations are more complex and lengthy than each last one, not to mention the anger and lack of trust swelling in the minds of the customers taking their unresolved issues getting dragged with no end solution. Repeated conversations also means that the customer is not willing to pay, hence the company losing what could have been a potential and long-term customer. In short, prioritize a one-stop and first-time solution policy for the agents. The approach is also beneficial in reducing the workload for the team as much as possible.
This leads us to the question in determining how many minutes a live chat should be tagged with. On an average, over 14 minutes of a live chat is considered acceptable both for the customer and agent. In order to minimize your chat time duration as much as the conversation and issues involved allow, the agents can use canned messages, study pre-chat surveys to understand the visitor’s profile before initiating the chat, etc.
3. Is there any need of staffing adjustments?
You have hired the right number of live chat agents for your team, but that doesn’t mean the work is all over. Consider the following factors: seasonal traffic changes, budget requirements, a number of agents going idle and the increasing shift to live chat as the primary tool for communication are all the elements that will make you think the time to time if the number of agents hired is appropriate.
There are a plethora of ways through which you can gauge the performance of your live chat team and make the necessary changes and adjustments to the business aspects above. You can add live chat to a website while incorporating the built-in features of the tool to view the availability, efficiency, and workload of each agent in a precise manner. The point of using different features of a powerful live chat tool is to make decisions regarding the staffing and shift timings of the team suited as per the business requirements.
Another metric you can implement to see the performance of your staffing plan is by measuring the customer satisfaction levels. For instance, conduct a post-chat survey allowing the customers to rate the level of quality service they have received. This will help you in directly assessing the performance of your agents. A great survey containing favorable comments will indicate your live chat system is going well, the agents are up to the task confidently and professionally, while the number of agents is just appropriate. On the other hand, poor reviews from the customer base suggest that the overall system lacks the spark to produce a healthy revenue for the business due to a number of factors responsible, and several staffing and systems improvement is required on an immediate basis. The business owner can further decide whether to sort the issue by hiring additional staff to simplify the workload or provide relevant training to existing agents for enhanced performance and productivity.