26 May 2014
How to Perform a Checkup for Online Chat Software (Part 1)
In the same way that cars need regular MOTs, businesses need to check in with their long-established departments to monitor performance and see if there’s room for improvement. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to adopt an “if it aint broke don’t fix it” attitude and leave departments that are performing adequately to their own machinations...
Businesses should actually be following the old “a stitch in time saves nine” adage. Automated monitoring and performance reviews can help monitor day to day productivity but they won’t identify fundamental flaws in the department. These are usually only discovered at the end of year reviews.
Running a business is much more complicated than running a car, so it’s hard to compare the two. Yet the concept of checking for early signs of failure remains important. We could write an entire encyclopaedia on this subject but today we are interested in how to optimise the performance of your live chat operator team.
3 Lessons from Live Chat Software
Feedback from our clients has shown that the more time and effort you put into your online chat software, the more you will get out of it. Here are three top issues you could encounter, their warning signs and how to overcome them to create the most effective live chat team possible.
1. Missed Chats / Poor Chat Quality
Warning Signs – Refer to weekly reports to keep track of missed chats and identify poor quality through the post-chat feedback surveys. It might be worth monitoring how many concurrent chats your operators are handling and whether the increase in mistakes is evenly distributed across the team. Though hard to measure, try and gauge the team’s stress levels. Do they seem higher than usual?
Solution – If you identify one or more of the above symptoms then your operators are probably overburdened with work and are making mistakes as they rush to keep up with chats. Thankfully, there’s quite a few ways to deal with this. Firstly, consider hiring more operators. Select the most promising candidate, give them a few weeks of training and then set them loose. Secondly, consider displaying a call-back button if all operators are already engaged. Thirdly, make better use of pre-defined replies to improve productivity without sacrificing accuracy.
2. Poor Communication
Warning Signs – Are there drops in productivity when operators teams switch over, are incomplete jobs not being picked up properly, do tiny but important pieces of information keep getting lost and are simple instructions being treated like a game of Chinese whispers? This is a common problem among larger operator teams and could be down to inadequate businesses processes, but it’s nothing that a little bit of teamwork shouldn’t be able to overcome.
Solution – People work better as a team when they get to know each other. Mix up shifts on a regular basis so that colleagues become friends. Your operators will be much keener to jump in and help out a friend. Make sure that teams are rewarded for good work but don’t become too competitive, this will foster an open environment for the free exchange of opinions and ideas. Communication is one of the most undervalued skills you can teach your online chat software team.
3. Lack of Experience / Product Knowledge
Warning Signs – This is easy to mix up with number one. Drill down into individual chats to determine if your operators show a lack of knowledge about your product or service. Analyse your customised categories to see how often customer enquiries can be resolved at first contact. Do your operators rely on one or two experts within your team and then become lost when they’re unavailable? If yes, it might be worth investing in a more comprehensive training programme.
Solution – This issue can often be fixed with a longer training period. Most online chat software also includes a training room where operators can become better acquainted with their interface and shortcuts. Consider your most experienced operators run a fortnightly training session or contact your online chat software provider to book a workshop.
Start encouraging your team to use features that are designed to help out inexperienced operators. For example, the Click4Assistance live chat tool gives operators the ability to invite a more experienced operator into chat with them. Have you scheduled a 2014 check-up for your live chat team performance? Join us next week when we look at even more indicators that your online chat software or team is due an overhaul!