12 May 2014
Don't Forget Us: Why Website Chat Software Needs to Support Operators
Customer service and support roles are some of the most stressful occupations of the 21st century. Despite a saturated job market, customer care work is quite readily available; indicating just how undesirable these roles can be. According to research conducted by the University of Sheffield and the CCA Research Institute (UK), employee turnover lies at around 13% with the worst call centres showing figures from 28% up to 82%.
Most companies try to sidestep the stress problem by introducing compulsory ‘fun’ into the office or reducing targets for a week (only to raise them again the next). It’s rare to try and tackle the crux of the problem, i.e. the job itself. However, thanks to technology and a shifting trend in consumer culture, the job is changing. Call centres are becoming contact centres. The old phone systems are being replaced by e-mail, live chat and intelligent answer solutions. These have all been designed with a mind to improving the customer experience but they’ve actually had another unexpected benefit – they’ve improved employee experience.
By giving employees better tools you make their jobs easier, which means less stress and, ergo, a lower turnover rate. Retaining staff means you can build experience and skills for a more efficient and long-term customer support solution. As website chat software providers we’ve had quite a lot of feedback, enough to understand the basic must-haves. Review our bullet points to find out whether your organisation provides an operator-friendly customer contact solution.
Having to navigate through several menus and sub-menus is a time consuming and frustrating exercise. Customer service technology should make life easier for your operators by providing access to the most popular functionality with a single click or press of a key. For example, forwarding calls on a phone systems and using hotkeys for pre-defined replies in website chat software should be equally effortless.
It’s not much use having one-click features if your operators can’t work out what they all do. If an operator selects the wrong function because of an ambiguous image and/or no description it will just aggravate stress levels. Make sure that you talk to your software/hardware provider if the user interface doesn’t follow an intuitive design. A fluid design is fundamental for user adoption.
In an ideal world every exchange with a customer should be recorded so that it can be used for marketing, sales, performance management or auditing purposes. This process should be as automated as possible and is more feasible with some customer service tools than with others. Storing voice chats, for example, is much more expensive than text chats. Furthermore, website chat software can keep interactions above board by giving customers the option to e-mail themselves the chat transcript. If you’re in an industry where record keeping is important, an instant messaging solution could be particularly effective.
Filtering Visitors and Words
Part of the challenge in being a customer service or support agent lies in dealing with antagonistic customers without taking their attacks personally. While not commonplace, it is sometimes necessary to caution, ban or otherwise restrict those people. Numbers can be banned and emails blacklisted via respective providers, but quality website chat software can perform the same task with less bureaucracy by hiding the chat invitation from certain IPs.
To retain the best people your bottom line needs to be your employees, not your profit. Don’t throw new hires to the wolves without training and don’t provide sub-par tools. Whether you choose to use e-mail, phone or website chat software; make sure your solution includes an arsenal of useful but easily accessed features. Choose a local provider so that you can talk to someone within your time zone if there are any problems as well as discuss future development of the product. The more empowered your operators feel with their tools the more likely they are to tackle customer issues with enthusiasm and generate brand loyalty.