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10 steps to ensure success when implementing chat for customer support

Donald Hasson, director of ITSM product management, Bomgar | April 25, 2016
Customers expect to be able to use chat when they reach out for help. Here’s how to get it right.

This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter’s approach.

Studies confirm that chat is both a cost effective and user-friendly tech support channel, but too many organizations add chat without proper planning or have yet to implement it at all. These ten steps can help ensure you successfully implement a modern chat support solution to support employees, partners and customers:

1. Establish a baseline: To understand the full impact of chat support, establish a baseline of key service performance metrics. It is important to track metrics such as service level, abandon rate, first contact resolution and agent productivity in order to recognize how chat support can be best utilized. Other metrics to track can include: volume by channel, overall workload, handle time, time to resolve tickets by issue, overall resolution rate, and customer satisfaction.

2. Identify ideal issue types for chat: Review types of issues and identify how the features of chat could hurt or improve efficiency and resolution times. Consider taking advantage of concurrent sessions, and drive sessions that will likely require full remote control. By taking advantage of concurrent sessions, common issues with repeatable steps that require downtime are ideal for handling multiple chats at once.

3. Promote chat in the right places: Creating a communication plan that will drive ideal customer behavior can minimize the concern with what percentage and what type of tickets will come through chat. Promoting chat in the right way has a direct impact on usage. You can help control which issue types are handled through chat versus other channels by providing customers with a chart of the best support channel for their issue.  

4. Determine optimal staffing levels: Building the proper staff is critical to overall performance. You need to ensure that service levels for chat are consistent with phone service levels in order to avoid a scenario in which customers overwhelm a particular channel. To build an efficient support organization -- this is one of the most overlooked steps -- separate staff members as either chat or phone agents and find the right balance for each channel.

5. Assess who should staff chat: Develop a chat and phone skills matrix to rank the best agents for each channel – do not simply rely on top phone agents. Skills sought after for phone support versus skills valued for chat vary significantly. Don’t assume one department can take on this new support channel. Skills such as typing and multitasking vary. Agents who perform particularly well in typing speed, accuracy, grammar and are process oriented should be recruited specifically for staffing chat.


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