Best Practices for Chat Deployments

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1 Best Practices for Chat Deployments With Oracle Chat Cloud Service INTRODUCTION The popularity of chat continues to grow in dramatic fashion, but there is still a disparity between what organizations are providing and what customers expect. In order to have the highest success rate with this channel, your organization must have clear goals and objectives for its deployments. Targeted at executives, managers, and technical staff, this guide explores eight best practices for successful chat deployments, and shows how getting it right can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, agent productivity, first contact resolution rate, number of new opportunities, and revenue conversion. OF CEOs BELIEVE THEIR BRAND DELIVERS A SUPERIOR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE OF THEIR CUSTOMERS AGREE (BAIN)

2 1 DEFINE YOUR GOALS There are a number of reasons why businesses decide to include chat in their sales and support strategy, but the three most common are improved customer satisfaction, increased sales conversions and cost reduction. It is important that at the outset your primary business objective is agreed upon and communicated to all stakeholders. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION Customer experience is now the leading driver for new chat deployments and chat has been shown to deliver the highest CSAT of any online channel. SALES CONVERSIONS Today, contact centers are increasingly being considered revenue centers, and chat is commonly used to upsell and cross-sell products. As noted by Forrester in their report Selecting the Best Chat Strategy, online chat is evolving from reactive, service-oriented solutions to proactive, sales-oriented solutions. Through Chat: Typical online conversion rates are 25%-40% And a 30% average increase in cart value (Juniper) Average order size increases by 10%-20% There is a 10% decline in cart abandonment (Marketing Sherpa) COST EFFICIENCY While chat is commonly known to increase agent productivity and drive down costs in service and support, these same savings are seen in sales activities as well. Chat is less expensive than phone. Forrester reports that a customer service interaction through the phone typically costs US$33, compared to US$10 for a chat session, while Gartner found that phone service is typically four times the cost of Web chat. With Chat: Agents can increase efficiency with multiple concurrent interactions Standardized diagnostic processes for common customer issues speed resolution Contextual information such as customer routes, preselected products or categories, and responses to pre-chat questions ensures a better quality of service Yankee Group found that agent productivity increased by 35% - 75%

3 2 CHOOSE YOUR METRICS Measuring the success of chat deployments starts with choosing the metrics or key performance indicators that align with your primary business objective. It s often tempting to track numerous metrics and look for improvement in all of them, but that approach can be misleading. To ensure you are meeting your goals, it s best to select two or three key metrics when measuring your success. In general, what is tracked will be improved, if only because it will focus your attention and efforts around improving those metrics. Therefore, you need to carefully choose your top metrics to avoid inadvertently changing business processes and workflow that will affect the wrong areas. The Oracle Chat Cloud Service can help measure and improve a range of metrics including: METRICS ALIGN TO BUSINESS GOALS EFFICIENCY RETENTION ACQUISITION ABANDONMENT RATE GOOD GOOD AVERAGE HANDLE TIME BAD AVERAGE ORDER VALUE AVERAGE SPEED TO ANSWER GOOD GOOD GOOD SALES CONVERSION RATE COST PER CONTACT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION GOOD GOOD DEFLECTION RATE GOOD GOOD ESCALATION RATE GOOD GOOD FIRST CONTACT RESOLUTION RATE GOOD SHOPPING CART ABANDONMENT RATE

4 3 HIRE AND TRAIN STAFF Now that you ve selected the metrics you ll use to measure success, it s time to plan your deployment. One of the first questions you ll face is how to effectively staff this new channel and ensure that agents are adequately trained. Oracle provides a chat volume and staffing calculator to help you estimate demand for a new chat channel on your Website. This calculator will help you approximate the volume to expect through the chat channel, and how to staff appropriately for those levels. When initially deploying the channel, however, it s best to take a gradual approach. Consider using abbreviated or off-peak hours to start, and increase these as you become more comfortable. You can also be selective by offering chat only on certain pages, for certain transactions, or for certain customers. Changes affecting the availability of chat links will have a fairly immediate impact on volume, so you will find that you have a fair amount of control. Empowering yourself with this information will help to ensure a smooth and successful chat deployment. Once you have determined your staffing requirements, training is the next crucial step. In many cases, businesses train existing phone or agents to handle chat requests. It s important to select and train agents for chat-oriented skills. The most important characteristics are: EXCELLENT WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SKILLS: PROPER GRAMMAR; TYPING SPEED; ATTENTION TO DETAIL FINE-TUNED CONVERSATIONAL SKILLS, AND THE ABILITY TO MULTITASK AND PARTICIPATE IN MULTIPLE, CONCURRENT CHATS PROFESSIONALISM WHEN DEALING WITH ANGRY, FRUSTRATED, OR CONFUSED CUSTOMERS RECOMMENDATIONS HIRE FOR PASSION AND CULTURAL FIT MOTIVATE WITH MEANINGFUL INCENTIVES TRAIN TO FINE-TUNE CONVERSATIONAL SKILLS ABANDON METRICS THAT ENCOURAGE BAD BEHAVIOR (Reinvent Your Call Center Culture To Create Amazing Customer Experiences Forrester Research, Kerry Bodine, February 23, 2011)

5 4 ALIGN PLACEMENT WITH BUSINESS GOALS As with your metrics, the primary business driver in adding a chat channel will also drive decisions around how and where to make chat available. EFFICIENCY RETENTION ACQUISITION SUPPORT HOME PAGE WEB PAGES CONTAINING CONTENT THAT DRIVES PHONE AND INCIDENTS OPPORTUNITIES FOR HIGH-TOUCH ENGAGEMENT HELP WHERE HELP IS NEEDED SHOPPING CART PAGE TARGETED PRODUCT PAGES FAQ ESCALATION POINTS OF FRUSTRATION PRODUCT COMPARISON PAGES POINTS OF RIGHT-CHANNELING PAGE HEADERS AND FOOTERS FORM OR PROCESS ABANDONMENT POINTS 5 ESTABLISH ROUTING AND QUEUING In order to be successful and consistent with your organization s other help channels, most organizations mirror the same routing, queuing, and escalation strategies as their phone channel. With the Oracle Chat Cloud Service, chat requests are placed in specific queues that are then serviced by chat agents. The most common structure is to create individual queues for separate products, which are then serviced by chat agents with skills or expertise matched to those products. It is also necessary to have a default queue that is used when a specific product or question category cannot be determined. The most important factors to consider: MIRROR YOUR ORGANIZATION S PHONE CHANNEL ROUTE CHATS TO THE SKILLED AGENTS BALANCE TRAFFIC ACROSS AGENTS AND CALL CENTERS ALWAYS HAVE A DEFAULT QUEUE

6 6 CUSTOMIZE THE SOLUTION Customizing your chat channel for both customers and agents is essential. For consumers, you must ensure your invitations are welcoming, visually engaging, and branded so they are consistent with the rest of the customer experience. It is also recommended that you provide real-time feedback on wait times and queue position to increase CSAT and reduce queue abandonment. For agents, your solution must optimize workspaces for maximum productivity, streamline workflow and business processes, reduce costs through data integration and simplified interfaces, and refine requests and routing rules. Having mobile service applications is now also an essential requirement for successful chat deployments. Fully 88 percent of US adults now own a mobile phone, and 21 percent of these people use their phones for information, research, and commerce. 1 Because of this, 44 percent of organizations plan to grant access to their CRM systems via mobile devices. Mobile CRM delivered significant improvements in key metrics, including a 60% increase in customer satisfaction, a 30% increase in sales, and a 30% increase in productivity. BearingPoint survey, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SALES PRODUCTIVITY Interactions on mobile devices have their own best practices 1 : Hyperlinks should be used minimally as they disrupt the experience on mobile devices Research shows mobile users are less willing to wait, so must be prioritized Agents should be aware of the content and navigational differences on mobile interfaces Screen real estate is fundamentally different and should be designed to reduce the amount of scrolling 7 FINE-TUNE ANALYTICS The Oracle Chat Cloud Service provides dozens of out-of-the-box reports covering operational metrics, historical trending, return on investment results, and real-time dashboards. These reports are designed to highlight the type of data available to you and give you a starting place for creating your own customized reports. Reports can be created from scratch, or out-of-the-box reports can be copied and fine-tuned to meet your needs. Ensure you create reports that highlight the metrics you want to track. Most of your trending and measurement will come from these reports, so it is critical to get them right. 1 (Evaluating the Potential for Mobile Chat to Drive E-Business Goals, Forrester, 2012)

7 8 MEASURE SUCCESS In measuring the results and success of the chat channel, you ll need to define your tracking process and develop performance baselines. Using surveys is the single best way to gather the information you need to track the effectiveness of chat. Keeping surveys short, such as limiting them to five or fewer questions that all appear within the same window, significantly increases the likelihood that customers will complete them. It is also important to keep the questions simple and easy to answer. Providing Yes/No radio buttons, simple checkboxes, or numeric scales is preferable to open-ended questions that are answered with free-form text. Some common survey questions are: Was your issue resolved? Would you use chat again? Did you find the chat agent to be professional? Did you find the chat agent to be knowledgeable? On a scale of one to five, please rate your satisfaction with this support experience. CONCLUSION Despite the rise in chat adoption, many organizations are still not providing the service their customers expect. That s why it s essential to follow proven best practices, including defining goals, identifying key metrics, and appropriately hiring and training staff. With these foundations in place, organizations can establish routing and queuing practices, before customizing the solution to meet their specific needs, and fine-tuning analytics to further improve performance. LEARN MORE To learn more about how Oracle Chat Cloud Service can improve CSAT, customer loyalty, and revenue for your organization, visit oracle.com/goto/chatbestpractices Oracle Corporation World Headquarters 500 Oracle Parkway Redwood Shores, CA U.S.A. Find your local Oracle contact number here: contact/global html Oracle.com Copyright 2013, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. This document is provided for information purposes only and the contents hereof are subject to change without notice. This document is not warranted to be error-free, nor subject to any other warranties or conditions, whether expressed orally or implied in law, including implied warranties and conditions of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. We specifically disclaim any liability with respect to this document and no contractual obligations are formed either directly or indirectly by this document. This document may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without our prior written permission. Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. September 2013

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