/ Successful Live Chat: Direction

The Most Important Principle Of A Successful Live Chat Operation: Direction

In my earlier blog, I covered three principles for successful live chat operation: Direction, Quality, and Quantity. As you might know, these are same principles as to building a winning sales organisation. In this blog, I discuss in detail the most important one of these principles: Direction.

Broad scope

The very first thing that must be defined is an aim for your live chat operation. You need to answer the question "Why am I implementing a live chat?" The way I see it, you have two options: You want to improve customer service or, my personal favourite, you are building one hell of a sales machine. Sure, other options may exist as well.

You want to improve customer service or, my personal favourite, you are building one hell of a sales machine.

The selected direction affects everything in your execution. If you are running a sales chat, you need to have a live chat software that supports sales, you need to have trained sales persons available to chat, you need to measure sales success, and so on. Similarly, if your goal is to develop customer service, you need to have pieces of that puzzle. Make sure that chat agents know why they are chatting!

And hey, let's make one more thing clear. If you implement sales chat, you can also have customer service chat! You just need another team with customer service goals, metrics, guidelines, etc. in place. Plus you need to make sure that two (or more) teams play nice with each other and have a live chat software(s) supporting both functions. Large corporations usually have multiple teams: one for B2B customer service, one for B2B sales, one for B2C customer service, and so on.

Narrow scope

So now you have decided to boost sales or improve customer service. How are you going to achieve this? What your live chat operation is going to do?

For an estate agency with sales chat, the goal is to obtain more market appraisals, for a SaaS business aim is to drive more paid subscriptions, and for a travel agency, the purpose is to increase average order value. In customer service, reducing inbound calls, minimising errors with forms, and helping customers to place orders are examples of excellent use cases for a proactive live chat. Whatever your goals are, make them concrete so you can easily tell if you have hit them.

To reach your goals and implement customer service or sales chat successfully, consider following points:

  • How do you find the right audience for the chat? Where are they and what are they doing / trying to accomplish?
  • How can you approach these users at the right time and in a non-intrusive way? Why would they want to interact with a chat agent?
  • Define your goal for a single chat interaction. What do you want the agent and/or the customer to do after the chat? How do they get there?

Practical execution

After you have narrowed down your scope, it is time to execute. To take your plans to the practical level you need to translate key points from your plan to rules and triggers, plan proactive messages to use, and figure out the best way to measure performance. I recommend patience. The first setup is never perfect. A winning live chat operation is not built overnight. It is done through patient measuring, adjusting, and repetition.

The first setup is never perfect. A winning live chat operation is not built overnight. It is done through patient measuring, adjusting, and repetition.

Slideshares below give you example use cases, ideas for rules and triggers, and possible measurements. For more ideas and/or help with execution feel free to reach out to me. Happy to help!

Examples for a proactive sales chat

Examples for a proactive customer service chat


This blog was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse (March 31, 2017). Read the original here.
Ilkka Vertanen

Ilkka Vertanen

Hi! I'm Ilkka Vertanen, sales fanatic & e-commerce enthusiast. I empower sales & customer service teams with chatbots. Earlier, I helped firms to optimise their live chat operations. Happy to help!

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