Adding Live Chat to Your Website? OK, but Ask These 3 Questions First.

By Gethin Liddell - May 15, 2017

Many of my conversations with customers and partners start by them saying something like: “We want to enable chat on our website.”

My responses to this are always: 1) “OK. Why?” 2) “What problem(s) are you trying to solve or opportunity are you trying to capture?” 3) “And will live web chat alone provide the solution(s)?”

You see, with easy access to endless technologies and competitors rapidly adopting the latest, greatest business tools, the temptation is to jump right to a ‘solution.’ However, that mindset not only puts the proverbial cart before the horse but also puts the customer needs and agent workflow in the back seat.

To begin with, there are so many options for live web chat and other real-time collaboration tools - each with distinct features and functionality - but again, one should never start by researching a technology fix before first identifying the business problem(s) and/or opportunity. Ultimately, people effect change - and improve processes - so choosing a solution should be driven by what will fit the ecosystem, not the other way around. 

Put The Business Goals Before The Technology Choice

So, going back to the initial conversation, a better approach is to discuss how you arrived at the conclusion regarding web chat and what the real reasons are behind that. Something like the following puts the goals and desired outcomes first:
“I want to put my customer first and I want our service agents to be able to better communicate, collaborate and support them - reducing average handle time and boosting net promoter score.”

And now we are getting somewhere meaningful and purposeful.

Let’s face it; most end customers today can demand what they want, have freedom of choice but lack the luxury of spare time. They use websites and mobile apps as their first port of call to interact with your business and the overwhelming majority *will* try to self-serve before contacting customer service.

Meanwhile, this is not always possible. Either the customers cannot find the information they need or they require the business to do something that they cannot trigger on their own. And, if their resolution is not immediately available electronically, they move quickly from trying to self-serve and into the realm of a two-way dialogue. This is where omnichannel comes into play.

Diagram of Customer Channels

Go Beyond Chat & Let The Customer Choose Their Channel

Let's start by defining what we mean by omnichannel

Customers have their own preferred modes of communication, or channels. For some, that will be picking up the phone and speaking with someone. For others, it will be sending an email or submitting a website form. Whatever an individual’s preference, the more channel options you provide to a customer (live web chat, social media, mobile messaging, etc.), the more multichannel your service and sales organizations become. 

So what’s the difference between being multichannel and omnichannel? Good question and, simply put, being omnichannel is when your business not only allows a customer to select his/her preferred communication channel but also allows him/her to seamlessly move across channels - all the while informing your service agents of each and every touchpoint.

For example, a customer goes to a shopping site (Channel 1) and places an order - after which s/he receives a confirmation via email (Channel 2). However, the next day, the person wants to change the order but chooses live web chat (Channel 3) this time. Meanwhile, to address the request, the agent recommends that the issue would be best handled if s/he can co-browse (Channel 4) and then initiate an audio session (Channel 5). The final confirmation is then sent via another email (Channel 2 again) and, when the order arrives, the customer then tweets (Channel 6) about the great customer service and has truly had an omnichannel experience.

Sounds great, right? At the same time, you’re probably saying to yourself: 

“There’s no way to provide all those different channels *and* a seamless customer experience across them.”

Fortunately, you are wrong. CafeX Live Assist for Microsoft Dynamics 365 delivers true omnichannel experiences to customers and service agents at businesses of all sizes. Take a look and challenge your organization to think outside the chat... and go omnichannel.

For more infomation download our latest whitepaper by McGee-Smith Analytics. Bringing Omnichannel to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Whitepaper