Online Customer Service Chat - Tips From a Pro
Customers who've used the online chat service from merchant Lands' End are 70 percent more likely to order product after they've used the service. And the order values from those customers are almost 6 percent greater than those from non-chatters.
Lands' End has offered online customer service chat for the last three years. Angela Rundle, customer service Internet supervisor, recently talked with Forrester Research and offered tips for other direct marketers on how to make online chat a viable and useful service.
1. Train your best customer services reps to staff the online chat positions. The special skills needed include e-mail proficiency, good writing abilities and computer competence, in addition to the traditional customer service capabilities such as tact, etiquette and product knowledge.
2. Cross-train reps. The cataloger's agents respond to customers' e-mails when not chatting online with other shoppers. This one-customer-at-a-time approach fits with Lands' End's deep-seated commitment to offering exceptional customer service. The company uses Aspect Communications eWorkforce Management software to schedule chat/e-mail agents.
3. Use chat to help educate customers to help themselves. Rather than spending long chat sessions explaining to individual customers the company's return policy, for example, Rundle trained agents to push the appropriate Land's End Web page to the customer. In this way, agents save time and keystrokes, while training customers to use self-service strategies on the Web.
These tips were included in Forrester's Tech Strategy Research Brief, "Lands' End Makes Online Chat a Success," Aug. 2, 2002. For more information, visit: www.forrester.com.
-Donna Loyle, editor, Catalog Success magazine