Does Chat Functionality Affect the Volume of Incoming Calls?

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Live chat call centerLive chat is quickly becoming a popular option for many call centers, especially for younger customers. But the question on many call center managers’ minds is whether incorporating Web chat can reduce the volume of calls in a call center.
While offering your customers the option of chatting online may reduce the number of e-mails you receive, it can lead to a reduction in the number of calls. Many call centers report that the number of calls they receive is reduced between 10 to 30% by incorporating chat.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for introducing live chat at a call center is the time it takes as a result of training agents. It’s best to think of it as an investment that will increase both sales and customer loyalty by offering them another channel through which they can reach your agents.

Dedicate Agents to Live Chat

A call center hires agents based on the volume of calls it receives. You will have to do the same depending on the number of customers using Web chat to contact your call center. Like calls, you want your agents to be able to assist your customers in an efficient manner.
It will also require a backup system. If an agent is busy or away from their desk, the customer should be put through to the next available agent, a supervisor, or manager if need be.

Phone and Live Chat Call Center Agents

There may be times when you receive more calls than chat. Rather than having agents sitting around waiting for a chat to start while other agents are being overwhelmed with calls, have your agents handle both calls and chats so the workload is being shared equally.

Provide Clear Indicators for Chats

Once a customer initiates a chat, there should be a clear and distinct sound to let the agent know. Otherwise, they could miss a chat window popping up. Make sure that the sound indicator for e-mail is different from the one allotted to chat, so as not to confuse the two.

Dedicate Agents to Chat at Certain Times

You may notice that there are busier than normal times for live chat at your call center. The agents you assign to handle online chats should match this surge in traffic. Take note of busy times so you know when to be ready for them. Generally speaking, the customer service industry experiences busier times for online chats in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Customers might contact your call center in the early afternoon, when they are on their lunch breaks for example. This is also a time to keep in mind, as it may see a high volume of phone calls due to the restrictions that many workplaces place on Web access.

Other Advantages to Offering Live Chat

You may think that the volume of work to your call center will be increased by offering your customers the option to use Web Chat. However, call centers that have implemented online chat have enjoyed a significant reduction in the number of calls. An agent can also chat with up to three customers at the same time versus only one client on the phone.
Your agents can also resolve an issue on first contact using live chat since the customer will be able to send images or screenshots of the problem they are experiencing. It could also increase the number of sales since many customers are far more likely to use chat to contact you rather than calling or even sending an e-mail.

As the leading provider of outsourced call center solutions, 3C Contact Services provides partners with tips on how to successfully incorporate chat into their customer service offerings.

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