Top tips for email and web chat

Filed under - Hints and Tips, ,

Looking to improve the handling of email and web chat in the contact centre?  Why not have a look at these top tips that have been sent in by our readers.

1.    A living knowledge base

Have a knowledge base that is living and breathing.  As advisors find better ways of responding to frequently asked questions we let them suggest knowledge base response improvements, which are reviewed and updated every week.

Thanks to Charlie

2.    Create an Info Hub

Why not have a department or role that is the Info Hub.  They could ensure that all information is passed to the social media team, phone team and the email team, so that all departments are aware of updates, information, etc.

This would to ensure that information is shared across channels.

Thanks to Matthew

3.    Set accurate expectations on response time

A key issue is setting expectations – many systems use an automatic acknowledgement which sets expected response time and helps prevent customers trying to contact by other means.

Thanks to Muriel

4.    Keep response times to under 24 hours

Having a 24-hour response rule put in action would potentially make all customers prefer email over phone.

This is because it actually saves them money and they don’t have to explain themselves over and over again to the different answering agents.

Assign special agents who will deal only with the email channel inbox, so that they keep the response times low.

Thanks to Thapelo

5.    Route emails to the right agent

A good way to deal with web chats and emails is to route them to the right agent. How?

  1. Web chat: Ask the initial question “What do you want to do?”
  2. Email: Use text analytics to find out the contact reason

Thanks to Denis

6.    Watch out for the accuracy of email routing

We route emails based on content but the accuracy is questionable – we have inefficiencies and have to re-route emails so that the correct team deals with them.  This is a challenge as half of our emails are dealt with offshore.
Thanks to Amardeep

7.    Recruit for writing skills

In your recruitment, look for specific writing skills or social media capabilities.
Thanks to Ronald

8.    Move all inbound channels into one department

Move the control of all inbound contact channels to one department.  E.g. move Facebook, web chat and Twitter from the marketing team to the Customer Service team to ensure a consistent approach.  Look at your customer base and adapt to their preferred contact method.

9.    Provide a feedback loop

Provide a feedback loop for advisors and customers to ensure the knowledge base you use for customer responses is up to date and in step with your customers’ expectations.
Thanks to Barry

10.    Canned responses

Have canned responses for your web chat, allowing faster response times.

So if you have a FAQ section simply promote your answers into the web chat database to allow for better service.
Thanks to Lee

11.    Retrain rather than recruit

The time taken to train someone to handle web chat is much less than training someone to understand your business.
Thanks to Nader

12.    Multi-lingual is easier through email and chat

We have a multilingual team dealing with 8 languages. We have staff who can multiskill and answer other language emails using the knowledge base. As long as you are sure that the advisor understands what the customer wants then it can be easily done.
Thanks to Christopher

13.     Templated answers

Provide agents with up-to-date and relevant templates and standard answers.  This will maintain coherence and quality in the responses. This is valid both for email and chat.

14.    Do more than the minimum

Always provide “additional” information deemed of interest when replying to customer emails.  This should help to prevent additional emails and should boost first contact resolution (FCR).
Thanks to Fredrik

15.    Keep responses in sync and professional

Ensuring that the business provides templates for agents to use in their written messages keeps the responses in sync and professional.

Due to the nature of our products, our answers (to customers’ medical conditions) and perhaps amendments to policies need to be swift.
Thanks to Elizabeth

16.     A good strategy for call avoidance

We ask our customers in a survey at the end of the chat, if they hadn’t had a web chat, would they have called, emailed or done nothing.  Around 50-60% say they would have phoned us, around 30% would have emailed us.

17.    Have good MI from the start

Have good MI from the start.  This should help you to grow or develop your web chat or email channel.

18.    Treat web chat like telephony

Treat web chat as you would treat your telephony; it’s just another contact and should be looked at in the same way.
Thanks to Louise

Do you have any tips for handling email or web chat?  Please leave them

Author: Jo Robinson

Published On: 27th Mar 2013 - Last modified: 22nd May 2017
Read more about - Hints and Tips, ,

Follow Us on LinkedIn

Recommended Articles

How to Assess Quality on Email and Live Chat in the Contact Centre
A picture of email management concept
What Is Customer Email Management? – With 10 Tips, Software Advice and Mistakes to Avoid
How to Refocus Team Leaders From Spending Too Long on Email
Is Email on its Way Out?
  • Should web chat be logged/recorded as most other forms customer contact such as phone would be?

    Ben 6 Jan at 13:11
  • Personalised sign off of agents helps to give a personal touch and also email agents gets a sense of responsibility

    Mira 9 Feb at 07:46