Thursday, June 27, 2013

Web Chat response speeds are critical in customer support

I am writing this blog while in a live web chat with a major TV and broadband supplier. The fact that I have had the time to do this probably gives you an indication of where this blog is going. It's too slowwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Not to bore you with the sad and sorry tale, I needed to contact them having received a bill for something that should not have happened. Tried calling and there was a 15 minute wait. Went to complaints section of web site and a chat popped up.

The chat started at 10:21am
It took until 10:28 to do basic ID and verification
It took until 10:32 to look up my record

In customer services this is too slow. This is probably due to a) too many concurrent chats b) ineffective training c) the advisor is new d) the advisor typing skills are poor or e) a mixture of some of these.

It's now 10:39 and we are now getting to the nub of the issue i.e. the advisor is collecting the facts.

IMHO, this can't be. When a customer goes to the complaints page and a chat is triggered then responses should be fast. On average on this chat the responses are a minute for simple things and 4 minutes on responses where they are looking up information. In my view responses should be fast for all chats not just complaints.

What to do ?

Having looked at a few chat platforms the out of the box reports tend to measure response time as the time to respond to the chat request. This tells you nothing. What needs to be measured is each and every message response. I would maintain that while AHT and ASA are important in voice, speed of each message response in chat needs to be in all SLA's.

It would be interesting to look through chat reports and see what the abandonment rate is mid chat for customer services chats, this might show that people get bored or distracted and perhaps even change back to the phone. The impact will be reduction in FTR and increased cost, reducing the return on investment for chat.

In addition as we are in a long conversation, the AHT of this chat is going to exceed 30 minutes. If chat concurrency is 3, this is cost equivalent to a 10 minute call - I reckon on a call this would have taken less time i.e. chat is costing more even if I don't give up and call in.

Certainly it is possible for an advisor to be more responsive than this with a chat concurrency of 3.

10:43 she's gone to her supervisor.....

10:49 starting to work on a solution, 28 minutes! (but still not solved)

11:01 chat ended - advisor tells me that I will be able to email myself the chat transcript, guess what I can't. This is really, really poor. Fortunately I copied it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Buffer rock at customer service

With the impending death of Google Reader I have been behind in finding a replacement. Some desperate googling and I came across feedly which I think is going to work for me. What I also found was that it had sharing links to buffer. Intrigued I signed up and it looks great for fire and forget posting.

This post is not about the products but the amazing customer service I have received from a free app company. I think we have a lot to learn from startups like this.

I couldn't find an iPad app (which is coming) so I clicked the get support link (in the beautifully worded welcome email) and asked my question. Here's what I found.

  • Email response within minutes! This is a new experience for me. What made it even more impressive is that the email did not appear automated and it answered my question, with personal touches
  • Nice feedback tool embedded in the email signature. They are using Hively and it's so much easier to just click the button than respond to some lengthy email survey after the fact.
  • I was then cheeky and sent back a question on what tech they were using, being impressed with the response and guess what, just as quick an answer with full details and a link to their blog on how they measure their customer service. That is going the extra mile IMHO.
  • The stats BTW are impressive with a team of two they chewed through over 3,700 emails in a month and probably a ton of tweets etc. (there is some interesting stuff in the post on how they are addressing the volumes each month).
  • The fact that they take the time to post the customer response times is refreshing, and in reality has a big impact for me, it shows me that they care and are responsive - a great trust builder.
  • When I did have another support question I used the website and the contact form was an ajax form with a really nice UI and lovely feedback messages when you complete it. So much faster than traditional contact use forms on other pages - nice touch.

Bottom line 

With the small amount of interaction I have had their NPS or CES score would be through the roof. Digging a little further there are a ton of blogs on their approach to customer service, they have truly adopted the philosophy of WOWing their customers (free or otherwise). With emails signed by "customer happiness officers" (and even though I am a cynical Brit, I love this) I can't help but have a really positive reaction to everything Buffer.

This is all about advocacy. Although no one will read this blog I am posting about buffer and telling everyone to use it - simple and effective.

I'm off to read all their other blogs.