When it comes to chat for customer support and sales, conversations often begin with an inquiry or a grievance. A customer may reach out for product information or requesting recommendations. A customer might need assistance making a decision or may voice a problem with an order. No matter the query, live chat agents must make good interactions great, and unhappy customer inquiries even better.
At RapportBoost, we think that happens on two levels: within the language of chat itself, and within the management structure of the chat team. Our data scientists employ complex analytics to unlock new territory and revenue potential in familiar customer interactions.
The services we offer to help coach chat teams seek to unlock the potential of communication to optimize the customer contact center itself. We’re not just keen on innovation within our services, but the possibility that uncharted territory may hold for organizations who use language for sales.
Bain Partner, Kevin Murphy, offers an excellent framework for understanding organizational conversations. Murphy holds that these engagements fall into one of two categories: the middle and the edge. Common, frictionless topics of discussion, like the weather, checking in with a simple how are you, or making small talk about sports comprise the middle. Communications with the edge tend to make people uneasy.
Murphy suggests that organizations use the center/edge approach to unlock efficiency and innovation. He gives an impressive example of union leaders who utilized this framework. When asked to brainstorm novel workforce strategies to increase productivity, they kept conversations at the edge as well as seasoned managers.
What new strategies could organizations or teams employ that could revolutionize workforce strategies and organization? Perhaps more importantly, what organization doesn’t want to know?
In the case of live chat, the center/edge framework applies to both chat team management and conversations live chat agents have with customers. Before chat agents begin to excel at sales and conversions through the typed word, cultivate a management structure that encourages engagement, peer-to-peer communication, and ditches the hierarchy of the traditional contact center.
Our conversation with ICMI thought leader, Nate Brown, we talked about ditching the hierarchy of the traditional call center management structure. Nate puts thought into action with a quality management structure that allows agents to rate themselves, to engage with coaches in weekly one-on-one meetings, and to have weekly meetings with supervisors that are more formal.
Encouraging a high bandwidth of communication within an organization creates space for chat agents to voice concerns, suggest self-improvements and engage in edge-thinking that helps an organization move forward from the ground up.
As a chat team leader or call center manager, how can you encourage edge conversations within your organization? It’s really about creating rapport between people. That’s where the overlap with live chat conversations comes in. Having relevant edge conversations helps organizations sell products that promote a healthy lifestyle, self-care and personal improvement.
One of our clients, Jenny Craig, uses AI insights from their live chat conversations to conduct successful conversations about the emotional, heartfelt topic of weight loss. The success of chat team members comes from a combination of machine and human. Jenny Craig chat agents fuse our analytics with a healthy rapport among chat team members to generate top notch customer conversations that bring home great KPIs.
Here are two takeaways to help arm your chat agents with the tools they need for success:
- Nurture the edge between analytics and the humans that employ them. By giving data generated insights to live chat agents that can apply them with human empathy, organizations can incorporate machine learning into a human-driven environment with success. Employ training methods that boost rapport among chat team members to improve workplace happiness, while feeding chat agents AI generated tips to make their jobs easier.
- Employ RapportBoosting techniques in chat conversations to boost positive outcomes. Using encouraging language, making “I” rather than “We” statements, calling a customer by name, and using emotionally charged words will have a positive impact on your chat team members’ performance. A positive workplace equals greater efficiency and a better organization overall.