How do you successfully outsource digital customer contact?

There are various reasons for outsourcing live chat to a specialised company. A common reason is that you do not have personnel that possess the right skillset, or perhaps you simply don’t have time because you’re too busy with other things. To ensure the successful outsourcing of your digital customer contact, three things are important: create a plan, find the right provider and measure results. 

Create a plan

The journey towards the proper outsourcing of live chat starts with preparation. If you don’t know what you want to do or achieve with live chat yourself, it is impossible for providers to know whether they can help you. It is important to know what you want to work towards and how much time and money you are willing to invest. Therefore, make sure you have prepared answers to the following questions:

  1. How many visitors do I have to my website who might potentially start talking to me online? 

If you only attract between ten and fifteen hourly visitors to your website, live chat often isn’t viable. Greater numbers are required for this. But, if one out of seven visitors purchases a product of considerable value, it might still be a good idea to start talking to a provider.

  1. How do visitors currently contact me and why? 

Do customers primarily contact you via email or telephone? And are these people who would like to obtain information concerning procedures, or do they experience considerable problems with the website? Perhaps they would like to buy a product from you, but are unable to find the information they need. Analyse your current data and investigate what a preferable future scenario would be (see the next point).

  1. How would I like visitors to contact me?

Consider how you would like communication to take place and via which medium. Perhaps many of the information requests via email can be switched to telephone or live chat, freeing up telephone calls for real sales conversations.

  1. At what times does my website attract most visitors? 

In order to effectively employ live chat, you must know the moments at which you experience peaks in your website traffic. It is wise to employ chat for these moments in particular, as an extra tool or perhaps as the primary tool during peak hours.

  1. What do I want to achieve with live chat?

You can employ live chat for lead generation, for example, to offer a service, or both. Not every medium is suitable for all purposes, so set objectives for yourself. Do you want to reduce the number of incoming emails? To which point? Do you want to wholly or partially switch the call centre to chat? It is easier for a provider to make specific goals into a reality. Tangible numbers make it easier to measure and achieve targets.

  1. What is my budget?

Determine how much money you can free up for live chat. Companies often offer various price options that differ in terms of what you are required to do yourself. Your task is to find a contract and price befitting your situation.

  1. What am I looking for in a provider/contract?

Consider which demands a provider must meet and which requirements you have of a contract. Do you want the provider to unburden you of everything or would you like to maintain control over certain aspects of live chat?

Find the right provider

Not all providers fit every customer. You might have goals that not every provider can achieve, for example. Therefore, once you have made it clear for yourself what you want and expect from live chat on your website, you can start looking for a provider that can help you with this. You want to find the right match.

It could be the case, for example, that you are adamant that you would like to employ operators within the Netherlands, or maybe you would like to use operators abroad, because they possess certain language skills or because your company is also operational abroad. Perhaps you would like to incorporate your live-chat channel with your marketing activities. In this article, we explain how you can find the right provider.

Furthermore, it could be the case that certain aspects of the contract do not meet the demands you have of a provider. Does the company only offer one-year contracts, while you would prefer to try out their services for three or six months? Or would you prefer low start-up costs while being willing to pay slightly higher monthly fees, while the company in question offers the exact opposite? There are also companies that can wholly unburden you and providers that are limited in the scope of activities they will conduct for you.

Keep track of results

Whether you’re outsourcing live chat or executing it yourself, it is always important to continue measuring and analysing. Where are areas of improvement? Perhaps there are certain times of the day that your website attracts fewer visitors than expected, while there are other times when it attracts more visitors. You can adapt your staffing to this.

Some proactive greetings may also work better than others. It might be effective to greet visitors as soon as they enter the site or perhaps it might be better to wait a while. If you do attract a lot of visitors to your website, but they don’t chat much, perhaps your chat button is not visible enough. Experiment with this. You can still keep an eye on and modify these aspects if you outsource live chat.

Finally, also regularly ask chat operators to discuss whether there are problems they encounter a lot. These could be areas of improvement for your website, but it might also be advantageous to document certain questions, problems or procedures in a chat manual for chat operators, so that they can refer to this manual if necessary.