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Support Your Users & Vendors with Live Chat

Engaging Your Users & Vendors Through a Live Chat Solution
Bridging the Gap Between Buyer & Seller

Marketplace Live Chat Implementation

OK, so this next topic is going to be about marketplace live chat. The idea behind live chat is very compelling in general, as it's a very low overhead way to interact with a human being. Typically, in customer support, but more times than not it can be more specialized due to the nature of the chat request. In this piece we are going to dive into those specialized scenarios, as well as the best implementations around them.

Bring in the Specialist

Routing Chat Engagements

One of the most important things with a chat request is understanding how to route the chat to the correct or most optimal person. The key to this is how to deal with the availability of those resources for a marketplace. It's most likely that there is going to be a lot of need or desire for specific knowledge about a vendor’s products. So, the marketplace ideally would allow the vendor themselves to be able to interact with the buyer over live chat. When such an occasion is brought up, you can set up a dropdown or selector where the user can pick how to engage with the customer support for the marketplace versus a vendor specifically.

The next step to optimize the chat tools will come from the analytics from the chat. This could possibly be a ratings tools, so that you can get some credibility for the different chatters. The ratings would be used to leverage within the marketplace to entice a vendor to provide high quality support to the buyers, which in turn would help the vendor’s performance.

Support Available When You Need It

Creating an Accessable, Easy to Use Solution

Ultimately, there's a lot of capability and detail to the live chat necessary to make it a fully capable functionality on the site. So, just to kind of dive in here on some of those different areas, let's talk first about typical live chat support. Within your marketplace platform, the system you're using ideally will be able to leverage a live chat support that gives you access to different device types when you're responding. Most likely folks will prefer to have a desktop or laptop access when they're working during regular business hours, but a lot of times folks will end up working on chat and providing support outside of the office so it can be very helpful to have mobile and tablet access. An even better solution would the possibility to have an application that runs on those devices.

Whenever your team is providing support, do they have access to the right resources to be able to provide that chat support? What kind of notifications do they get? A lot of times it's helpful to have the chat tool get some basic information based on the topic and get the end user going with providing that basic information.

So, if it's a customer support request to the marketplace you might want to find out if they’re a buyer or seller. We might want to get their contact or member information and if they're already logged in, we would automatically populate that information. Then we may want to get a topic selection from them via drop down as well as a description about what they are encountering.

So those are some really key things that, depending on how it's implemented, can be very easy for the end-user to engage with verses very cumbersome if it's not done right.

Building User to User Relationships

Empowering Vendor & Buyer Interactions

One of the biggest things is how we are going to implement the customer support request interaction via chat with the end users. An important piece to consider is with regards to a vendor and buyer interacting.

That's a whole different dynamic because commonly you'll want to restrict where and how that can happen. In other words, typically a marketplace will want to control what the outcome is for the end user and the end user, ultimately the buyer, is the one that's heavily driving that market by whether or not purchases are made. You really want to have your governance oriented around protecting them from a bad experience or potentially an uncontrolled outcome. You may have to have a vendor go through a validation process so that the vendor isn't going to try to do things that are against the terms and conditions of the marketplace. Another possibility is to have them go through even just a small training before they interact with the end users with the chat tool.

You know all of the different tools that are available behave differently and so this chat tool that's built into your market place is going to have very specific behavior. You'll want to really think about how these vendors are going to interact with the buyers if you give them access to. Most commonly it makes a lot of sense to have them interact around orders, questions around specific products that they are the seller for, and possibly any issues with fulfillment.

Improving your Process and Community

Standards, Moderation, & Governance

When you are architecting your chat workflows, it would be ideal to have moderation capabilities, such that the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) team for the marketplace could monitor that the conversation is going well between end-users and possibly even jump in if needed.

The name of the game here is to have a really high satisfaction and customer support for the end user, the buyer, and the vendors who are part of the marketplace. Your vendors are going to need to have access to their buyers to be able to interact directly as they certainly are the subject experts compared to the CSR team for the marketplace itself. So, with some sort of training wheels, and with some overwatch if you will, it's quite possible to unleash the subject matter knowledge that those vendors have and provide a lot of value to buyers.

Another way to help keep this governance in place and help ensure that the vendor buyer interactions are healthy is to set up ratings and reviews. Your CSR team can provide a review of the interaction and your buyers can provide a rating. With that in place, it’ll really help to standardize how these vendors behave. If they didn't do a good job for a long enough time or if they haven't qualified by going through basic training, then they just don't have access to live chat as a way to handle it.

Again, this isn't necessarily a requirement to do all of the governance as described, it's just something to think about as you're planning and building out your marketplace now.

Utilizing Analytics to Better Support Users

Data Driven Workflows & Capabilities

Another component is the analytics behind the chat tool, and the way the tool itself is able to gather analytics. These features are able to tell you what the chat duration is and help set things up so that they get flagged if there are certain key phrases or even the tone of the messaging. It’s possible to read and get a sense what the tone of the messaging is via machine learning even. If you know the tone is negative and the customers feeling unsatisfied, most of the time the ratings and reviews will accurately reflect that. Although those are signals which point to an end result, sometimes that isn’t always the case.

If someone were to leave just below perfect reviews or ratings post-chat, does that mean they were satisfied even though the tone wasn’t very positive? It’s possible they were completely dissatisfied with the help they received, but still like the product. Maybe it’s the other way around, but regardless, the analytics can help see what happens during/after the chat. We can correlate that data with a bad outcome typically and that would tell us that the situation didn't go as desired.

Delivering Quality Customer Support

Understanding Customer Intent

Needless to say, there are a lot of different factors here that we're looking to analyze. Some of the most common are regarding how many people are engaging with chat. It’s even something that they're engaging with and we can look at things such as their mouse hovering over the chat tool. We can automatically pop up the chat based on intent even. So, for different areas of the application like if somebody is in in order detail and they click on request or returning / refunding an item.

In that scenario it might make sense to go ahead and just pop chat automatically depending on the marketplace and what rules you want to set up. There are certain things that might really help, another one might be during the registration process. For instance, what if someone runs into an error and we know that error is due to some validation that folks are commonly having an issue with. Or maybe they've tried to process their membership payment and the payment is declined, then we can automatically pop up a little chat tool and try to help them out.

In addition to being able to understand intent, it's also possible to see what that user is seeing and even emulate their session. We can actually log in as the CSR, as the vendors, or even log in as the user in order to perform support. So, they can essentially help a user complete steps if that user is unable to technically complete them.

Needless to say, there's a lot of power to live chat. It's not just a gimmicky thing. It's really a conduit to the right human support within the marketplace itself and within the vendor network of the marketplace.

Expanding Knowledgebase & Accessable Resources

Archived Chat Library & Community Forum

As you can see, there are extremely powerful capabilities within the chat tool. The other thing that's pretty interesting is that depending on the questions that are asked, and the answers provided, those can then get archived into the marketplace for use as both resources and documentation. Certainly they would need to be cleaned up so that they don't have any user specific information, but that can then be provided in a forum format or in an archived chats that is then searchable.

Someone would need to moderate and clean up the chat transcripts, but as long as they did that it can be built into a library that allows other users when they're about to engage in a chat, to see a listing of potential suggestions before they engage alive person. We certainly encourage you to think about the landscape for when and how you're going to interact with your end users. Ideally, you’ll plan right out of the gate to engage with them from a CSR perspective at minimum, but possibly set up the framework so that your vendors can interact with buyers as well and really the list goes on.

I mean, it's possible to have vendors interact with vendors right away and buyers helping other buyers through the process. You can get pretty creative here about how you approach it, but just keep in mind that you'll probably want to test in small chunks with a limited group of folks and validate your thoughts before spending a lot of money and exposing the whole community to potentially non-functional idea.

How Clarity Can Help

Clarity Marketplace Experts

We certainly have done this before, and we're happy to help support you and your upcoming marketplace project. Please let us know if you'd like to review or chat about this. We have a live chat on our site and would be happy to chat with you. You're welcome to dig into more detail here on our website or to reach out to us to schedule some time for a complementary review session regardless of your next steps. We certainly wish you all the best with your upcoming marketplace project and will be looking for you on live chat if you reach out to us.

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