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We’re big fans of iFixit here at SnapEngage. So you can imagine our excitement when they decided to add SnapEngage Live Chat to their customer support offerings. We spoke with Annette Fuller, iFixit Support Technician, to get more insight into how iFixit is leveraging live chat to complement and enhance their overall customer experience.
At iFixit, our mission is to save the world. And believe me, working here sometimes makes you feel like a superhero. We believe that everyone should have access to repair knowledge. When you buy something, you should be able to take full ownership of it. That means repairing it when it breaks, so that you don’t have to keep adding to landfills and buying new devices.
Cell phones, laptops, and tablets are our main focus, but the founders of iFixit didn’t want to stop at only the repair knowledge we could generate ourselves. That’s where our guide creation software comes in. Anyone, anywhere, can author or contribute to a repair guide on our site. We have guides for household appliances, cars, farm equipment, coffee makers, you name it.
This vast repository of knowledge at people’s fingertips doesn’t necessarily mean that all questions can be answered just by searching the guides. Sometimes, a DIYer wants to touch base with customer service to get a quick, direct answer to a question. If it’s something we have experience in, or something we’ve learned a lot about through customer stories, research, and trial and error, we help out wherever we can. If we don’t know enough about the particular device they’re working on, we direct them to people who do, like the fabulous repair experts on our Answers forum.
“How many people might give up on fixing their device if they can’t find the answers to their questions? Having a customer service team ready to answer those tough questions saves a huge amount of devices from ending up in landfills.”
The happier a customer is with the service we provide them, the more willing they’ll be to try another repair down the road, and then another. Soon they’re announcing on social media how awesome it felt to fix their phone, and recommending us to their friends who need parts and tools for their own repairs.
Having an accessible, friendly customer service team is vital to encouraging people to attempt and complete DIY repairs. Live chat support allows us to be right at their fingertips, encouraging and supporting them in all their repair efforts.
The most beneficial use for chat [so far] seems to be directing people to our Answers Forum. Site visitors who are casually browsing for repair information are more likely to chat with us than send an email or place a phone call. We can help answer their questions, and then direct them to our Answers Forum where they can find even more help. Getting the word out about the Answers forum means more people will be on there asking and answering questions, further building our robust database of repair knowledge. We really couldn’t do what we do without the contributions from our amazing community.
We’re also benefitting from the quick turnaround of live chat conversations compared to the back-and-forth of email. We live in a busy world, and emails can go ignored in someone’s inbox for days, weeks, even months. With chat, we’re able to gather all the information we need to help them on-demand, and then act on it immediately. I’ve had customers reply to an email I sent them months ago; that’s months that they’re living with problems on their electronics that I could have easily helped them solve in five minutes with live chat support.
We track our ratings – Amazon, Google Trusted Stores, email happiness ratings, post-chat survey ratings. During the training process for customer service agents, these ratings are super helpful to highlight specific examples of our excellent customer service standards, as well as areas where an agent might need improvement. We use each average and sub-par rating as a learning experience with constructive criticism making better support technicians.
The most interesting numbers we’ve seen are the percentage changes in the views of each of our contact pages. We have separate contact pages for Phone Support, Email Support, and Live Chat Support. Since the introduction of live chat, we’ve seen a significant drop in our Phone and Email Support pageviews, telling us that many people are getting their questions answered and their problems solved just by chatting with us.
We also expect to see chat freeing up more of our time. When you deal with 100+ emails a day you often have to go back and re-read the beginnings of an email thread to catch yourself up on where you are and what the best next step is. Chat eliminates that need, since your conversation is happening in real-time. I expect those moments to add up to a considerable amount of savings over time.
Priority Tiers are so important for our team. Customer service consists of four full-time reps right now. In small teams, it’s really important to have experts in specific areas so that everything gets covered. For example, my desk-neighbor averages about 100 emails a day. He’s a powerhouse and the main reason we’re able to keep our response time so low. One of our other team members is fantastic on the phone, always jumping to answer it first, never feeling harried if we’ve got a lot of calls coming in at once.
Priority Tiers allows us to direct incoming chats to myself and our other amazing rep (who can handle five chats at once, with grace and attentiveness!) first, and then to our email juggernaut, and lastly to our lead phone guy. If we don’t play to our strengths, our response times go down, our team feels stressed, and our customers don’t get the timely help they need to complete their repairs.
As the team grows we’re hoping to specialize even more, where one rep might go an entire day without touching emails because they’re solely dedicated to phones and chat. Switching between modes of conversation (and the different paces inherent in each method) can be disorienting, and we want to streamline the process as much as possible. A happy rep is a happy team, and a happy team gets everything done gracefully, with time to spare.
For the customer service team, data is life. Satisfaction ratings can show us where we need to polish our customer relations skills. A growing trend in number of conversations can mean it’s time to hire a new teammate to handle the additional volume. More questions from prospective customers can show our marketing team where their work is most effective.
“Data keeps us on track, shows us where we need to focus our attention and where our hard work is paying off.”
Something that was a pleasant surprise in SnapEngage’s features for us – exporting data to CSV. The live chat analytics available within SnapEngage are actually super robust and helpful, but if we want to overlay our chat statistics with our email statistics, for example, having the data in CSV format allows us to do that. Then we can see how our email conversation numbers fluctuate based on the hours of chat support offered, or the number of chat agents online each day. Knowing what contact methods your customers prefer is vital to customer service success.
As a company we already communicate extensively with each other via chat; we’ve pretty much given up email. So we figured, if we love it so much in the office, how much would customers love being able to chat with us for all their support needs? So far, the proof is in the data.
One of the company’s favorite taglines is: Repair is Noble. We want to show the world how to fix anything. Nobody knows how to fix everything. But that’s OK, because most people know how to fix something. Maybe it’s just a stapler. Or a bicycle. Or a cell phone. What do you know how to fix?
To explore more about iFixit’s roots, check out their background story Where We Are Coming From.