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Web Chat Becomes a Win-Win for Customers and E-tailers
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Web Chat Becomes a Win-Win for Customers and E-tailers

September 28, 2012
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
TMCnet Contributor

One thing the explosion of Web-based media has brought to consumers is higher expectations. Once upon a time, communicating with a company meant doing it in person or via the telephone. Finding the right person on the phone was often frustrating, and issues frequently went unresolved. Thanks to the explosion of chat – and more people in all demographics and age groups feeling comfortable with chat – it has become of one of the most popular ways for customers to communicate with companies.

In today's retail climate, therefore, it’s mandatory that e-commerce sites make live chat not only available on their Web sites, but fully manned with agents and representatives that are empowered to answer customers’ questions and solve their problems. 

But chat offers benefits not only to customers, who are assured they are reaching the right department with just one click, reaching the right person to handle their problems. Chat can also benefit contact centers and other customer support organizations for a number of reasons.

  • Agents can multitask with chat. Unlike a phone call, which demands the agent’s full attention, chat allows agents to perform more than one duty at once. He or she can handle multiple chats at the same time (since it often takes customers a minute or more to type out their questions), or address other media at the same time, such as e-mail.
  • Instant leads. According to customer support solutions provider Provide Support, when you have customers on your Web site chatting with you, you have hot leads – customers you know are interested in your product – at your fingertips.
  • You can route chat inquiries better. Depending on the page the customer is coming from, the call center can know in advance what the customer’s likely issue is going to be, so call centers can better direct their resources.
  • You can conduct chats in different languages thanks to machine translation. Imagine a customer calls in speaking Japanese. You’d need an agent fluent in Japanese to service that customer. With chat, there are solutions available today that will translate the agent’s and the customer’s chat into their native languages.
  • You can gain instant feedback. Just as chat allows a customer to get an instant solution to his or her problem, post-chat surveys allow you to gain instant feedback on the quality of service you are providing.

Because chat is instantaneous and eliminates the need for small-talk, waiting in queue or staying on hold, customers are more likely to gravitate to it. In the long run, the more customers who choose chat, the fewer customers are dialing into toll-free numbers to speak to live agents which is, after all, the most expensive type of customer support you can offer.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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