News : Web Chat Comeback Proves Beneficial for Contact Centres
Nov 5, 2013 -- Web-based chat looks to be enjoying a comeback as businesses globally begin to find value in instant messaging, according to Karl Reed, chief marketing and solutions officer at Elingo.
Unlike voice calls, web chat enables agents to deal with multiple interactions with customers.
Depending on the agent’s multitasking abilities and their speed in texting, the agent in question could manage up to four interactions simultaneously, which will enhance cost effectiveness and efficiency within the contact centre.
"When web chat emerged in the late 90’s [and] early 2000’s, it did not see mainstream uptake, mainly because the market was not ready for it. Internet users were not well-versed in the benefits of instant messaging, and business had yet to embrace the concept of multi-channel customer communications," said Reed.
According to Reed, times have changed. Businesses on a global scale are beginning to see new value in web chat as a platform for customer service.
"Web chat is text based and allows for very clear communications with little chance of a misunderstanding. It also lends itself to easy storage and analysis of the interaction and it is possible to automate the mailing of a copy of the interaction to the customer," said Reed.
"In the case of a complex query where an agent guided a customer through the steps of a process for example, this means the customer can refer to the record of the interaction in future, and does not have to call the contact centre again."
Reed said another particularly useful function of web chat is co-browsing without security risks. This means the agent is able to see what the customer is seeing when browsing a website.
This way the agent can guide the customer through the appropriate steps to addressing the customer’s problem.
"With advanced contact centres constantly looking to expand their channels, control costs and improve the customer experience, web chat presents a highly useful and cost-effective additional channel, with a rapid return on investment," said Reed.
However, Reed noted it might not be suitable for every department or business. The success of web chat as a customer service medium depends on the company in question having already created a well designed website.
Contact centres with a website and equipped to manage text channels in addition to others, a web chat function can be rolled out successfully in under a month.
Reed said the benefits of web chat, once implemented, can be seen "almost immediately".
"Importantly, it adds one more way for businesses to interact with customers immediately, on any device customers choose. If web chat is implemented well, integrated into the overall contact centre systems, and interactions via web chat are kept personal (avoiding scripted responses) web chat can contribute significantly to the overall customer experience," said Reed.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2013