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Web Chat – Is Less More?


chat3Web chatting, as an option for customers to utilize  for communicating with companies, is on the rise. According to the 2012 Fourth Annual BoldChat Live Chat  Effectiveness report, one in five shoppers prefer online chat over any form of communication. In looking to be effective at properly communicating via this channel, one question requires consideration – Is Less More? Is it necessary to have long wordy conversations or are short, straight to the issue chats sufficient for the chat customer?

Studies have shown that most customers choose to experience an organization via their website because of ease, speed and convenience. Forrester Research has predicted that online retail sales will reach $250 billion by 2014. It seems quite natural that customers may want to communicate with your company while shopping online. What type of conversation is the chat customer anticipating? Is it necessary to chat in the same manner that one interacts over the phone? When web chatting with customers, it’s important to do so in short sentences. Get right to the point with your answers as long paragraphs are inappropriate when chatting. Chat agents should possess a high level of product/ service knowledge so that they can communicate in a quick, concise manner. They should be expert navigators of your organization’s website as this will allow for locating and retrieving  the proper information for developing responses to customer requests.

Chat customers expect to be serviced quickly, efficiently and thoroughly. Establish chat guidelines for your chat agents. Provide “one touch” capabilities that allow your chat agents to ask repetitive questions and provide common answers with the touch of one key. An FAQ database and cheat sheets are invaluable tools for your chat agents. Avoid information overload when chatting with your customer. Provide only pertinent and relevant information. Stick to the issue at hand! Overwhelming your customer with wordy and lengthy responses may cause frustration, which can certainly create an unhappy customer. Just as it’s critical not to ramble when communicating with your customer via phone or face to face, it’s even more important not to ramble when web chatting your customer. Remember, this is the customer that seeks a quick and timely communication session!  Be careful not to lose the personal touch with your customer. While “one touch” usage allows the agent to be efficient, balance that with utilizing the customer’s name during the chat or asking open-ended questions that allow your customer to fully express themselves should they choose to do so. If there is information that every chat customer is required to provide, proactively get them to do so by prompting them to have the information ready prior to their beginning the chat session. This helps your chat agent to be more efficient and possibly may assist in reducing the chat session length.

In the chat world, Less Is More in the quest to provide great chat customer service. The right communication method coupled with the right chat tools and combined with superior product/service knowledge can lead to your customer experiencing a great chat session with your organization!

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