When Internet chat came in, it was seen as a gimmick. People did not expect that chat could become a channel for sharing of opinions and emotions. But the experts who had questioned the worth of chat were left stunned by the popularity of the channel. Web based chat caught the imagination of the youth and it remained restricted to this age group for a couple of years. But now the web chat services are used by one and all. They are used on the desktops, laptops, tablets or Smartphones. As most people are using the chat as a way to get in touch with brands, so the expectations of the customers is to find their brand available for web based chat support. If the brand is found they will use the chat to get in touch and seek solutions. Businesses wanting to stay adrift in the technological world have to use chat support to please the modern customers. Contact centers can reap benefits with chat support too. They need to follow certain best practices of the industry. Some of these are mentioned below:
- Chatbots: There are many synonyms of chatbots such as virtual agents, virtual assistants, avatars and concierges. This tool can be used by the contact centers to greet the customers and then answer their questions. Chatboxes can be used only to answer questions of low to medium complexity. The avatars can guide a customer through the website and its features such as browse, FAQs and search, etc.
- Brand Personality: The avatars used for communication should embed a brand image into the minds of the customers. Many large brands spend a fair bit of time in finalizing the animated character that would speak on their behalf. Creating a good avatar helps the brands integrate the chat bot into other service channels as well as migrate customers to the cheaper self service channels. These virtual web assistants will relieve the pressure from the chat support agents in the days to come. Virtual assistants will have the capability to offer advice, feedback and guidance through the 24 hours.
- Purpose of Web Chat: Web chat is a costly channel of communication, and yet it is used by all the major brands around the world. Today’s customers want to have a multi-channel environment, where they can touch with a brand through any channel possible. This is why web chat has become an integral part of customer services. But the costs of web chat can be minimized, if it is used as an escalation channel and not one for detailed resolution. Yes, the customer may raise an issue to the customer service agent through chat, but to get detailed solution he/she has to either use self service options or turn to CRM chat, voice call, etc.
- Make the Call: The reputed outsourcing contact center companies feel that chat is a great rapport builder when it is merged with other communication tools. It is said that a phone call is necessary after chatting with a customer 5-6 times. Such a practice leads to long term loyalty and thus profits the businesses.
- Avoid Failure: Like all technology, the web based chat can also fail. When it fails, the customers get frustrated. The chat services work under immense pressure, they have to take loads of messages. So, it is wise to have a technical team test the system before implementation and thus carry out systematic up gradations from time to time.
- Not Too Many Simultaneous Sessions: The agent tackling all the chats can be put under pressure when there are too many chat windows open. There is a high chance of mistakes. This can be avoided if there is a provision whereby the agent has to take only two customers at a time. This improves the customer experiences too.
Web based chat services are the need of the hour and brands can reap many benefits from them. Often chat services are ideal for rapport building with the younger generation of customers. It is important to follow certain best practices if the true value of chat services is to be reaped.