Do You Need Some Web Chat Expertise?

By Bob Morrell on July 5, 2017

Over the last couple of years, we’ve done more web chat projects than ever before. It’s the new channel ‘on the block’ and so successful because it’s just so convenient for customers. I can sit here at my desk working on a proposal or a presentation whilst negotiating my insurance or my energy tariff or my phone contract, and as a customer I feel entirely in control.

The majority of web chats still take place via a company web site but more and more are now taking place over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger – which makes the customer feel even more in control. Additionally, the customer can ‘pause’ the conversation until later, and a skilled operator can have many chats open at one time, and just respond at the time when it suits the customer.

As a commercial channel, it has taken chat some time to become entirely viable. In many businesses, it is still poorly executed. There is obvious cut and pasting, there is an offer based culture in evidence which can be a turn off in plain word form, and there is a lack of conversation structure. Which is where we come in, developing bespoke chat structures which persuade the customer, and motivate the operator. What structuring does, of course, is deliver consistency.

The last piece of the customer service jigsaw is two-fold.

  1. As a chat customer, if I decide to conclude this conversation over the phone, can I? In many brands the answer is ’sorry, no’ and you have to start again, on the phone, if that’s your choice. There’s a training gap to up-skill chat operatives so they can switch effortlessly between channels if that’s what the customer wants – this rockets conversion because you are dealing with so much more in terms of communication skills. Some companies logistically struggle with this and must remember the variation is in the customer – not the system that you happen to employ.
  2. What about your other channels? – if we switch from web chat to phone, and then the customer decides to go to a store to conclude an order, then how can we set up our retail colleagues to pick up that enquiry and convert it, in a way that means the work on chat, and telephone is referenced, so the customer feels a seamless transition? This connection between channel service is really the holy grail when it comes to modern customer service.

We spoke to a contact in India recently whom we worked with a few years ago, and we talked about the variations currently being delivered. Email enquiries being served and concluded, over email. Web-chat for new business enquiries, retention and also complaints. Everything comes down to effective language – language considered and used that suits the customer and the brand. If you can get that right then any channel can become highly successful. Settling for mediocre performance in any channel is simply not an option.