As a contact centre professional, I’ve come across various applications of chat technology. I’ve worked with a handful of online retailers and thus far the most common use of chat has been to answer frequently asked questions. Chat has been useful as a tool to deflect calls for basic questions. Typically, the answers to these questions can be found on the website and the customer just needs a bit of help getting to that section of the site. A simple page push with a link to the FAQ section usually does the trick. Alternatively, you can reply directly to the customer with a canned response.
Examples of frequently asked questions can include:
a. What is your return policy?
b. What is your shipping policy?
c. Do you ship internationally?
d. Are volume discounts available?
e. What are your payment options?
f. What are your hours of operation?
g. Where are you located?
h. What promotions are you currently running?
I’ve also seen chat used as a sales tool to proactively engage customers. Though this use of chat is successful, it is important to test your business rules for proactive engagement here. An overly aggressive or premature chat invitation to sell or up-sell a customer can cost you the transaction. Be specific with your engagement rules and frequently review your results. I would even recommend doing some A-B testing with multiple models to find out which one yields the best results.
Chat can also be used as a tier 1 technical support tool to provide a basic level of support. This form of support can again include answers to basic troubleshooting/frequently asked questions or a page push reference to an online user manual. With co-browsing features, users can sometimes have a tech support agent remote control into their computer to troubleshoot the problem. Chat can also be a useful tool to help customers fill out support tickets for a follow up by a support technician later on. It is important with this model to always provide an escalation avenue if the problem isn’t resolved. Typically this can be in the form of a call with reference to a support ticket so the technician can pull up the customer’s notes.
What other uses of chat have you seen? What challenges have you come across? What successful sales chat models have you seen?
Kien Quach, AVP, Sales, NCO Group