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BT Research Finds Webchat Increasingly Effective Contact Center Communication Channel

It was found that webchat creates a highly positive customer experience, one which is at least as good as a phone call and often superior. Almost three quarters of advisors interviewed agreed that webchat offers customers better service compared to calls. This was attributed to the speed that customers can connect to webchat, typically stated as one minute or less. This is considerably faster than customers might experience when dialing into a menu-driven call center system, with its attendant transfers and hold periods. When initiated effectively, webchat puts customers straight through to an advisor with the relevant skills.

With many customers and advisors now using social media and instant messaging in their personal life, webchat was perceived strongly in terms of ease of use, offering specific benefits such as the ability to quickly cut and paste standard information and being able to scan entire conversations to check customer needs have been met. Overall, 88 per cent of advisors said they like webchat, many of these went further and expressed very high levels of satisfaction.

Many advisors were found to be able to engage in multiple webchat conversations at once, increasing their productivity. Two parallel sessions were normal, with some advisors claiming they could manage more. Webchats between advisors and their colleagues were also common. Advisors suggested that these make them more effective, as they can ask for assistance in real-time while helping customers, and generate a better working environment, with greater team spirit.

From the perspective of management, webchat is a positive development. Written conversations leave a clear audit trail and team leaders are able to easily and quickly step into a webchat. The big advantage is that, unlike calls, the manager can quickly scan through the entire conversation without the need for the customer to repeat themselves. This means escalation processes are far easier from both the customer and manager perspective.

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