Best Practices for Chat Support


by Emily Millar
May 23, 2012

As consumers continue to seek customer support online, there is tremendous opportunity for companies to enhance their customer service in real time. While social media as a platform for CRM takes the spotlight these days, consider the value more traditional service channels offer to connect with customers. In the end, companies must select the right service and support channels to fit the desired customer experience.

One area filled with potential is online chat. Online chat is not new. The ability to have real-time, two-way text communication between an agent and a customer over the Internet has existed for some time, with varying degrees of success. But with the need to enhance customer service, support more complicated products, and engage with a new, hyperconnected consumer—all while reducing support costs—online chat deserves serious consideration. The benefits of a robust online chat presence are significant. In a 2008 Forrester Research study, reactive chat earned a 15 percent return on investment, compared to proactive chat’s impressive 105 percent return. As a global contact center provider, Telus has seen similar impressive results with its clients. For one client, the addition of a new sales chat queue (at a fraction of the cost of voice support) generated $2 million dollars in additional revenue in the first month alone. The combination of consumer preference and cost-efficiency makes online chat a powerful and profitable customer service and sales channel.

For companies that plan to implement online chat, it’s important to do it right. In a recent study commissioned by Telus International, we established a set of benchmarks for the ideal chat session. The study identified the three key areas where companies can maximize their online chat presence: agent skills, chat system features, and communications style. Download the checklists for more details.

Even with an increasing array of complicated products and services available to consumers, instant gratification and immediate response are still expected. Online chat, launched effectively, can be a big boost to customer satisfaction.

Tag(s): technology, customer service, desktop support, support channels

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