The Web Chat promise delivers in so many ways. It guarantees a seamless digital experience, offering near real-time communication in a highly personalised way. It may come as no surprise therefore that web chat is one of the most popular channels for customer interaction used by 39 percent of UK customer service organisations.[i]
Here are 10 simple strategies for implementing web chat and delivering the web chat promise.
1. Prioritise pages and make web buttons highly visible – recognise that not all web chat conversations are equal. A password refresh is not as critical as someone asking a last-minute question about your product at the online checkout! Provide priority routing for customers arriving from key pages and make web chat buttons highly visible on these pages
2. Limit the use of proactive chat – if a customer has been hovering around a checkout or FAQ page for longer than the average browse time, use a proactive chat option where a web chat screen appears in front of the customer but don’t over-use. This will just drive potential customers and sales – away!
3. Use intelligent routing to boost customer experience – make sure the customer’s routing experience is as smooth and painless as possible. Don’t ask for too many details upfront – a name and email address will suffice. Rely on the latest WebRTC softphone technologies to capture additional information about a customer’s browsing journey or account history and pass this through to the web chat agent. Consider passing customers to a specialist or give priority to customers visiting a certain page to ensure a swift and successful interaction and don’t forget to offer self-help options
4. Keep customers informed at all times – communicate, communicate and communicate. Provide a position-in-queue announcement or an estimated time-to-answer and show activity indicators such as ‘agent typing’ so that the customer can see progress and knows they are receiving your full attention
5. Use web chat to extend opening hours – in today’s digital world where consumers expect round-the-clock access to your virtual shop window, use an outsourcer or company-employed home workers to deliver web chat services when your main contact centre is closed
6. Optimise services for mobile users – when so many customers consume products, services as well as information on the move, this element is absolutely critical or they are likely to go elsewhere. Optimise the web chat user experience for mobile devices by keeping the account verification process simple, text responses short and file attachments small. Consider integrating web chat support into mobile applications for regular users
7. Incorporate a post contact survey button – use customer feedback to improve your web chat service and boost your own social media presence by posting positive ‘Voice of the Customer’ feedback from customers online whilst encouraging them to share their experiences on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
8. Offer chat transcripts to customers – provide transparency and boost customer confidence by offering customers access to full chat transcripts upon completion of interactions
9. Consider a Chatbot – tap into the latest craze in automated web communication – chatbots or computer programmes that mimic human conversations using artificial intelligence. Bots can answer questions and proactively send messages, bringing a whole new dimension to the web chat experience
10. Combine customer feedback with website analysis – last but not least, look at your service and sales or marketing operation as a whole by combining web chat analytics with CRM information and visitor statistics to assess who is visiting your site, where they come from, what search engine keywords are used, their navigation history and any issues they encountered along the way.
It’s time to make web chat an intrinsic part of your organisation’s multi-channel value proposition. Follow this ten-point plan and combine it with cleverly integrated CRM analytics and the latest cloud-based contact centre technology to monitor the customer journey, enhance your customer engagement programme and ultimately boost brand loyalty and sales.
Thomas Rødseth, is VP of Product and Marketing at Puzzel (formerly Intelecom)
 Contactbabel – “UK Decision-makers guide 2016”