Give Customers What They Want: Web Chat Best Practices – Part II

In my last blog, I let you know that I was going to share with you the “Top 10 Steps to a Successful Text Chat Implementation” as delivered during our ININ Annual User Conference by Jim Borum, SVP Client Services with RDI Marketing.

Before I get to those steps, I thought it best to site a key point that Jim made during his presentation – there exists several very good reasons why chats haven’t been deployed in the contact center (see previous post). But more importantly, there are many great reasons as to why chats should be deployed, with cost being one of them.

Take a look at this chart below, taken from Jim’s presentation. Clearly, most forms of customer service interactions fall within the high-cost zone – general phone calls, technical phone calls (which of course eat up the toll minutes), and the on-site visits.

In today’s economic climate, it certainly seems like contact centers should be looking for every opportunity to cut costs while at the same time providing increased customer satisfaction.

Could chats be the answer? Jim gave us several answers to this question with the following perceived benefits of deploying chats for excellent customer service (pulled directly fromJim’s presentation):

  • Increased Customer Satisfaction – Studies indicate clients prefer chat over phone interactions 64% versus 44%. (Source: Horizon Research)
  • Improved Quality Through Standardization of Responses
  • Real Time – Customers can obtain help when they need it
  • Documented History: Chat transcription is emailed to the customer, which provides the customer the information discussed on the call.
  • Nimble, Flexible: Service reps can access a variety of tools such as web links, files, and knowledge bases quickly

And now, on to the top 10 chart. To get more information on each of the items below, as well as the rest of Jim’s presentation, you can download it here.

Top 10 Steps to a Successful Chat Implementation

  1. Know your marketplace – Is chat offered today by your competitors? Is there demand for it?
  2. Be customer focused – Are there any limitations of your customers that might prevent them from using chat?
  3. Create a blueprint for success – Get buy in from all levels. Establish goals. Evaluate the right tools.
  4. Find the best solution – Look at your current solution first. Seek out proven vendors. Ask questions.
  5. Start Smart – Start with a select group of agents first. Limit hours for chat availability to customers at first. Train your agents well.
  6. Help your agents be successful – Initial emphasis should be on quality not quantity. Get feedback from agents. Keep agents motivated.
  7. Track success, track failure – create best practices. Set metrics. Report and give feedback.
  8. Test and monitor – Fully test before you deploy. Overstaff for first 30 days. Monitor reps.
  9. Market your text chat function – Promote availability on your web site. Direct customers to text chat during IVR and ACD messages.
  10. Look for new applications for text chat – Completion of order forms. Communication with subject matter experts within your organization.

 Tim Passios


TOP 50 Teleservices Company based in Ohio
1000 employees, 6 locations, 5 domestic and 1 nearshore