Online chat rooms - What are your service excellence best practices? What are your petpeeves?
Looking for examples of 'what to do' and 'what not to do' for companies of a wide variety of industries. How do you create positive impressions and customer loyalty through the use of online chat rooms?
Online chat rooms are great, Marilyn, when they actually work. I have been on several and am always happy to see when they are an option to other customer service options, such as, sending an email to some generic email address, calling a toll-free number only to be on hold forever, etc. But online chat rooms provide an immediate response - when they work. My pet peeve is when there are no hours listed on a site, and when I click on the 'sign in' button for the online chat room, a pop-up window says the chat room is closed, or even worse, nothing happens. Businesses that provide online chat rooms need to treat this form of customer service as a special department because it provides live and immediate assistance - that's what makes it unique. But it has to deliver - or be removed from a website.
Some elements to consider when creating an online chat room: * Create a policy for interaction, such as, standard welcome and thanks messages. * Create a policy for appropriate language - for instance, if your business uses specific words or terms, make sure to integrate them into the online chat room interactions. * Create pre-written phrases, product details, answers, etc., so that the employees who work in the online chat rooms have answers, etc., for simple cut-and-paste into the message boxes. * Make sure that the online chat room fits on one side of your website so that your site is still viewable when the online chat is going on - your customer may wish to search for something, and you don't want to lose the customer because he/she cannot navigate around your site. * Have a short survey ready for when the online chat room experience ends so that users can provide feedback.
1 Additional Answer
Tim Giebelhaus(Manager, Customer Servicces, VidSys, Inc.)
To Debbie Laskey's response, I would add that manning the chat is a full time activity. Carrying on multiple conversations is all the multitasking a person can handle. You also want to be careful how many chat sessions you allow a person to take on. I found four to be a good average. Reps new to technology probably can only do two and a star can do six or eight. More than that, the delays between responses become too long.
A knowledge base is extremely valuable as I believe Debbie Laskey was referring to above. The answers can be ready to go so they don't have to retyped each time.