Using a Chat Feature to Drive Customer Contacts

Chat. A technology that’s emerging as one of the best ways to connect with your customers, is still something that is completely underutilized. Too many people are afraid to use it; whether because they’re concerned about retraining agents or having to add additional staff, or they’re worried about the cost and time to develop something, or even if they just simply don’t use chat themselves and thus, don’t see the benefits. Regardless of the why, the fact remains that many large companies are missing an easy way to drive customer contacts that may otherwise be missed out on.

As a fairly tech savvy, and extremely busy person, a chat feature for companies is something I highly value. I spend a large portion of my day on the internet, and far too much time on the phone. The last thing I want to do is make more phone calls. However, chatting is something that I can do easily while working on other projects. Simply ask a question, and wait for a reply that comes back MUCH faster than email. Oftentimes, the lack of a chat feature will drive me away from contacting customer support at all. I had an issue recently with my ISP, and after looking online to find out how to contact them, I decided to spend some time researching the problem on my own rather than call. Does this make sense? Of course it doesn’t. The fact remains, however, that the requirement that I actually pick up the phone and call this company drove me away from contacting them.

One might be thinking now, “Drive away contacts and reduce the number of callers I get?! Great!” But consider the other side of the coin; driving away contacts means driving away potential upsales. My wife recently implemented a chat feature for the company that she works for, and immediately received several contacts with very basic questions; things people probably would have never called for, but that ultimately resulted in a customer purchasing products. Acceptance of chat as a viable contact method has grown significantly, now that the majority of people who use the internet also use email and IM. This is helping drive acceptance of chat as an easy way to connect with a company.

Ultimately, chat can be a great tool for your business. It’s usually simple to implement, requires no additional staff, and can increase your agents productivity AND your ability to upsell your customers. Chat is one thing that every company should have!