As consumers, when we need help or advice, we have so many options when choosing how to interact with companies. The days of being put on hold for many, many minutes whilst being told that our custom is important, is no longer our only option. The emergence of web chat services gives us direct access to Customer Services, allowing customers to shop and solve simultaneously. This service presents companies with the opportunity to resolve problems efficiently and improve their accessibility to their customers.
But how successful is this channel? We asked our Mystery Customer team to share their recent experiences to find out what web chat facilities really offer to customers.
Whilst not all companies offer a web chat facility, those that do can expect quick fire questions from their customers. Whether it’s to track their order, ask for advice or answer a question, customers found themselves completely satisfied with the service offered in just 31.6% of instances.
We don’t necessarily expect customer service colleagues to know all the answers, but we like them to try and find out for us. Almost one in two (46.8%) customers had to make a follow up enquiry with the company after initially using their web chat facility.
Passing customers from pillar to post only causes frustration. Where customers did not need to follow up, satisfaction sat at 88.8% vs. 43.2% when customers had to use a different channel for resolution.
Those customers who choose to use a web chat facility over face to face / telephone contact typically do so for ease and convenience. For those customers who then must follow up via another channel, having to make contact via telephone drives dissatisfaction further still, dropping to 35.0%.
Common causes of frustration amongst customers having to follow up their web chats with a telephone conversation were time management, colleague manner and a lack of knowledge - largely contributing to satisfaction scores of 0 – 2.
Businesses are continuously refining their online offer, but it’s essential that customer service follows this same path. Web chats should be an extension of this online offer, with those colleagues manning the keyboards able to confidently answer questions or seek help without the customer having to make additional contact. It’s important that the service is not simply an ‘add on’ that pays lip service to offering this facility without delivering it effectively. Time and knowledge must be imparted to ensure the service provided meets the customer’s needs and isn’t a weak link that ultimately drives dissatisfaction.
To find out more about this project, and our expertise in building CEX measurement programmes that deliver a better customer experience, please get in touch with ABa via the details below.
firstname.lastname@example.org / 0161 431 1236
email@example.com / 0161 431 1221
(Source: ABa Pulse Web Chat Project, 1st May - 30th June, n= 79)