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Customer service chat done right

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- Tom Vander Well, executive vice president of c wenger group, is a recognized customer service authority in the contact center industry.

I've been blogging for almost a decade both personally and professionally, and have published on at least three different blog platforms over the past 10 years. I'm savvy enough to be dangerous and can troubleshoot most basic problems, but there are times when I simply don't have the expertise to figure things out.

I've recently been doing some major rework to my personal blog which is on Wordpress. They utilize a chat service for premium users and over the past couple of months I have utilized chat to get pesky problems remedied and some sage advice on things I was trying to do.

Chat as a customer service tool has been around a long time, but the use of chat compared to voice and e-mail has been relatively small. That seems to be changing with the times as more and more users get used to it. My personal take is that chat customer service has become increasingly popular as mobile texting has grown to become the communication medium of choice for the coming generations.

I realized last week that I was extremely satisfied with the customer service chats I've had with Wordpress, and am increasingly willing to use the service for the most basic of questions that might strike me as I'm blogging.

Here are a couple of things they do well:

  • Real conversation. Many of the chats I've had with businesses in the past seem to be with agents for whom English is a second language as they clumsily switch between cut and paste answers and poor communication that are rife with spelling and grammatical errors. My experience with Wordpress has been that I've had actual, articulate, interpersonal chat conversations with knowledgable agents who express themselves clearly and well.
  • Focused Attention. Another age-old frustration with chat is that agents are sometimes carrying on multiple chats at the same time, so there's this lag time between responses in which you wonder if they've abandoned you. I always get the sense with Wordpress chat agents that they are totally focused on helping me. If they are going to take a few minutes to investigate and respond, they generally tell me ahead of time so that I'm prepared for the delay.
  • Expedience. The agents at Wordpress always have quick access to my site, can see what I'm doing or trying to do, and I never have to waste a lot of time providing them with account, site, or profile information before we get to the actual issue at hand.
  • Positive Attitude. One of the difficult things to do in chat is to convey a sense of courtesy and positive attitude. Voice allows for intonation and inflection, but text is a more difficult medium to quickly establish a feeling of rapport. Wordpress chat agents always greet me personally, phrase themselves courteously, and convey a willingness to serve in the way they welcome me to come back to them with any other questions or needs I might have. On occasion the agents have complimented my blog or acknowledged my years of regular posting, which they didn't have to do.

Many companies have tried and have given up on chat as a medium of Customer Service communication, and my previous experiences have led me to be thankful that companies have done so. Wordpress has changed my attitude. If more companies can do customer service chat with that level of quality and professionalism, then I believe that we will see some companies using chat as a key differentiator and a contributor to customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

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