Thursday, June 27, 2013

Web Chat response speeds are critical in customer support

I am writing this blog while in a live web chat with a major TV and broadband supplier. The fact that I have had the time to do this probably gives you an indication of where this blog is going. It's too slowwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Not to bore you with the sad and sorry tale, I needed to contact them having received a bill for something that should not have happened. Tried calling and there was a 15 minute wait. Went to complaints section of web site and a chat popped up.

The chat started at 10:21am
It took until 10:28 to do basic ID and verification
It took until 10:32 to look up my record

In customer services this is too slow. This is probably due to a) too many concurrent chats b) ineffective training c) the advisor is new d) the advisor typing skills are poor or e) a mixture of some of these.

It's now 10:39 and we are now getting to the nub of the issue i.e. the advisor is collecting the facts.

IMHO, this can't be. When a customer goes to the complaints page and a chat is triggered then responses should be fast. On average on this chat the responses are a minute for simple things and 4 minutes on responses where they are looking up information. In my view responses should be fast for all chats not just complaints.

What to do ?

Having looked at a few chat platforms the out of the box reports tend to measure response time as the time to respond to the chat request. This tells you nothing. What needs to be measured is each and every message response. I would maintain that while AHT and ASA are important in voice, speed of each message response in chat needs to be in all SLA's.

It would be interesting to look through chat reports and see what the abandonment rate is mid chat for customer services chats, this might show that people get bored or distracted and perhaps even change back to the phone. The impact will be reduction in FTR and increased cost, reducing the return on investment for chat.

In addition as we are in a long conversation, the AHT of this chat is going to exceed 30 minutes. If chat concurrency is 3, this is cost equivalent to a 10 minute call - I reckon on a call this would have taken less time i.e. chat is costing more even if I don't give up and call in.

Certainly it is possible for an advisor to be more responsive than this with a chat concurrency of 3.

10:43 she's gone to her supervisor.....

10:49 starting to work on a solution, 28 minutes! (but still not solved)

11:01 chat ended - advisor tells me that I will be able to email myself the chat transcript, guess what I can't. This is really, really poor. Fortunately I copied it.

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