New research published by ContactBabel, contact center industry analysts, reveals that web chat (or instant messaging) is one of the fastest-growing technologies used by US contact centers. 43% of this year’s survey respondents offer web chat as a customer service channel, compared to only 15% five years ago, with volumes of web chat increasing by 125% over the same timescale.
Furthermore, 18% of respondents state that they intend to implement web chat over the next 12 months, the highest of any of the 13 contact center technologies surveyed in the report.
The report's author, Steve Morrell, commented:
"While web chat has been around for many years, we are seeing a definite increase in the use of this channel, which has huge potential. The real-time nature of web chat means it is akin to a voice conversation in immediacy, giving it an advantage over email. Multiple concurrent web chat sessions can be run, cutting cost per interaction, which means there are sound commercial reasons for businesses to support this channel.
“Survey respondents indicate that the cost of a web chat is roughly equivalent to that of an email – around $3.50 – which is less than half the cost of a typical phone call.
“Web chat is ideally suited to provide assisted service, in case where a customer has tried to use a website but cannot find the information that they are looking for. Customers do not have to break from the website in order to call a business, but can quickly and seamlessly move from self-service to assisted service, improving customer satisfaction, cutting call queues and closing more sales. Furthermore, the rise in smartphone usage means that customers will access websites through mobile devices more often, and will require an assisted service option in case the less feature-rich mobile website does not have what they require.”
"The US Contact Center Decision-Makers' Guide (6th edition - 2013)", is a major study of over 200 US contact center operations, looking at all areas of performance, investment, technology, HR and strategy. The study can be downloaded at www.contactbabel.com.