By: Derrick Chin On: December 15, 2016 In: Contact Center Comments: 0

Too many chats is like having too many drinks – it’s best to know when to say “stop.” In the modern omni-channel contact center environment, there is pressure to provide all channels to all customers. Mix this with the need to mitigate the labor requirements and you have contact center leaders trying to keep cost down by targeting the channel with the lowest cost.

For most contact centers, that channel is usually Chat. Chat offers many attractive features – one agent to many concurrent customer interactions, interactions that are usually resolved within the first interaction, and the ability to have a fully documented conversation.

We would never consider having a telephone agent take on two calls simultaneously, but it is common to have a Chat agent engaging in 2,3,4, or even 5 concurrent chats. The question becomes, “just because you can, should you be taking that many concurrent chats?”

Here are 3 great questions to ask yourself regarding your organization’s Chat strategy:

1. Is Chat the right channel?

Chat may be generally efficient and cost effective, but is the topic that you are asking your customer to Chat about equally as efficient? Is a Chat agent who can take 3 concurrent chats, but can only access the information for one customer at a time as efficient as a telephone agent who has the same customer account access? These are the types of limitations that we may want to consider when deciding what is appropriate for chat.

2. Is there another way for customers to access the information?

For most organizations, chat is “turned on” and your agents are off to the races. But we should ask if the same information is offered in a way that agent input is not needed. A Knowledge Base is typically the solution that can help to divert chat traffic so that customers can enjoy self-service. In some instances, it is possible to see as much as a 25% reduction in overall volume by offering a Knowledge Base as an option before inviting customers to Chat.

 3. Is Chat the strategy or is it just another tool in the organization’s toolbox?

Many organizations look to Chat as the magic channel – “Chat is going to solve our issues.” After implementing Chat, organizations just find more questions. Offering Chat as the strategy is no different than offer Telephone as the strategy. We need to hold Chat as nothing more than a tool in the toolbox, a tool that we can deploy at the right time for the right job.
Nuances like Chat can turn running a contact center from simple arithmetic to advanced calculus. I hope these questions help. Thanks for reading!

If you could use help making sense of Chat and optimizing it for your organization, please email us or give us a call at (800) 999-0197.