Can We Chat About Web Chat?
Web chat technology usually is offered as part of a suite of contact management tools. It’s available from the traditional ACD (automatic call distributor) and contact center companies such as Aspect, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel and others. Also, your existing vendor’s product may be able to readily integrate distribution of Web chats and incoming phone calls.
Web chat also is available separately from some vendors, and a few offer connections to their competitors’ products as well as their own. Finally, it’s also available from vendors specializing in chat, such as LivePerson, an ASP type solution, that costs from $99 to $500 per seat per month, depending on features.
As with any important contact center technology purchase, define your specific needs in writing, and evaluate potential vendors by comparing their offerings to these needs. Without such a measuring stick, you may select a product that’s not a good fit.
Focus on People
A prime rule of direct marketing, as well as effective operations management, is to pilot and test. If Stumps decides to offer chat on the Web, it may try it for a single brand and Web site first.
In contact centers, the prime rule is that it’s all about human beings and communications—everything else is an enabling tool.
Rundle offers this advice to companies considering live text chat: “The people will make the difference.” Noting that Lands’ End’s Web site changes every day, she says to “select people who are good multi-taskers, who can adapt to a great deal of change and embrace it. If you can find those people, it’s smooth sailing.”
Mitchell Lieber is president of Lieber & Associates, a Chicago-based contact and call center consulting firm. Visit its free knowledgebase on the Web at www.lieber-andassociates.com. Lieber can be reached at (773) 325-9400 or m_lieber@LieberAndAssociates.com.