4/7/2009 3:10:00 PM
Operator call centres add live chat to help solve customer problems
O2’s online chat service, ‘Ask Lucy’, is currently receiving around 1,000 questions per day as it nears the end of its pilot period.
It is the biggest indicator so far that customers are choosing instant messaging over a telephone conversation to resolve service issues.
Orange, T-Mobile and 3 also offer live chat services with agents on a PC, who ‘chat’ with customers to sell, upgrade or solve problems.
T-Mobile’s chat service, ‘Ask Laura’, was launched in February 2009. Head of the service for T-Mobile, Elliott Lawrence, said: ‘Feedback has been really positive and it’s an area that T-Mobile is looking to develop further.’
3’s live chat service, offering technical, sales, billing and coverage advice, is understood to have diverted an increasing number of customers away from its call centres.
Orange is piloting a service called ‘click to chat’ – an instant messaging service that enables customers to talk online with a real customer service agent. The assistant also appears in a window on the Orange website if a customer is on the site for a certain period of time.
An Orange spokeswoman said: ‘Customers can receive advice or links to other areas on the site to help answer their queries.’
Operators appear to be transforming the way they interact with customers, becoming increasingly focused on online services and cutting customer service jobs.
O2 announced 160 redundancies in customer support last week, due to a ‘transformation in customer service’, as consumers’ requirements changed in the face of specialised products.
Vodafone has previously stated its ambitions to move into live messaging but is yet to join the trend.
However, the network said that ‘online services will be the focus for ongoing investment’, after it announced 500 UK job cuts in February.