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Consumers prefer web chat for customer service

Web chat is the preferred channel for consumer customer service according to a new report from Fifth Quadrant.

New study by Fifth Quadrant found that compared to other channels such as social media and smartphone apps, web chat is the most used medium for customer service queries.

Web chat is also perceived to have the highest suitability for general enquiries, technical issues, purchase or sales related questions, and complaints or service issues.

Although the technology has been available for over five years, it is only recently that businesses have developed enough interest to adopt web chat as a customer service channel – with the greatest number of implementations (40 percent) having occurred since its emergence.

“Web chat has a great value proposition for consumers. It is a convenient offer of help at an appropriate time.  When carried out properly, it is non-intrusive and simplifies the consumer’s experience,” said Chris Kirby, Head of Research, Fifth Quadrant.

Unlike social media and smartphone apps, web chat appears to be well resourced and supported within businesses that utilise the technology, with three in five organisations reporting confidence in their capability to scale up to support changes in demand for customer service via the channel.

This compares to just under half of organisations being confident in their capability to scale up to support social media and two in five organisations being confident in their capabilities to support smartphone apps.

According to Fifth Quadrant, this difference could be a result of the way each of the channels are managed.

For instance, in four out of five organisations, responsibility for managing and resourcing web chat lies with the call or contact centre – a department well equipped to responding to fluctuating consumer communications. Whereas social media and smartphones are typically managed by Marketing and Insight, or IT.

Other reason may be the very structure of web chat as a one-on-one, direct and instantaneous channel of conversation.

More information on customer experience strategy, design and research is available on Fifth Quadrant’s website.


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Tasnuva Bindi

Tasnuva Bindi

Tas is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She has a passion for visual and performance arts, feminist politics, and animal rights. In her spare time she likes to paint, write poetry, and read courtroom drama novels.

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