BT: Strategies for Optimizing Web Chat in Support Centers

Automation, self-service, web chat, remote tech support – these strategic tools are the modern face of customer support. Contact centers continue to adopt novel support channels in a drive to enhance productivity, reduce costs and excel in pleasing customers.

But as Valerie Peay, head of the customer experience team at global communications giant BT, explains in a short video, these tools shouldn’t be understood as simply interchangeable elements. The goal isn’t to simply substitute support channels with lower costs per transactions for those with higher costs.

Case in point is BT’s experimentation with the use of GoToAssist Corporate’s new web-chat support tool FastChat™. BT has been an early and enthusiastic adapter of FastChat. The point of such chat tools, Peay says, is not to replace phone service. Instead, customer contacts centers have to work towards the best dynamic combination.

FastChat interface

Hence BT’s strategic approach to FastChat, GoToAssist’s web-based chat interface that launches instantly without any customer download. BT applied FastChat to the 20,000 customer calls coming into their wholesale division each week.

The rollout of FastChat was part of a targeted approach that sought to “eradicate the reasons to call in the first place,” says Peay.

FastChat, which BT branded as “eChat,” helped BT “move our customers into an e-service environment.” “If you can move them into an online environment,” Peay says, “then you can teach them using chat how to be able to self-serve.”

Of course, BT does not plan to eliminate phone support; they want to keep all communication channels open with their valued customers.

The project under Peay’s team was a smashing success. Incoming calls were cut almost in half from 20,000 a week, with eChat handling approximately 40 percent of those. BT plans to accelerate its deployment and make eChat the primary form of contact with wholesale customers over the next 3 months, in addition to expanding the use of FastChat to another 5 BT divisions.

BT’s research into customer experience also reveals an “absolutely fantastic” 20 percent boost in customer experience. As part of BT’s innovative approach to customer service, Peay and her team have continued to drill into the data to see what works by looking at customer surveys and transcripts of the chat session.

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