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Should Your Contact Center Platform Provide Chat Support?

Our recent Five9 Customer Service Index 2021 surveyed consumers about their communications channel preferences when contacting a business. Turns out that voice is still king with 51% of respondents indicating using phone as their preferred contact channel. Email came in second, with 23%, and chat third at 17%. For younger customers, chat is increasingly preferred. Many contact centers are deploying chat in response to increasing demand from their customers.


Key Features Of Call Center Chat Software

Here are some key features you should look for when considering chat vendors:

  • Seamless transition to voice – chat is good for a wide range of customer interactions, but some issues may be more complex and better handled with a phone call. It should be easy to escalate an on-going chat interaction to voice with no more than a single click to place an outbound call to a customer.
  • Unified messaging interface – originally “chat” meant web-based chat software. Today however, there are many other message-based communication options like SMS/text and social messaging apps. Agents should be presented messaging interactions within a single unified interface, as opposed to dealing with different interfaces for each messaging source. Unification makes it easier for agents to interact with customers and doesn’t require how to use multiple interfaces.
  • Seamless transitions to live agents from chatbots – chatbots can handle a wide range of interactions but there are times when customers need to work with a live agent, either in chat or on the phone. When this occurs, it should be easy to do. More importantly, the context of customer interactions should be provided to agents they are transferred to avoid the need to start over or repeat information already provided.

Benefits Of Call Center Chat Software

Sometimes it just isn’t practical to pick up a phone and call a business. You may be in a noisy environment or in need of some privacy. Supporting call center chat provides a great option for this. It’s a better option than email in many instances due to the real-time nature of a live chat interaction.


A blog post from Zendesk has shown that chat also has a very high level of customer satisfaction of 85%, second only to voice at 91%. Links embedded in a web page or smartphone app make it easy to initiate a chat interaction, reducing customer effort.

Finally, live chat has a lower cost per interaction than voice, especially when agents handle multiple customer interactions at a time. This serves to make agents’ work more interesting, which leads to higher agent satisfaction.

Once live chat has been implemented, there may be options for deploying automated chatbots. This can create a new digital workforce for your operation that supplements your live agents. Recent technology advances in artificial intelligence have greatly expanded the use cases, along with their results. Chatbots are always on and available 24/7 and are significantly less costly than live agents.

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About The Author

For more than 18 years, Brian Spraetz has been helping customer service operations perform at peak levels and deliver loyalty-winning experiences. In addition to his positions in product marketing, Brian has had roles in product development and product management. With expertise spanning the full range of customer engagement solutions, Brian provides unique perspectives and valuable insights on effectively combining technology and processes to gain operational and competitive advantages.

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