> When and for what questions would you consider getting advice and service via Online Chat?
It would be most often used when I had a quick question and the answer wasn't readily available online, or I don't have the vernacular to ask it from the site. For example:
* My daughter is heading to college in the fall. I would like to give her a credit card, but I want to limit exposure on it, what are my options? * I'm buying a car and got pre-approved, what do I do now that I'm at the dealer? (a sort of common question, but some more urgency)
> When you’ve had the opportunity to get assistance via Online Chat, what did you like or maybe not like about the experience?
I've most liked chat when it feels like a conversation with someone in my community - some small-talk and levity makes the experience pleasant. Another small, but effective differentiator is using a name. I feel more confident talking with "Tim Falk" (as occurred recently with another company) or "Ginger Root" (BECU rock star) than "Bob S." or his cold, metallic overlord, "CUTOMER CAREBOT, SECTOR OMEGA."
I've also appreciated it when the experience had a clear resolution because the person communicated well the next steps, had authority to own the problem, and managed handoff. The latter is especially important when dealing with a large company like Comcast or CenturyLink. As a positive example, when I was switching from AT&T to T-Mobile for my cell plan, the rep did *everything* with me on the line. It was awesome because she clearly knew how the system worked, could ask the right questions, and did it a lot faster than I could have.
As a negative example, on Friday morning, we had an outage on our corporate internet with Century Link. I'm four people away from the situation, but since I was the first one in, I wanted to get it taken care of. I wasted half an hour before I realize I had called the residential group. Rather than doing a clean handoff to business group, I had to get back in the queue and explain all over again. Frustrating!
One thing that's felt kind of creepy is the overuse of "blurbs," or standardized blocks of text that a rep can use with a customer. I'm cool with the super standardized stuff like business hours and phone numbers. However, with some companies (*cough* Dell *cough*) the rep interjects so many other ones that it feels like a plea for help or a silly metric (blurbs per hour) their manager is enforcing.
A nice feature that would complement this is a preferred (versus legal) name for myself.
The transcript option mentioned above is also very good.