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Chapter One – Webchat – it’s not like the other channels………


Don't make the mistake of thinking that the only skills webchat agents need are good spelling and grammar!

I am often amazed by the poor quality of webchat conversations. Webchat is a fantastic opportunity to grab your customers' attention online, build relationships and make sales, yet all too often the chance is wasted.

The points below are the key considerations for agents and their managers:


Webchat agents usually handle several chats at once (Three is the industry norm). On the other hand the customer is always just a click away from leaving the web site - webchat customers are super sensitive to breaks in rapport and delays in responses. They are much less tolerant and therefore agents need to be extra careful to keep the customers engaged. For instance closed questions are to be avoided unless the agent can type very quickly

The demographics of webchatters 

Users of webchat tend to be “Millenials” – born between 1982 to 2000. Whereas older internet users tend to use the internet to find data, Millenials use the internet as a communications medium. You need to account for this demographic. i.e. smiley faces are fine! 

It is also important that agents have fast and easy access to customer records so that they can adapt their style appropriately. 

Switching Channels

When a webchat becomes too long or overly complex it is likely to be abandoned by the customer – Research shows that sales triple if these chats can be handed to voice efficientlyl There is an expectation from webchat customers that if they switch channels (i.e. move from chat to voice) then the new agent will be aware of the webchat. This means that there is a need for seamless hand-offs between webchat and voice – this is unlikely to happen in there are separate providers.

 “Canned” Responses

Webchat agents tend to have a library of “canned” responses which save time, but can sound impersonal. . If done badly customers will ask “Are you a real person?” If this sort of response crops up regularlry, then there is a problem with your canned responses. Consider reviewing them and making sure that they are in line with your customer demographics.


Telephony agents are monitored and assessed in most contact centres. Make sure you do the same for your webchat agents.

It is very easy to coach webchat as you can just walk around the agents, read the chats, and coach as you go. Team leaders can also view chats in real time and “whisper” to the agent if necessary. I recently spent a day coaching a webchat team and increased profits by $50.000 a week with only one day in the office.

Language is everything.

Without the benefit of hearing or seeing the webchat agent, words become critical. Agents can inadvertently damage rapport by writing something that is interpreted by the customer as a rebuff – for instance “You are not eligible for….”. Whilst this phrase is technically correct – it kills a webchat. Telling the customer what other offers they are eligible for, would be more effective!

I hope you found this blog interesting - please feel free to contact me if you would like to know more at

Chapter Two - coming in time for Christmas.......


One Response

  1. Worthwhile considerations

    Very good points.

    I would suggest, however, that proof-reading plain old text content is also required. The four typos I noticed took some of the polish off the post.

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