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A Guide to Implementing Live Chat

Publication date: 12/2011

Executive Summary

As a tool for interacting with customers, chat has been around for at least a decade, used largely for simple customer service and sales support applications. But a few brave pioneers in recent years have tried something new chat-based tech support. At first, the experiments were limited to support for low-end consumer products, where chat promised significant cost savings. But lately, a growing number of companies have tested chat as a way to deliver support for high-end and enterprise products.

And to almost everyone s surprise, customers seem to like the new chat support services a lot. We thought business users would think our chat service was just a toy, one support manager said. "Instead, we can hardly keep up with the demand. Everyone was shocked."

To be sure, there are also plenty of stories about failed chat initiatives, unexpected results (good and bad), and urban myths about metrics and costs. Chat penetration among support organizations is still sketchy and even fewer companies have more than a year or two of actual chat experience, so there s not a lot of hard data about what to expect.

To help clarify some of the most common implementation issues for this emerging support channel, the ASP surveyed software and technology-based companies about their experiece with live chat (as distinguished from less-common automated chat tools). We collected data from 118 respondents, and we also asked an open-ended question about what advice they would give a colleague who s thinking about implementing chat.

Topics include:
  • The Business Case
  • Customer Interaction
  • Growth Rates
  • Metrics
  • Success Strategies: Check Point Software
  • Success Strategies: EMC
  • Technology
  • A Peek at the Future

Copies of the survey are free to ASP members in the members-only area.

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Copies of the survey are free to ASP members in the members-only area.

Join the ASP | ASP membership info