Chat as a communication means is not as synchronous as a voice call. The responsiveness of an individual wanting to engage in a chat cannot be controlled. This introduces challenges in efficiency of operation while integrating Chat into the distribution scheme of a Contact Center ACD. In a multi-channel environment within the contact center, Chat can be treated on par with telephone inquiries. This makes Chat an equally expensive channel to man and run in comparison to web self-service options.
Skills Based Routing is critical to the efficient distribution of calls within a contact center operation. An advanced ACD like Q-Suite can queue and distribute different media like Voice, Chat and E-mail. The ACD is responsible for queuing, routing and the distribution where as the respective media servers handle the actual media. Chat and E-Mail as they come in, are inserted into the appropriate queues through the API. Once in a queue, the distribution is driven by skills, skill levels, availability and service level escalations.
With voice calls, the start and end points of a conversation are crisp and there is control over the interaction time. Chat on the other hand cannot not force the other end to be responsive in a timely fashion. This increases the complexity of interaction and makes it a more expensive service to run if Chat is treated on par with Voice. With Voice, we have the “Music On Hold” to retain the caller before routing the call to an available agent. The Chat users are web based and can easily go away to something else unless there is an immediate response. Even when engaged, they can be multi-tasking and consuming the multi-channel call center time. Therefore an individual Chat can be a more expensive channel when than a voice channel.
Advanced contact center solutions will offer the ability to deliver multiple chats to an agent to make better use of their time. This strategy works well only when there is a constant flow of concurrent chats. The wrap-up of concurrent chats will end with the wrap-up of the last chat with an associated time-out. It is important to have a good strategy to handle Chat based on the volume and the relative value of the communications.