When a web “chat” experience is not a “chat” experience

The increasing use of web chat as a way to introduce a human component to an on line experience continues to frustrate me. ¬†Why? ¬†Because it is too often seen as a cheap alternative to actual voice and as a result companies seek to make it ‘cost effective’ that means that the person you are chatting to has multiple conversations in play at any one time, they are juggling us in the same way that you would have to keep putting people on hold if you had twenty people that you were ‘talking’ to at the same time!!

Those pregnant pauses between you typing and the reply coming through make it feel stilted you begin to wonder are they still there…ask yourself the question what is the average wait time between you typing and the person replying – it doesn’t feel like a real time conversation rather more like they are on the moon and it takes a time delay before the next interaction.

This was really brought home to me in a recent “web chat” where the language used by the person I was ‘talking’ too absolutely confirmed this view – even the person on the web chat thinks that they are actually on the phone to you otherwise why do they say “thank you for holding” not something you would say in a a real live conversation…would you???

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