Make your chats natural

I had an experience with Comcast‘s chat support a few evenings ago that I still keep mulling over. I’m not certain how much of it was scripted vs. improvised, but it felt somewhat awkward. As someone who spends time writing scripts for others to use when interacting with customers on the phone and via chat, I wanted to share my experience and suggestions.  (I have change the rep’s name as I’m not complaining about the level of service, just the awkwardness of the conversation.  And before you get concerned, the email address and password have already been changed.)  Here’s the full exchange…

Kevin > I just found out my Comcast email address is KMICALIZZI_658@comcast.net. I was originally an adelphia subscriber, how do I get a password assigned?
Beth > Hello Kevin_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Beth. Please give me one moment to review your information.
Beth > I am glad to have you on chat. I hope you are having a wonderful day, Kevin.
Kevin_ > thanks Beth!
Beth > You are welcome, Kevin.
Beth > I understand how frustrating this is for you not to be able to have your password. No worries, you have reached the right person to help you out. Your concern is my topmost priority for today.
Beth > I will be more than happy to assist you. Rest assured that at the end of this conversation, I will be able to provide you with your password, Kevin.
Beth > Are you still there, Kevin?
Kevin_ > I am
Kevin_ > I’m waiting for you
Beth > Before anything else, as a valuable customer of Comcast, we give importance to your privacy by ensuring the integrity of your account information. In order to do so, can you please provide me the following:
a. Full name of the Account Holder
b. Complete address
c. Comcast account number
Kevin_ > Kevin Micalizzi
Kevin_ > ******************
Kevin_ > ***************
Kevin_ > let me go grab a bill to get you the account number
Beth > Okay, Kevin. I can wait for you. Thank you.
Kevin_ > 8*** ** *** *****40
Beth > Thank you for the information.
Beth > While pulling up your account, how’s your day so far?
Kevin_ > it’s ok
Beth > That is good to hear, Kevin.
Beth > By the way, Kevin, are you a big movie and TV fan? Comcast now has the best free online streaming and extensive video collection of television shows, movies, trailers and clips online. For you to experience this great entertainment site please visit http://www.fancast.com/. Please check it out sometimes.
Kevin_ > That’s what I was checking out when I realized I needed my comcast email and password.
Kevin_ > I didn’t know I had this email address, I originally had Adelphia cable, which was bought by Comcast.
Kevin_ > 🙂
Beth > I see. That is great, kevin! I hope you will enjoy the site.
Beth > Going back to your concern, do you have a pen and paper handy with you? I will be providing you with your password. Please let me know if you are ready, Kevin.
Kevin_ > I’m ready
Beth > Thank you, Kevin.
Beth > password……………..wildlost
Kevin_ > ok, thanks!
Beth > Please take time answering the survey after our interaction. We greatly value your feedback for us to improve more on our service. You can do this by clicking on the “END SESSION” button and please don’t forget to click on submit.
Beth > Thank you for bringing Comcast to your home! Again, this is Beth. We appreciate your business and value you as a customer. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service. If you need further assistance, you can always reach us through chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Beth > Analyst has closed chat and left the room
Here are the places I would make some changes.

I understand how frustrating this is for you not to be able to have your password. No worries, you have reached the right person to help you out.  Your concern is my topmost priority for today

This part was awkward.  I would have opted for, “I understand how frustrating it can be to not have your password.  No worries, I can help you.”   Ditch the “Your concern is my topmost priority for today.”  We both know it’s not true.  I’m on the chat, I feel like I have someone who can help me, it’s not the time to make promises you don’t mean.  There were several pauses during the chat, which left me with the feeling this rep was helping others at the same time.  That’s fine, but it undermines the rep’s credibility to say my issue is their “topmost priority for today.”

I will be more than happy to assist you. Rest assured that at the end of this conversation, I will be able to provide you with your password, Kevin.

This part was probably not necessary at all.  The rep had just said they can help, it would have been better to move on to the account information needed to get the password reset done.  This part was also followed by a long pause, then “Are you still there, Kevin?”   I wasn’t really asked a question, so I assumed the rep was doing something on their end.  I was just waiting for the rep to tell me what comes next.  From calling into support organizations in the past, I was expecting to be asked for my account information.

While pulling up your account, how’s your day so far?

I was surprised by the question.  It seemed very personal.  Maybe it was just because communicating via chat removes all nonverbal cues, but I really wasn’t about to tell the rep about my day, good or bad.  It might have been better to say “Let me pull up your account information.  I hope your day is going well.”

By the way, Kevin, are you a big movie and TV fan? Comcast now has the best free online streaming and extensive video collection of television shows, movies, trailers and clips online. For you to experience this great entertainment site please visit http://www.fancast.com/. Please check it out sometimes.

It’s great Comcast is taking the opportunity to let people know about additional services. Personally if I had written this, I would have broken each sentences onto a separate line and ask the rep to send each with a brief pause in between.  Suddenly getting this much text interrupts the flow of the conversation and makes me feel like an ad just popped up.  Also, I would have ended with “Please check it out sometime.”

Going back to your concern, do you have a pen and paper handy with you? I will be providing you with your password. Please let me know if you are ready, Kevin.

This part actually made me laugh.  I don’t think I’m some super-tech-genius, but if I’m already at the keyboard chatting, I’m guessing I don’t need to run for pen and  paper.  We probably could have skipped this part too and gone directly to the new password.

Please take time answering the survey after our interaction. We greatly value your feedback for us to improve more on our service. You can do this by clicking on the “END SESSION” button and please don’t forget to click on submit.

The last few chat messages, starting with this one surprised me.  They appeared in my transcript, but must have been sent after I clicked END SESSION.  I would have said “Please take a minute to answer the survey you’ll see after our chat.” and “We greatly value your feedback to help us continue improving our service.” After the rep gave the password, I said “thanks” and expected some kind of closing message or something like “have I answered all your questions?”  I was excited to get going with my new password so when I didn’t hear anything for about a minute, I ended just the session.

Again, my goal here is not to criticize the level of support Comcast provided.  While experience could have been smoother, the rep handled my issue is less time than it probably would have taken to call in, get through the phone system, explain the problem to someone, and get it resolved.

From the tone of the rep’s language in the parts I’m guessing were spontaneous, I would assume there was some level of cultural difference.  The language sounded more formal than I’d expected.  There didn’t seem to be any difficulty communicating about the issue, just that the responses didn’t read as well as they probably could have.

The only  thing that actually annoyed me was that the rep used my name 11 times in our very brief exchange.  It was way too much.  If someone had done that in conversation, I would have assumed they were afraid they wouldn’t remember my name and were repeating it at every opportunity to memorize it.  In this case, there is a written transcript, so the chances of forgetting are very slim.  Yes, the sweetest thing is hearing the sound of your name, just not too much.

I have a few takeaways from the exchange:

  1. Always read your scripts/message text out loud.  Does it sound natural?  If doesn’t, rewrite it.
  2. No matter how well you script the exchange, some level of actual conversation is required.  It’s not possible to script every word someone would say in a conversation.  Train your reps well, periodically check for language, and continue coaching the reps to help them get even beter.

This has been a good reminder for me that I need to add my team’s demos to my calendar and join them more often to ensure the scripted parts are still relevant and to look for more coaching opportunities in the spontaneous conversations.  (If you’re interested, the team conducts Dimdim web conferencing demos every weekday.  If you jump into one, please take a minute to let me know what you think!)

-k

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4 Responses to Make your chats natural

  1. Excellent! I enjoyed your drill-down into elements of the conversation. Live web chat can be done very well and most of it can be achieved through training.
    .-= Casey Cheshire´s last blog ..Ensure a Human Pulse in Your Web Chat =-.

  2. Excellent! I enjoyed your drill-down into elements of the conversation. Live web chat can be done very well and most of it can be achieved through training.
    .-= Casey Cheshire´s last blog ..Ensure a Human Pulse in Your Web Chat =-.

  3. @Casey Cheshire Thanks Casey, I think your tweets about automated chat bots is the primary reason I was looking at this one so closely. 🙂

  4. @Casey Cheshire Thanks Casey, I think your tweets about automated chat bots is the primary reason I was looking at this one so closely. 🙂

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