Want to chat?

ChatjRecently I’ve become a great fan of online chat when you need help.

I had to change my phone package a couple of weeks ago. Going into an O2 shop was a pain – ages to wait. Trying over the phone and going through the automated voice telling you to “press 2” for this and 3 for that drives you potty as you go round in circles. So I tried the online chat feature and found it to be so much more effective. I could even do whilst continuing with my work. When it reached a point when they said you need to speak to someone they could give me the right phone number and the right options to pick to get through quickly. My experience was a good one.

Then this week I was trying to solve a problem I was having downloading an Audible book. So again I chose the chat option. Once again the person at the other end of the fibre optic cable solved my problem. However in implementing the solution I accidentally closed off the chat window before he’d checked I’d sorted it. Then 5 minutes later I had a phone call asking if I had resolved it ok?! Not only did a I have a phone call it was from the same guy that dealt with the problem on the online chat! What amazing customer service (Audible is part of Amazon so I guess its what you would expect).

A missed opportunity

Yet if you go to any charity or non-profit website the option of online chat is not there to engage potential supporters (if anyone knows of organisations that do offer this please let me know) although several offer chat rooms as part of their service delivery. I’m not that surprised. But when engagement is what it now needs to be about I also think this is a missed opportunity say if you were looking into sponsoring a child, or setting up a regular gift, or simply enquire about ways of getting involved. These are the sort of thoughts that begin to strike you when you start to shift your mindset away from how to get money out of people to how to give them a great experience.

Of course you would need to have people equipped to answer questions and to be able to direct people to the different ways they could get involved – something you need to have in place anyway. And then there is setting up the hours that it would be available (although could be a great home working option and also I’m sure most people would accept a charity/non-profit is not going to run a 24/7 chat service). Hmmm it would need thinking through “what would our supporters want?” – not “what do we want from our supporters?“, and what sort of experience do we want them to have? Maybe one day it will be common place.



3 thoughts on “Want to chat?

  1. Hi Richard – I agree it’s a great tool and actually at Unicef UK we use this on our website to great effect – often capturing people who are reading a particular page and asking them if they need any help or would like any extra information. This has certainly led to securing donations – from foundations as well as the general public – as our supporter care team are really good about linking in to other teams when they spot an opportunity. You can give it a try at: http://www.unicef.org.uk/

    • Thanks for sharing Rachel. And fascinating, but not that surprising, it leads to donations from the likes of foundations too. Makes me think increasingly inbound communications, i.e. people coming to you vs responding to outbound communications and marketing, will be become as important. I’ll certainly give it a try.

  2. Pingback: Confessions of a fundraiser | ifundraiser

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