Comcast is offering its customers live chats on the Internet to answer basic service questions, solve complaints, and sell new services, and the New England division expected to handle about 16,000 chats and another 11,500 e-mail messages in June, according to spokesman Marc Goodman.
Comcast launched the chat feature in New England last year (it’s now available across the country), and usage has grown steadily. Customers simply go to Comcast’s Web site, type in their names and the basics of their question or issue and are connected with a company agent at the Manchester, N.H., customer-care office.
It’s popular with customers, Goodman said, because customer service agents can often use technology to diagnose problems with customers’ set-top box, modem or computer.
“If you combine our e-mail and live chat inquiries, they make up about 5% of all the inquiries we receive of a technical nature,” Goodman said. “Our customer satisfaction surveys indicate that our customers who use the live chat option are extremely pleased with the service.”
Comcast likes it, too. The feature has helped reduce the number of truck rolls, which makes customers happy and saves the company money.
Online chats have been available from some companies since the late 1990s, but they have grown more popular over the last year as consumers have warmed to the idea of conducting vital personal communication online and via text messaging.
“We look at the live chat as another way for our customers to interact with us in the way that works best for them — whether it’s on the phone, through e-mail or via live chat,” Goodman said. “Our ‘Think Customer First’ philosophy guides every decision we make at Comcast, and we are constantly looking for ways to better serve our customers.”