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Live Chat for Information & Referral Panelists: Shye Louis, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, Rochester NY Laura Zink Marx, NJ 2-1-1 Partnership.

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Presentation on theme: "Live Chat for Information & Referral Panelists: Shye Louis, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, Rochester NY Laura Zink Marx, NJ 2-1-1 Partnership."— Presentation transcript:

1 Live Chat for Information & Referral Panelists: Shye Louis, 2-1-1/LIFE LINE, Rochester NY Laura Zink Marx, NJ Partnership

2 Communication is migrating from voice to other channels The average U.S. mobile phone subscriber now sends and receives more text messages than voice calls. The average U.S. mobile phone subscriber now sends and receives more text messages than voice calls. -Nielson Mobile, September Nielson Mobile, September en_mobile_texting_vs_talking.html en_mobile_texting_vs_talking.htmlhttp://www.bizreport.com/2008/09/niels en_mobile_texting_vs_talking.htmlhttp://www.bizreport.com/2008/09/niels en_mobile_texting_vs_talking.html Instant Messaging is wildly popular, disproportionately so for younger age groups. Instant Messaging is wildly popular, disproportionately so for younger age groups billion messages per month (2006) 14.2 billion messages per month (2006)

3 Why add Live Chat? Are we in the Phone business ? Are we in the Phone business ? Or are we in the Helping business? Or are we in the Helping business? Panelist history/reasons for using Live Chat services Panelist history/reasons for using Live Chat services

4 Chat Keeps I&R in the Helping Business: Accessibility to inquirers is a core principle of I&R Accessibility to inquirers is a core principle of I&R Inquirers who are deaf/hearing impaired Inquirers who are deaf/hearing impaired Inquirers who have speech impairment Inquirers who have speech impairment Inquirers who prefer the medium to telephone Inquirers who prefer the medium to telephone Inquirers who do not have access to a phone but do have access to internet Inquirers who do not have access to a phone but do have access to internet Enhancement to public searching your website Enhancement to public searching your website

5 Common areas of concern about Chat: Can text adequately convey connection with the chat visitor? What is my centers liability? How do we handle emergencies that present via chat? What technology platform should I use? How much volume will we receive? How do I train staff to provide service online? How can I ensure I have enough staff to meet demand, without any new funding?

6 Mitigating Liability Disclaimers Disclaimers IT Security IT Security

7 Choosing Chat Software Cost One time On-going Security Ease of Use Ease of Installation and Set-Up Desired features

8 Choosing Chat Staff Not all staff are created equal when it comes to chat In addition to excellent I&R skills chat specialists should demonstrate: the ability to multi-task have the ability to work under pressure have strong written communication skills have strong typing skills preferably have previous experience using IM or other chat services.

9 Training chat staff Trained I&R Specialists Training Manual/Guidelines Software Training Practice Chats

10 Differences in Chat Tone of voice/inflections are not present Tone of voice/inflections are not present Increased importance on clear, concise language Increased importance on clear, concise language Discourages use of slang and humor Discourages use of slang and humor Need to read the communication style of your visitor and respond accordingly Need to read the communication style of your visitor and respond accordingly Chat segment style Chat segment style Chat length is generally longer than call length to cover the same material. Need to consider this when staffing chat Chat length is generally longer than call length to cover the same material. Need to consider this when staffing chat Takes longer to type than speak Takes longer to type than speak Chat culture – inquirers might be multi-tasking while chatting Chat culture – inquirers might be multi-tasking while chatting Expectation for chat staff different in terms of response time Expectation for chat staff different in terms of response time

11 Chat Process Identical to I&R Process Identical to I&R Process Listen Listen Assess Assess Action Plan Action Plan Close Close Active listening skills such as paraphrasing and reflection of feeling are still critical to having good contact Active listening skills such as paraphrasing and reflection of feeling are still critical to having good contact Opportunity to assist with online database navigation Opportunity to assist with online database navigation

12 Operational Decisions Availability Availability Hours of Operation Hours of Operation Managing queue of calls and chats Managing queue of calls and chats Multiple chats Multiple chats Use of chat slang, abbreviations and emoticons Use of chat slang, abbreviations and emoticons Canned Responses Canned Responses Information collected from chat visitors Information collected from chat visitors Documentation and reporting considerations Documentation and reporting considerations Promotion/marketing Promotion/marketing

13 Chat Dilemmas Out of service area/out of country chats Out of service area/out of country chats Prank chats Prank chats Opening links sent from chat visitors Opening links sent from chat visitors Contact from bots Contact from bots Repeat chat visitors Repeat chat visitors Suicide Emergencies and other emergencies – considerations in sending emergency services Suicide Emergencies and other emergencies – considerations in sending emergency services

14 Supervision and Evaluation of Chat Services Self-evaluation by chat staff Self-evaluation by chat staff Monitoring of chats in real-time Monitoring of chats in real-time Review transcripts of chats Review transcripts of chats Post-chat feedback survey Post-chat feedback survey

15 Chat Demonstration

16 Other National Chat Efforts to learn from/collaborate with: Veterans Crisis Chat Veterans Crisis Chat Homeless Veterans Chat Homeless Veterans Chat National Suicide Prevention Lifeline chat efforts National Suicide Prevention Lifeline chat efforts Contact USA Crisis Chat Contact USA Crisis Chat

17 The Future What else is already out there/coming soon? What else is already out there/coming soon? Texting Texting Integration with social networking Integration with social networking Video Video ??? ???


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