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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Learn about topics ranging from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Note: Monday Productivity Pointers is currently on a break, but stay tuned for new tutorials!
Hi there, I'm Jess Stratton. And welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. Last week we talked about writing a customer service letter to file a claim. Well, an alternative to writing a letter or calling a customer support line on the phone, is using a live chat button on the company's website to type your grievance with a customer support rep on the other end. This can be a great way of solving your consumer issues. And I'm going to tell you a bit about why you might want to start doing it this way if you haven't done it already. So, let's talk about some reasons to try it out.
We'll start with some pros. Sometimes, on a website, you just can't find the company phone number. It could be buried. Or maybe they just have a form to fill out and you don't want to do that. But, they could have a big, click-here-to-chat button. So, why not? It's usually very easy to find on the website, so, it's a good starting point. It's also a matter of reading something versus listening to something. Me, personally, I know I do much better when I have something to read in front of me, rather than having a voice in my ear. Also, while there can be wait times for chats, which there certainly could be and usually are, they're generally less than a phone wait time would be.
Also, when you do an online chat you're connected directly to somebody. So there's no telephone menus and there's no dropped calls and them not knowing your phone number to call you back. Also, your going to get instant results. There's no sending an email, and waiting to hear back. Your going to have a solution at the end of the chat. And yes, that certainly happens on the phone too. But here's another really great pro. With a chat, you're going to get that outcome in writing. So how many times do you get promised something on the phone and there's no record of it for you to refer back to? And then when it doesn't happen, there's another phone call and you're trying to explain to somebody what that first rep said and you have no idea who that rep was and there's nothing in writing.
Well in a tech support chat window, you can copy and paste the text to keep it for your records. And you can even paste it into an email if you need it later for any reason. A lot of times, they'll actually have a copy and paste button right there in the chat window, just so that you can do that. It's worth it just for that alone, to get it in writing. Also, when you're typing something out, you don't have to deal with any confusing alphabet sounds. There's no more spelling things out on the phone, D as in David, Alpha, Foxtrot, Zulu.
You're typing so it's right there for both parties, both you and the rep to look at. The neat thing is too, an added bonus, is that you can also copy and paste things right into the chat window. Like order numbers, and hotel confirmation numbers. So there's no wasted time. You can paste it right in. There's no confusion, there's no translation errors. So I already talked once about how there can be a little wait time, though not as long as if you called on the phone. This is because the customer service rep is most likely handling multiple issues at the same time which they definitely couldn't do if they were on the phone.
This is also why some times there's a little delay in between when you type a message and when they respond. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what they're doing and why it's taking them so long to respond. But here's the thing though, that chat window will usually make a little ding noise when the other person responds. So this gives you the ability to keep working in another window, even while you're chatting with the rep. You just need to make sure that you kept your speakers on. So I saved my favorite reason for the end. It's just quieter this way. So, there's no way around it.
Customer service can take some time. And when you're on the phone, it can be hard to make sure that an entire household is quiet for that duration, especially if there's kids. But with a chat, it doesn't matter. You can even stream your favorite song and listen to music in the background which definitely makes customer service issues as pleasant as they can possibly be. It's kind of like getting to choose your own hold music. So now that I've sold you on the pros, we do need to talk about some cons. Now, one thing is, is that it's very hard to tell if you're talking to a real person or a robot.
Now either one is fine. The end result is the same. But keep in mind that even though it sounds like a real person it might not be. Also remember, we talked about how it could take a while for the other person to respond to you, because they're juggling multiple support calls. So this is one reason why I said earlier that even though there's a wait time it's far less than it would be if you call on the phone. So, I already put it in the pro section but I have to be fair, it's a negative two so I put it in the con section. Finally, you may be the type of person that just needs to hear somebody speaking on the phone rather than reading what they're saying.
You also might be the type of person that can articulate your issue better if you're speaking it, rather than typing it out. So it's a speaking versus typing, and a reading versus listening. At the end of the day, of course, I'll see this in every video, there's no right or wrong. You need to do what works the best for you. But hopefully, I've given you some good reasons to try it, if you haven't already.
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