CIM Forum Opens Doors to New Members

When designing a Web page, where exactly should one place the icon to let the consumer know Live Chat is available? On the home page? In the service section? Should that icon be flashing? What color should it be?

Believe or not, a group of executives spent at least half an hour of earnest conversation on these fine details of chat entry points and the business use case around them in a session held at theCIM Forum.

The group was launched a year ago by nine companies seeking to establish best practices for Customer Interaction Management technology — AOL, Dell, Microsoft, Sprint, IBM,Talisma,Epson,Outsell and Pitney Bowes. Now, it is opening its doors to any company that wants to join, says Jim O’Farrell, vice president of Marketing for Talisma, which co-sponsors the forum along with IBM.

Its focus is also expanding, he told CRM Buyer, to include anything having to do with proactive interactions — such as proactive campaign management or proactive VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

Enterprise Chat Questions

The group originally formed as some of the founding companies — AOL and Dell, in particular — were seeking information on best practices and industry service level metrics for enterprise chat. “They were reaching out to consulting firms for this information but weren’t finding much,” O’Farrell said.

The CIM Forum began without fanfare, with the members committing to meet bimonthly to discuss specific topics, which were recorded, transcribed and eventually developed into white papers.

Along with its announcement that it is opening its membership to the public, the CIM Forum has released its first white paper: an analysis of best practices, performance management, key metrics and technical infrastructure for enterprise chat.

Service Level Metrics Established

Based on the group’s experiences, the average speed of answer on Live Chat is 60 seconds for customer service, tech and product support, and concierge service, and 15 seconds for reactive and proactive sales support.

The average conversion rate is 33 percent for reactive sales processes and 10 percent for proactive sales.

The average first time resolution rate is 65 percent for customer service, 50 percent for tech and product support, 90 percent for concierge service, 50 percent for reactive sales and 90 percent for proactive sales.

As for the nuances of chat entry points, the consensus is that it all depends on the business use.

For a retail operation, for example, “you want that chat session icon to be flashing,” O’Farrell said.

For a service operation, “you’d want it to be somewhere in the workflow after a customer has gone through the self-service session and needs some help.”

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