August 27, 2004, 12:00 AM

Sharper Image ceases live chat

Sharper Image may be known for offering good customer service throughout its multiple channels, but live chat is no longer part of the equation. "It wasn’t the best use of our customer service reps’ time," the retailer says.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Sharper Image Corp. may be known for offering good customer service and a fun shopping experience throughout its multiple channels, but live chat on its web site is no longer part of the equation.

The retailer of unusual and innovative products ceased offering live chat as part of its customer service strategy on SharperImage.com after realizing that too many inquiries pertained to order status, information that customers can get through the site’s self-service features, a spokesman says. "It wasn’t the best use of our customer service reps’ time," she says.

By removing live chat as a customer service option, Sharper Image has freed up its agents to focus on more valuable inbound and outbound customer service calls that can contribute to increased sales and better customer relationships, she adds.

SharperImage.com lets customers check order status by clicking on the customer service link on its home page, then clicking a second link for order status. But the system is designed to escalate inquiries to a customer service call center for complicated questions, such as those that involve international shipping, the spokeswoman says.

 

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