In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
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More retailers are learning directly from customers how effective chat sessions are. Backcountry, for instance, routinely asks customers to comment on how Backcountry could improve its customer service. Each live chat session includes a built-in invitation in the chat window to fill out a brief exit survey, and the system automatically forwards to a supervisor any survey form on which a customer checked off having a negative chat experience. Though such cases are not common, Sherwood says, the supervisor in that situation would discuss with the agent what occurred during the chat and then contact the customer to work things out.
"We get one chance to make a problem right for a customer," Sherwood says, "and if we do it well, we'll get the customer for life."