November 26, 2011, 3:10 PM

Text, don’t talk

There are times when a text chat is the best way to get help, says Alexander Sienkiewicz, chief marketing officer. “In a noisy environment,” he says, “the phone may not be the best way to reach customer service.” 

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SwimOutlet.com knows customers may need help finding the right swimsuit, and so the e-retailer added live chat to its mobile site this year. A shopper taps the Live Chat button on the home page to start a chat, types her name and selects a topic, such as product information. The shopper’s comments and those of the agent appear in text balloons on the screen. The feature tells the consumer the wait time until the next chat agent is available. The shopper even can hide the chat browser window to visit another site; an alert bar on the SwimOutlet.com site flashes when a chat agent is ready. There are times when a text chat is the best way to get help, says Alexander Sienkiewicz, chief marketing officer. “In a noisy environment,” he says, “the phone may not be the best way to reach customer service.”

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