Strategy Is To Move Slowly In Introducing Chat

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Beginning this month, Affinity FCU's web page is going to get a whole new look, and the credit union's new Live Chat function is expected to boom-once members are allowed back into the chat room, that is.

"Right now, Live Chat is on the member support page, which you don't get to immediately when you come to the site," explained Susan Smith, e-commerce manager. "On the new site we're going to have a member support link on every page, so Live Chat is going to be a lot more visible. When we launch the new site, we won't have Live Chat on it at first, because we'd probably get a lot of 'Wow! New site!' comments from members instead of real questions."

Talking To Three People At Once

And that could be a real issue for the five-person chat staff, trained to help members via the real-time chat channel. Affinity's site license for Live Chat though Live Person is for three people, so no more than three of the chat staffers can be logged on to Live Chat at a time.

"Apparently, each one of them will be able to conduct three or four chat dialogues at a time," Smith noted. "I can't quite imagine being able to handle more than two conversations at once, but that's what they're capable of doing."

As a result, the credit union wants to avoid clogging up the Live Chat channel with compliments on the redesigned website, instead of using it for what it was designed for: to help members.

Expected To Be Popular

Smith said she wasn't sure how long Live Chat would be suspended but added she believes the feature will boom in popularity with the new site both because of the added exposure it will get with the member support link on every page ,but also because people may need some help finding things on the site if they were used to the old navigation design.

And soon there will be a few more features to find on the site, including online trading and e-statements. With its predominantly tech-savvy AT&T and Lucent members, being able to offer the latest technology is important, Smith observed.

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