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New research published by ContactBabel, the contact centre industry analysts, reveals that 37% of UK contact centres now offer a web chat option to customers, a figure which has grown from 14% in 2011.

Web chat between customers and agents has risen from 0.7% of all inbound traffic to UK contact centres to 1.7% in the same time period (2011-13), a growth of over 140%. While still a niche channel in terms of customer take-up, a further 27% of survey respondents plan to implement web chat within the next 12 months, the highest planned uptake of any contact centre technology. "The UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers' Guide (11th edition – 2013)", is a major study of 210 UK contact centre operations, looking at all areas of contact centre performance, investment, technology, HR and strategy. It is available now, free of charge, from www.contactbabel.com.

The report's author, Steve Morrell, commented: "With the huge growth in online shopping, research and self-service, there is a need to offer customers and prospects a live service channel in cases where the browser needs assistance. Rather than forcing the customer to break channel by using the phone, or to wait for hours or even days for an email response, web chat offers a quick and flexible service option, allowing the customer to continue with what they were doing.

“The enthusiastic uptake of this channel by businesses will shortly be followed by widespread customer acceptance, as the public learns that web chat is well-suited to improving browsing and web self-service experiences.”

About ContactBabel and "The UK Contact Centre Decision-Maker's Guide (11th edition – 2013)"

The "UK Contact Centre Decision-Makers' Guide (11th edition – 2013)" is the major annual report studying the performance, operations, technology and HR aspects of 210 UK contact centre operations across all sectors and size bands. The result is the 11th edition of the largest and most comprehensive study of all aspects of the UK contact centre industry.

The full report, containing 333 pages and 137 graphs and tables, is available free of charge from the ContactBabel website (www.contactbabel.com/reports.cfm).

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