Web Chat is a public service obligation

“Accessible” is a word weaved into our consciousness. For public services, “accessible” conveys a mandated duty to make sure as many people as possible can easily digest public service information. Public service websites and mobile apps should be accessible to as many users as possible.

Most people now choose to obtain information delivered to them through chat, for example via live person webchat, WhatsApp and other messaging applications. Webchat is quick and lets users ask questions at their own convenience and pace.

In 2019, 2.52 billion mobile phone users accessed over-the-top messaging apps. Additionally, 76% of UK smartphone users use text messages daily. (Source Statista). People even now directly tweet at companies with customer service enquiries – chat is how we communicate.

Public service websites and apps aim to deliver information to the widest audience possible. One of the most accessible forms of communication, chat with a live agent or chatbot, is something most public services have not yet invested in despite chat being the communication method of the masses.

The accessibility benefits of live chat are numerous. Some users struggle to navigate around websites, causing them to reach for the phone. Contact channels that use chat empower users, as users can ask what they want to ask in their own words. Having a 24/7 available automated contact channel would increase user satisfaction through reliable service and will reduce the load on call centres as it would be users first point for contact if available.

Webchat is a must for public services if they truly want to become more accessible and improve their user satisfaction. Conversational ai powered chatbots are the only cost-effective solution.

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