https://governmentasaplatform.blog.gov.uk/2016/01/28/discovering-web-chat/

Discovering web chat

Speech bubble 'How can I help you?'
We’ve been looking at how cross-government platforms could improve the way people communicate with government. We’ve seen an increasing number of government services offering, or looking to offer, web (or live) chat as an alternative contact channel for their users. So, we’re starting a 4 week discovery project to see if there are common needs across government and how we might help meet them.

We want to look at how existing services are using web chat, how well it’s meeting user needs and what the opportunities there are for increasing its usage across government. That might take the form of a service pattern, a set of user interface elements, or a common platform. We don’t yet know, which is why we need to do a discovery.

If your government service lets users communicate with you by web chat, you have plans to, or would consider it, please let us know.

3 comments

  1. Comment by Mike Thomsett posted on

    I'm interested to know whether the 'webchat' channel is part of a much broader plan to create government customer services as a platform. Given the vast range of contact generated over phone (c695m calls per annum i read) & Email, i believe there is a huge potential to improve the way the general public feel about our internal services by offering a platform for departments to pick from that offers a range of channels for communication, designed to enable self service, predict contact before it arrives and proactively create the lowest cost and preferred communication path in order to manage budgets.

    At c55m customers, government has the largest LIVE customer base in the UK after all.

    • Replies to Mike Thomsett>

      Comment by Chris Heathcote posted on

      Hi Mike

      We're not looking at customer service in general at the moment, although web chat could be the start of investigating this. For web chat, we found the costs to be mainly integration of the chat system with current internal processes and support systems rather than the web chat software itself, so I don't currently think it's worth building a centralised web chat platform. We are however encouraging teams running web chat support around Government to share their experiences more and learn from each other.

  2. Comment by Timothy posted on

    I think the web chat is a great idea, especially for someone like me who finds it hard to talk to people that I do not know over the phone. It is quite quick as well. I needed to trace my NI number a few weeks ago, 5 minutes and it had been sorted.