Thanks largely to digitisation projects, our audience is now global and ever-expanding. In order to keep up with this, approximately a year ago we began trialling a new Live Chat service. This service is now part of our daily advice service from 11:00-15:00 GMT, allowing users anywhere in the world with access to the internet to connect with our advisers instantly.
As one of the ‘chatters’, Live Chat is one of the varied public duties I undertake each week. It is a great combination of the immediacy of a phonecall and the useful links that can be sent over email. It allows us to instantly point users to relevant parts of our website and know they are looking at the right page – a far cry from explaining step by step over the phone, or even by letter.
Yesterday, for example, I spent two hours answering chat enquiries with some colleagues. We had questions ranging from finding a First World War medal card, for which I could carry out a simple search and send the exact link, to an in-depth query on tithe maps for which I sent the user a link to our research guide. We helped with a series of quick research questions that saved users time and effort sending in emails or making long phonecalls.
We have received overwhelmingly good feedback on the service so far, so we hope to continue to expand in the future. One of the best has been from a deaf user who can now interact with advisers instantly.
You can join the ‘chat’ anytime Tuesday – Friday between 11:00 and 15:00 GMT by following the link on our contact us page. Give it a go!
Naturally, I couldn’t leave my blog without a nod to a relevant record, and although this may be a tenuous link, the basic warning still applies in the world of the online chat ‘service’!