For real-time communication using text
This is a type of online chat where users type their query into a ‘chatbox’ and get a response in real time. This response can come from a human, or a chatbot, or a combination of both.
It is often seen as simple and accessible as users do not need to download any software, or install updates.
The chatbox is usually integrated into the organisation’s website.
If you offer a webchat facility it is important that the users have a real-time response. This means you need to have someone available to respond, or a chatbot that offers a high quality service.
Most tools will let you only show the chatbox when you are able to respond. You can then replace the chatbox with a message about other contact channels or opening hours when the service is not available.
It is important that your users and responders are clear about the remit of the webchat. To offer high quality experience for your users you should resolve their queries via the chat, or handover to other services if your team cannot help.
Record of discussion
You need to consider if your users can access the service anonymously, and whether you will maintain records of what has been discussed. If you are storing data then users will need to give informed consent to let you do this. See the section on safety and security for more information.