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By Alyssa Levitz. Updated: Dec. 22, 2020


One common channel for customer support is some form of synchronous online "chat." The National Association of State CIOs published a document about the broader use of chat by states during the pandemic; this document dives specifically into chats set up to support UI agencies: what types of chat do they use, and what are some of the best practices we see?
The target audience of this report is primarily state UI agencies that are looking to add or revamp their online chat offerings. Much of what is discussed here, though, is applicable to many other government use cases.

Here are some of our recommendations

  • Prompted chat in which users are guided through a series of pre-defined questions and answers is likely to be most effective, but whatever chat type you use: make sure to set users' expectations up front.
  • Accessibility is a key consideration for chat experiences and should be incorporated from the beginning of the process.
  • Use data to inform the initial set up of your chat experience, and make sure to have data collection in place to iterate and improve over time.
  • Your system should handle 15-20 questions or scenarios very well and have clear paths for people to find more information on other topics.