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Issue 30 - July 2017

Live chat pilot at FOS

In November 2016, FOS implemented Live Chat across its website and online dispute form to improve upon its customer satisfaction. It has become an increasingly popular method for organisations to communicate with people online.

Live Chat has allowed FOS to provide instant customer service by chatting with consumers while they decide on whether to lodge a dispute and/or work out how to do this. It has proven to be a good opportunity to provide useful information about what we can and can’t consider, and what information we need if someone decides to lodge a dispute.

So how does it work? It’s fairly simple: when a consumer is on the FOS website and is considering whether to lodge a dispute, or is in the process of lodging their dispute, they see a ‘live chat help’ button. Pressing the button connects them with one of our Registration Officers in a chat session. They can answer questions about FOS’s role, what disputes FOS can consider and how to complete the online dispute form.

To date FOS has handled more than 900 enquiries - achieving a 91% overall satisfaction rating, collected via post-chat surveys.

Some consumers have said:

  • ‘Good quick help enabling me to get on and submit form. Thank you.’
  • ‘Very friendly, patient and efficient service.’
  • ‘Excellent. Agent was not able to help me as I had contacted the wrong department but she pointed me in the right direction.’

In addition to increasing consumer satisfaction with FOS, there are some other benefits we’ve observed with Live Chat as a communication channel, including:

  • increasing opportunities for FOS to provide guidance on what information we need to consider a dispute, and thus improving the quality of the information we receive when disputes are lodged
  • increasing opportunities for FOS to let people know where we are not the appropriate service (e.g. because the dispute is clearly outside of our jurisdiction), and directing the consumer to the right place in the first instance, which saves time for the consumer, FSPs and for FOS.

Based on the success of adding Live Chat to our online dispute form, FOS is currently looking at options to extend the use of Live Chat to our online Statement of Financial Position form (used by consumers in financial difficulty to document their income and expenses).