When I first moved to the small town of Belleville, Ont. from the big city of Toronto I was quite taken back by the small size of the town and the lack of job opportunities. For the first few months I became quite bothered until I happened upon a job where I could deal with customers from the States for the company Hewlett-Packard as a Tech Rep / Customer Service Representative.
The work was quite nice as I could talk on the phone with the customers and then type up the work orders, general inquiries, or complaints. I later received the opportunity to just communicate with the customers through emails and live chat.
That way of communication turned out to be not as efficient I found for more than one reason. The first problem was the time factor. If you were corresponding with an older person, you could pretty well guarantee that it would add an additional 20 min. type time to get the whole issue understood. Between the slow two finger typing, and the lack of knowledge of the computer system that they were trying to correspond with, the call was not going to be a quick fix.
Another problem I found with this form of communication was the lack of anything personable. With the phone chats I had learned American history from a retired army general, cooking tips from a grandma of 15, how to groom a poodle for a dog show, and the temperature of any city in the country I talked to. I looked forward to going to work everyday not knowing what interesting information I would absorb for the day.
I found my sales stats plummeted when I switched to just the Internet communication. On the positive side though, it is a quicker response time with live chat through the Internet. If you just had a quick question or concern, such as the status of delivery on your new computer, it is the ideal method.
So in conclusion, if I was to offer my advice, I would say a friendly and knowledgeable voice on the other end of the line would get my vote for the perfect form of virtual customer service.