The Alabama Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau website has an online chat tool on its media relations page. That may sound like a small thing, but not to writers working on deadline. I went onto their website recently to find a the name of a contact who could give me some information. Using the chat, I was able to get an answer from a real live person in about 20 seconds. Without making a phone call or sending an e-mail.
It also kind of blew me away that they thought of adding an online chat feature in the first place. The chat tools are common on consumer websites, but I have never encountered a live chat feature connecting writers and journalists with media relations experts.
It’s not going to change the world, but I think its a really good example of innovative customer service — of finding new applications for existing tools.
And, of course, I hope it catches on.