One of the examples I tend to give where both telephone and IM can work together is when interacting with a support department.
My router broke over the weekend and rather than this being a painful and time consuming experience, it was actually quite pleasant and ultimately I got a resolution quickly.
It all started with me moving my router. For reasons unknown, this resulted in the router no longer being able to boot and manifested itself in a continuously flashing power light which I quickly discovered is a bad thing :-S. After looking on the Linksys website I came across 'LiveChat' where I entered in my details and clicked on 'submit request'. After 5 seconds I was greeted by an engineer on the other side of the chat screen :-). 5 seconds ... no 'green sleeves' hold music ... no 'You are 32nd in the queue' ... not even a 'press 8 if you have a problem with your router and you are currently wearing blue shoes'. Not having to wait in a queue was brilliant but perhaps the more subtle but important thing was that while he was typing and thinking, and while I was typing or running through troubleshooting steps, we could carry on with other work we were doing. Excellent and efficient usage of both our time and all-in-all a great experience.
Alas, this wasn't something that could be fixed over the phone so he suggested I call the support number so I kept him on the chat while I did this. After phoning the number and a short 'press 1 for router support' I was straight onto another engineer, again no 30 minute wait, no 'You are 48th in the queue'. While I was on the Live Chat to the first engineer I got my reference number and passed it to the person on the phone. After a short piece of troubleshooting they agreed to send out a replacement and hopefully I should be back to normal within a week :-).
What should we learn from this?
All in all, a great example of how combining traditional telephone support with other new modalities can make huge improvements to your business and how people perceive it.
Well done Linksys ... another happy customer!