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Challenges with live chat

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#1   Posted: 26 Jul 2007 16:10

Hi All,

I am the CS manager at a start-up company in California.

We are a marketplace that specializes in remote work. Early on we offered live chat as a support option but after we experienced growth in the marketplace we ran into some major issues including:

1) Teaching customers to depend on chat- Since chat was a great way to get your questions answered immediately users would not utilize self help options and depended on chat for support
2) Scalability- Some chats could last 45 minutes or more and most questions were readily available in help docs

What are your views on live chat, where it is appropriate and how can companies use it so other more scalable options are utilized?


#2   Posted: 26 Jul 2007 17:23

I can give a customer perspective right off the top of my head. This was already a year and a half ago, but I did use chat to seek help from my ISP. And it took at least 45 minutes to solve something that seemed like it may not even have been a 15 minute conversation on the phone. I wasn't impressed by the experience at all, other than to see myself called Sir in writing about 30 times, although once is enough. Come on, I'm not talking to a butler--or a robot either. I am without full details on how delayed responses would not be a concern, but that is something that I thought would exist even before I experienced it as a customer. So I have never entertained the thought of incorporating chat as a communication tool into any of my services. I think that email sometimes has the potential to double communication installments (ie, you go back and forth 3 or 4 times with some customers), but I think chat opens the door to a lot of avoidable service issues, despite the fact that it seems like it would speed things up on the surface. I think chat works well in a professional setting that involves team members that want to connect with each other by remote (like project managers on site at an event communicating with home base, etc), but I don't see it as a professional solution for communicating with customers, consumer or business. It would take a decent sell to get me to see otherwise.

#3   Posted: 30 Jul 2007 02:01


I work in company which does online hotel reservation and we also have chat facility.
If you can setup the chat system in away that the customer has to enter his or her email address to log into chat then the representatives can email the answers to those email addresses.
In that away you have answered the customer query but it drag for a long time. And also introduce a Frequently Asked Questions... page so you can minimize the lot of chat sessions.

Hope this is will help you.


#4   Posted: 30 Jul 2007 09:47

From a customer perspective, there are pros and cons to chats.

The pros: it seems like you get through to someone faster.

The cons: constant misunderstandings - it's a lot harder to misunderstand each other than it is by voice. Further, it's super annoying when a customer sends a chat post, and doesn't receive a reply for a few minutes. What's the point of chatting when an issue takes 15 minutes to fix, that would take a minute or two by phone?

#5   Posted: 1 Aug 2007 09:45

What has happened to talking to someone on the phone....still the best way in my opinion to get a problem solved. There are no mis-interpretations from the chat or email written lines....there is no delay ...and the rep handling the call can make the customer feel important and cared about.

I hate email except for straight forward orders and communications. There is way too much back and forth and one can very easily mis-interpret the meaning or "tone" of a message.

Give me the old fashioned phone for quick, easy, personal and effective communications.

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