Live chat software has become commonplace in the customer service space and offers end-users a portal to get questions answered quickly, without having to leave the web page. I have found myself using live chat when I have random questions, but often I don’t give much thought to the agent on the other end. It is much different, and less personal, than other customer service interactions, where you are speaking on the phone or interacting with a representative in person. To get a better perspective on the agents behind the chats, I interviewed G2 Crowd’s own live chat representatives, Jenna and Travis, for their personal opinions and stories surrounding live chat.
How long have you been doing live chat support?
Almost a year.
Almost a year.
Do you ever get overloaded with chats and does that get overwhelming? If that’s an issue how would you suggest others handle it?
Yes, the most I think I’ve handled at one time would be 9 or 10. And it gets extremely overwhelming trying to remember who is inquiring about what, and at what stage of the conversion you are with them. What would be nice is having the ability to flag certain conversations so you can follow up with them immediately, even if they get pushed down by new conversations.
We have certainly found ourselves in a position of being overwhelmed with conversations, but it is nothing that we can’t handle. Some days traffic trickles in and there are days where it is non stop and several pop up at the same time to address. Depending on the role you play in your organization, I have found that asking questions gives us time to tackle new chats and circle back to earlier chats. It is definitely a juggling act, but we’ve figured out how to handle the traffic.
When you are on other websites, do you find yourselves using their live chat support when you have questions? Do you do so more now that you have been on the other side of the chat?
Yes! I’ve always utilized chat, but now I find myself using it more often when it’s available. Although, I tend to avoid any chat that has a contact form before being able to talk with anyone. Our chat is open to anyone, and that’s what I feel most comfortable with. [It’s] always nice to speak with someone with direct questions.
Yes, definitely! I like to get my inquiry addressed and then will sometimes go back with different scenarios to see how the other end acts and responds. You can always learn something from other sites that use live chat software and pick up something new. So yes, I definitely take every chance I can to use a sites live chat.
Do you find that users are generally polite and grateful for your help?
If they accept our assistance, then yes, they’re usually thankful and generally surprised that we offer our help. Most ask if we have a fee for our service or what the catch is, generally skeptical of free assistance. No matter what you do, you’re going to find grateful users…and the-not-so grateful users.
Generally, yes. They certainly expect us to assist if we can, but we have seen the relief and joy when we explain how we can help them out. But the flip side is that we also see the nastier side of human nature. There have been numerous instances where I have to take over a harassing chat aimed at my colleague.
Do you have any stories about particularly nice users that you have assisted?
There was a user looking for some design software and I had a pretty lengthy conversation with him. I learned quite a bit about his entire life! He was just happy there was someone to shoot ideas off of and gather information from. His side job was woodworking, and he sold Harry Potter wands at fairs. He said he would send me one, but it hasn’t arrived at the office yet…
Jenna can speak to this more, but we have had a user that got a job because of our assistance and came back on to specifically thank us for our help. I have a personal five-star review on the G2 Crowd profile. We also have a woman that is very sweet and keeps coming back to our site to speak with me to help build her business.
What’s the craziest (appropriate) question you have received on live chat?
I have been proposed to a few times, so I have that going for me. And one person went back and forth with me singing Adele’s ‘Hello’.
We always get asked if we are a bot or a real person. I like to get creative in my response. For example, I ask them if they are a real person or a bot right back. Sometimes I tell them that I am a real human but I can get our company robot to speak with them if they would like. Sometimes I make robot noises in chat (beep, bop, boop, boop, beep). It’s the little things.
In your opinion, what are the greatest advantages of using live chat software, for those considering?
It’s such a great opportunity to answer questions quickly. Many users don’t want to get on the phone, or wait for an email response. Site users appreciate it, I promise.
I think from a business standpoint, it is the front line of defense…we are keeping our ear to the ground and can report back what a user is thinking or feeling or wanting. Usually once a week I am speaking with a department about something I heard that would elevate the user’s experience on our site or make someone’s life easier.