I’ve had the opportunity to begin leading a new live chat initiative at Automattic with a few other awesome Happiness Engineers and thought it might be worthwhile to post some thoughts. Live chat support is a big push within Automattic this year as we strive to give our customers the best and fastest method of support possible. We’re starting off slow, but hope to ramp up as the year goes on.
Live chat support is very exciting since it’s an almost immediate way to help users, where as they may have to wait hours or even days in extreme cases to get help via email. As long as there are enough happiness engineers online to handle the volume, users can expect quick response times and fast follow-up replies from those helping them. It’s is also preferable to email because the issue is usually resolved once the chat is finished, whereas email correspondence could take several emails to resolve an issue, often spread over days. In rare cases we may need to follow-up with the user via email if their issue can’t be fixed immediately, but that’s easy enough to do and doesn’t disrupt the flow of incoming chats too much.
The rapid fire nature of live chat support can be a bit overwhelming at first, but everyone adjusts quickly and once they’re up to speed on the tool and feel confident in giving answers, we can all handle 3 or more chats at once with relative ease. It definitely helps to use a tool like TextExpander to have some general replies and links ready to go, but I generally wouldn’t recommend having large blocks of text as snippets since the conversation then begins to lose its informal feel.
All in all, this has been a great experience, and I look forward to expanding it even more as the year goes on. We’re already planning a live chat focused meetup later this year so we can brainstorm how to refine and improve our current setup. If you have questions or comments about what we’re doing, I’d be happy to receive those. The best way to get in touch with me is via Twitter.