handling live chat volumes

How to Handle a Large Volume of Live Chats

Ensuring that your customers can reach you in a click (or two) is crucial to offering great digital customer service and is what makes live chat such a popular customer support channel. However, the volume of chats you receive may get out of hand if you aren’t prepared. You don’t want your agents to feel bombarded with visitor inquiries, and right now, for many customer service teams, this is a bigger challenge than ever. 

To help you tackle a large number of customer queries, we have put together a list of best practices for managing high chat volumes so your agents can continue to do what they do best – have meaningful conversations with your customers.  

1. Reporting 

To address the problems associated with increased chat volume, you first need to understand when the volume is at its peak and agents are busiest. Understanding your chat traffic patterns will inform you how to adjust your resources accordingly. 

Your chat platform should provide reporting that will help with this. Here are some reports to look at when experiencing high volume: 

  • Chat volume report – this shows the total number of chats including the acceptance rate and chats that were missed or refused by agents. You’ll want to look at this closely by different periods, down to time of day. By knowing when your chat volume peaks, you can allocate more agents to this time, and less when chat volume drops. 
  • Workload report – this shows you how much of time your agents spend chatting compared to their available hours. If it’s too low at times, you may need to schedule more agents to this period so your queue doesn’t get too long. 
  • Chat source report – this shows what percentage of chats are initiated by agent, by visitor, and by auto-invitation. Looking at this data will reveal if you should consider scaling back your auto-invitations to help reduce chat volume. 

2. Prioritizing 

Everyone knows that some chats are simply more valuable than others. When you’re experiencing a surge in chat volume, you don’t want to be making your most valued customers wait. Here are some ways you can automatically prioritize chats with Comm100 Live Chat:   

  • Pre-Chat survey – you can make your customers fill in a short survey (or just a couple of fields) before they are routed to an agent, so the agent knows straight away how important that customer and their query are. 
  • Segmentation – you can segment your visitors by custom rules including location, purchase history, status (e.g. VIP) and which page they are on. When the customer then contacts you, a tag is attached to their query so agents are made visually aware before the conversation even begins. 
  • Routing – you can route visitors directly to an agent or department, manually, or better still, automatically with custom rules. This makes sure your customers always speak to the agent best suited to serve them. 

Recommended for you – 5 Key Customer Profiles Every Company Should Treat Like VIPs 

3. Screening 

Spam is everywhere, so you need a live chat platform that can identify and remove it all. Comm100 can easily separate the good from the bad with: 

  • Ban lists – you can ban visitors who you’ve previously verified as spam from connecting with you on live chat again within the agent console. 
  • Visitor SSO – Visitor Single Sign-On lets you limit who can access your live chat. For example, non-logged in visitors can be made to fill out a pre-chat survey before chatting, while logged in customers go straight to an agent. 

4. Deflecting 

Very often, customer queries are not complex and agent time is used up having to deal with simple issues and FAQs. When this happens, you can use live chat to deflect these visitors to: 

  • Knowledge base – before a chat begins, you can present the knowledge base within the chat window or direct them to a page, encouraging your visitors to search for the answer themselves. 
  • Chatbot – A chatbot can serve as the first line of support, answering all simple visitor questions on its own. If a query becomes too complex and the bot can’t answer, it can be automatically routed to an agent. 

5. Increasing Speed & Efficiency 

While you always want to ensure your quality is never sacrificed for speed, at times like this you need to make sure that your agents are working as efficiently as possible. Here are two key tools your agents can use to resolve issues quickly, but still accurately. 

  • Canned messages – You can set up canned responses for greetings, frequently asked questions, chat sign-offs, and much more. This saves your agents the effort of repetitive typing, as well as helping to prevent typos and spelling errors during chat, significantly improving chat efficiency and enhancing professionalism.  Read more about Canned messaging here
  • Agent Assist – While your agent is chatting to the customer, Agent Assist is monitoring the conversation, interpreting the questions being asked, and then suggesting answers to your agent in real-time from your Knowledge Base, canned messages, and chatbot intents. Your agent no longer needs to spend time hunting for and typing out the answer, enabling them to handle more chats and giving them more time to focus on complex or sensitive issues. See Agent Assist in action here. 

Conclusion 

If your customer service team is experiencing high levels of chats from customers right now, don’t expect this to change any time soon! There is no need to panic though, nor begin hiring huge numbers of customer service representatives. Comm100’s Live Chat platform is set up to deal with the peaks and troughs that come with customer support and help you keep your operational costs to a minimum (and yes, your agents can use it remotely!). 

Free Download: Avoiding Chatmageddon - How to Handle High Chat Volume

Free Download: Avoiding Chatmageddon - How to Handle High Chat Volume

Read this eBook to learn all the key tools and strategies your team needs to handle a high volume of live chats, from maximizing agent efficiency, to routing queries across departments.

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About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Specialist at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.