eBook

Avoiding Chatmageddon: How to Handle High Chat Volume

Giving customers the ability to reach your support agents in a click (or two) can be a blessing and a curse. With live chat you can provide better customer support than ever before, but you also run the risk of bombarding your agents with more visitor inquiries than they can handle.

Long chat queues, slow response times, and unhelpful responses could have your customers thinking: “why do you offer live chat if it doesn’t help me?”. The whole point of live chat is to connect with customers, not frustrate them. To prevent this, we’ve compiled a list of best practices for managing high chat volumes so your agents can get back to doing what they do best: Having meaningful conversations.

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

Having too many chats isn’t a bad problem to have. In a perfect world, you would be able to give each inquiry the care and attention it needs. But you probably have a budget and a finite number of support agents at your disposal. During peak hours, your agents could be getting hammered by multiple emails, phone calls, and chat requests simultaneously. At times like this it’s important to prioritize the most important, time-sensitive, and complex customer requests over redundant and spammy ones. Fortunately, Comm100 offers many ways to help.

We’ve bundled them into four buckets:

Chatmageddon

REPORTING

Having answers to questions like:

  • When do chat volumes peak?
  • What percentage of chats are started via auto-invitations?
  • When are my agents at their busiest?
  • Can help you really understand your chat traffic patterns and adjust your overall live chat strategy. Comm100’s reporting and analytics suite provides invaluable insights that can get you out in front of problems before they start.

    Chat Source Report: The chat source report reveals how chats get started on your website. It breaks down the number of chats started by agents, visitors, and auto invitations. if too many chats are being started via auto invitation, you can easily tweak your auto invitation rules to reduce the amount.

    Chat Volume Report: This report shows the number of chats, chats missed, chats refused, and your overall acceptance rate. It is helpful to understand chat volume to know if there are any times during the day that your chat acceptance rate drops dramatically. If there are some periods with consistently high-quality chat volume, you could scale up the number of agents online at that time or simply make sure your most experienced and productive agents are on duty.

    Workload Report: Workload allows you to track and measure agent idle time. If agent utilization is too low at times, then there’s an opportunity to reschedule more agents to peak hours. Be careful trying to increase agent utilization; as any manufacturer will tell you a utilization rate of 100% is not necessarily the best, as it will cause more chats to go to the queue and potentially be abandoned.

    Comm100’s Chat Source Report

    Comm100’s Chat Source Report

    PRIORITIZATION

    When your team is loaded with more chats than they can handle, being able to efficiently prioritize your most important requests becomes crucial to avoiding chatmageddon. You don’t want to have left your most valued customers waiting because you were chatting with a spam bot. Here’s how to prioritize:

    Pre-Chat Survey: Requiring visitors to fill in a short survey prior to starting a chat can give your agents a head-start towards satisfying customer needs. Having information such as account number, issue type, or ticket number available can help route the chat to the appropriate department, identify “VIPs” with higher service needs, and decrease the number of questions it takes to get to the heart of an inquiry. It also creates a small barrier before visitors can initiate a chat, potentially discouraging people with inconsequential – or lazy – questions from taking up valuable agent time.

    Segmentation: Visitor segmentation is a powerful prioritization tool. Visitor segmentation allows you to visually identify a visitor by a set rules, like where they are from, how they navigated to their current page, and much more. Agents can then prioritize chats from more “important” groups ahead of those of “lesser” groups.

    Routing Rules: You can route visitors directly to the agent or department they need to talk to based on a flexible set of custom rules. Doing this eliminates the process of transferring the visitor to the right agent, or having a random agent attempt to troubleshoot their problem, saving time for both parties.

    Visitor Segmentation inside the Com100 Agent Console

    Visitor Segmentation inside the Com100 Agent Console

    PRO TIP

    Consider placing your chat button only on pages where immediacy is most needed, like a pricing or support page.

    SCREENING

    The ease of starting a chat can make you more susceptible to superfluous inquiries and spam. Using Comm100 you can easily separate the wheat from the chaff:

    Ban lists: Comm100’s ban list gives you the option to ban visitors who repeatedly start spam or off-topic chats. You can ban visitors by user ID, IP Address, or by range of IP Address to stop them from having access to the chat button on your site. Bans can be created and lifted from within the dashboard or created during a chat within the agent console.

    Visitor SSO: Using Visitor Single Sign-On or SSO, you can limit who can access your live chat. You have the option to limit support only to members who have accounts with you, driving account creation and reducing spam by increasing the barrier to starting a chat.

    Banning a Visitor from inside the Comm100 Agent Console

    Banning a Visitor from inside the Comm100 Agent Console

    DEFLECTION

    There are many times when a human isn’t needed to satisfy a customer request. Deflect visitors with simple requests away from your agents to reduce chat volume and prevent agents from having the same conversations over and over again to:

    Knowledge Base: Use a knowledge base to maintain answers to your most frequently asked questions. Visitors can be prompted to search the knowledge base before they begin a chat, allowing them to find the answer to their question without needing to initiate a chat. Yes, knowledge base can be embedded directly in your chat window for even easier access.

    Chatbot: A Chatbot can be your first line of support for handling simple visitor requests. A well trained Chatbot can field rudimentary questions while your agents focus on more complex support inquiries and sales opportunities.

    Comm100’s Knowledge Base Integrated into a chat window

    Comm100’s Knowledge Base Integrated into a chat window

    PRO TIP

    When no agents are online have chat window prompt visitors to leave offline messages instead of chatting. These messages can be addressed later when your team comes back online.

    THE WRAP-UP

    You’ve chosen live chat because you know it’s a critical customer service channel that more and more people want to use. You can deploy it all over your web site, in your mobile site, and even in your apps. Done right, your prospects and customers will quickly learn to take advantage of live chat’s easy access and effectiveness. As a result, you will need to be ready for the high chat volume that will soon come. Comm100’s powerful platform helps you understand where and when your chat volume occurs, prioritize important requests, weed out spam, and deflect simple inquiries so you don’t drown in a sea of live chats.