Efficient live chat agents can handle five or more chats simultaneously. Still, even the best live chat agent never knows when a new incoming chat request will be assigned to them in their live chat system.
In a survey of 2000 consumers, eDigital Research discovered that 64% of the respondents expect to wait one minute or less to reach a live chat agent (refer to Figure 1 – Data from eDigital Research).
Figure 1 - Data from eDigital Research
Essentially, consumers who use live chat never want to wait in queue very long for you to greet them and assist them.
Below are the two typical scenarios where you might keep customers wait:
- When a new chat request comes in
It’s important to respond and greet the new customers as soon as possible. Emphasize on the “as possible” part. For instance, if you’re already in the middle of typing a reply to an existing chat, do not abandon it in order to greet the new customer.
- If you need to leave a chat for more than 1 minute
Inform the customer that you will be away for a couple of minutes to gather more information or to find a way to better assist him/her.
Never stay away from the chat for more than 5 minutes, if possible.
Customers who use live chat usually will not wait on hold very long; so, check in often to let the customer know you are still working on his/her case or issue.
If you find that you are often overwhelmed by the number of chats you are handling, ask your manager or supervisor to consider lowering the number of concurrent chats you handle at any given time.
After all, providing the best customer experiences is the main goal, not how many people you can chat with at the same time. If you’re still having trouble keeping up, you may want to request additional training or support from management.