Our readers answer your webchat FAQs… From how many webchats an agent should handle to what to do when a customer isn’t replying.
How many webchats should an agent handle at any one time?
Most agents are expected to handle 3 webchats simultaneously.
- The volume of concurrent chats depends on the complexity of the chat query. – Matthew
- I think that you should cap your agents at 1-2 to ensure quality and provide the best experience. – Caley
- We’re planning on having a maximum of 2 concurrent chats when we introduce webchat. – Colin
- It depends on the complexity of the chats and the swiftness of the interactions. But we have found that 2 chats is the best for keeping our agents fully engaged in the conversation. – Mike
- My team will often deal with 3 at a time, but on the continent their colleagues will handle 5 at a time. – Ryan
- To be able to give good customer service while taking the complexity of the chat into consideration, we find that 3 is a good number. – Carly
- Only 2 if the queries are at all complicated. If they are simple, a maximum of 4. – Dan
- It varies by agent capability – regarding typing speed and the speed of your CRM tool. – Neil
- We once tried to accept 8 chats at a time – and managed to resolve all of them with the highest quality. – Yana
- Incoming volume, agent experience and the technology you have in place are all factors which will impact how many webchats can be handled simultaneously. – Paul
- If the customer becomes dormant for a period of time, this can give agents the opportunity to pick up an additional chat. – Charlie
- Some agents are more technically minded and used to multi-tasking. – Faye
- An agent can only make one phone call at a time, whereas 3 chats can be started simultaneously. – Ben
Should you blend webchat with other channels?
- Our agents have to accept calls, chats and emails simultaneously so multitasking is quite important for us. – Yana
- We prefer our advisors to work only on webchats. But when the need arises (assuming volumes are low) they are multi-skilled and can do it all. – Angela
- We find that automated responses work well as a first point of contact. The agent can then step in via webchat if the customer needs additional help. – David
- We plan to blend email with chat. – Jonathan
- It is difficult for our agents to manage a phone call and webchat at the same time. – Janet
- When trying to blend webchat with other channels, it is advisable that you ask your customers to complete satisfaction surveys after each interaction. You can then monitor how many are completed with a high satisfaction rating – and alter your channel blend accordingly. – Amy
- Our supplier has suggested that we should not blend any of our channels together – not even 2! – Faye
- We blend chat, email and telephony in our contact centre. But an agent will only combine two of these at a time – never all three. – Ryan
- Average Handling Time usually goes up in keeping with an increase in the number of chats an agent handles simultaneously. That’s what we’ve found. – Lisa
How long should a customer wait for a webchat agent?
- We always make a point of responding as soon as possible, even if it is just to let the client know that we are going to get them the answer. This helps to keep them on the other end of the line without getting bored. – Darryl
- To avoid a wait time at all, chat should only be offered when agents are available to deal with any webchat instantly. – Charlie
- Pinging out automated responses can guarantee a customer gets an immediate reply. – David
- We aim to answer each chat within a 15-second period. – Darryl
- If nobody is available, we have the option that they can type their query and it then comes into our CRM system for us to answer as an email. – Amy
- I have waited for over 30 minutes for a chat session. It is a free service after all. – Charlie
What do you do when a customer isn’t replying to a chat?
- We have a ‘time out’ where if we don’t hear from the customer in 1-2 minutes, we give them a message that reads “it looks like you’ve left the chat”. – Lisa
- We use a standard of 60 seconds and then 30 seconds. If there is no response, we send an email to the customer (the one they use to log onto the chat session) with a contact number, or alternative methods of communication. – Louis
- We have auto messages that are sent if a client doesn’t send a chat for a long period of time, before we eventually disconnect. – Darryl
- We allow ten minutes, as some of our customers are often doing other things whilst chatting. If the customer expects to be able to wait, then wait we will. – Ryan
- Chats are terminated by agents after 3 minutes, if no response is received from a customer. – Yana
- We send a message after 5 minutes asking if we can help, then 2 minutes later we close the chat. – Kate
- A good internal measure for chat to check on customer experience is periods of silence. You should, however, only use this as an indicator, as there will be occasions when the agent asks the customer to perform some diagnostics and the customer may respond with OK whilst they perform the diagnostic. – Simon