Am I getting the undivided attention of a live-chat rep?
January 13, 2017 10:36 AM   Subscribe

The slower-than-anticipated response time (even for non-technical questions) leads me to conclude that the live-chat rep I am working with is dealing with multiple customers. Is this the case, or are there aspects of a chat rep's job that I am misunderstanding or unfamiliar with.

I do my best to not be the source of any delay, even to the extent of typing out my questions in a Word doc so that I can quickly copy and paste into the chat dialog box.
posted by John Borrowman to Technology (11 answers total)
No, you're not getting their undivided attention. They work with multiple customers at a time. This makes chat much more cost-effective than phone support (with an added benefit that people like myself who hate talking on the phone actually prefer it).
posted by primethyme at 10:41 AM on January 13, 2017 [10 favorites]

I've answered a similar question before here. But tl;dr you're not the only one talking to that chat rep at a time. They may be on one or two other chats, or they might be talking to 5+ other people simultaneously.

Support can be soul-crushing work to do. Please be patient and kind.
posted by sleeping bear at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2017 [20 favorites]

Good news is that they aren't sitting idle waiting for you to talk so you don't need to put pressure on yourself to pre-typed answers in Word (unless that help you get your thoughts together)
posted by metahawk at 10:52 AM on January 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

They are definitely dealing with multiple other customers, which is why the company is offering live chat support in the first place.
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:49 AM on January 13, 2017

I do live chat and frequently am dealing with multiple customers. Some might be slow responders or I might have more than one customer with in-depth questions talking to me at the same time. For undivided attention or complicated inquiries, your best bet is a phone call.
posted by angelchrys at 12:28 PM on January 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

[Couple comments removed. Let's keep this to answers to the question asked, folks, and avoid lapsing into, uh, chat.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:32 PM on January 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

At my small company there is rarely more than one customer chatting with us at a time, but we are often doing other aspects of our jobs while waiting for responses from the customer we are chatting with.
posted by freezer cake at 2:07 PM on January 13, 2017

Some of them are AI chatbots now.

Google "customer service chatbot."

I was on with one of them and didn't realize it until my partner pointed it out.

It made me feel quite silly about all the politeness I worked hard to convey.

This probably makes it harder on the human customer service reps. They may not realize their real job is to train the AI until those take over.

For a real frisson, read this article about AI
posted by metaseeker at 2:19 PM on January 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

Never been a CSR but I've done a lot of chat reference work as a librarian and we frequently had two chats going at the same time (two was the limit imposed by my service).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:30 PM on January 13, 2017

At my company, we have a dedicated team of chatters that handle up to five chats at a time! They're all excellent multi-taskers, and they try to keep the flow of all conversations as best they can. To make things go a little bit easier, they have hotkeys for common questions and responses- boilerplate stuff, but all of the specific info is all them. I'm in awe of them daily!
posted by Krazor at 2:07 PM on January 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

A friend of a friend is a Verizon chat CSR, and she says she typically handles 15-30 at once, with the help of a chatbot and a LOT of hotkey-selected responses.
posted by dmd at 8:22 AM on January 17, 2017

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