Why did we stop giving tech support through chat and how did it help us to get more 5-star reviews?

Aravind Ajith

Tue Apr 07 2020

Don’t get me wrong, we still love chat support. It helps us to make decisions easier and is a great tool in sales and marketing. Last week it was a chat conversation that helped me to choose the suitable hosting platform from a new hosting company I was planning to give a try for a long time. Many believe that implementing customer chat on your business website is a powerful tool and it can greatly impact the customer experience.

As a company that cares so much about customer experience, we too had adapted the trend and implemented chat support on our website from the beginning. After trying many other chat services, we settled with Facebook Messenger two years ago. Subsequently, we started getting a lot more queries and the clients started to feel more comfortable and closer to us than ever before. Yes, it was all going great.

Where did it go wrong then?

Well, the chat support was working quite well for our sales and project management services. So naturally, when we launched our products – the WordPress pluginswe began providing tech support through chat. That’s where it all went wrong!

Just because something works for one purpose doesn’t mean that the same will work everywhere, right?

We found that providing chat support for tech issues was inefficient and it was not satisfying or boosting our customer experience.

In contrast, we were able to deliver valuable tech support only through a ticketing system. It helped us to serve the clients better with quick fixes and helped us to get some overwhelming reviews.

Realisation: Tech support is entirely a different kind of customer experience

In sales support, the support executives can be trained to answer every question since the inquiries will be mostly related to features of the product or services. Usually, these questions are asked by the customers to verify if the product or the service is ideal for them. Whereas, in tech support, you have no idea about the kind of questions the clients come up with. Especially when it comes to the types of products that we have.

Sales Support V/s Tech Support

The basic difference between the sales and tech support is; in sales, customers approach us to get some answers which we probably already know. On the other hand, in tech support, customers get in touch with us because they have an unexpected issue with our product.

In sales, customers approach us to get some answers which we probably already know

For example, the compatibility issues can be caused due to the theme the client is using- or an outdated server software- or some misconfiguration of another plugin – or literally it could be anything!

Most tech issues that are being reported are caused due to some kind of discordance of the plugin with the client’s website. And it could happen for a million reasons!

For example, the compatibility issues can be caused due to the theme the client is using- or an outdated server software- or some misconfiguration of another plugin. So literally it could be anything! Such issues cause a lot of confusion and chaos to the supporter. In most such cases, only an experienced developer would be able to find a solution to the issue, not a support executive.

Time-consuming Communication

The customer and the support executive need to respond to each other’s messages promptly. If this is not done, the whole purpose of the live chat feature is defeated.

More often than not, our team’s ability to support customers adequately was limited by one thing, a lack of context around their query.

The customer and the support executive need to respond to each other’s messages promptly. If this is not done, the whole purpose of the live chat feature is defeated.

When we were providing tech support through chat, every time the executive had to bug the developers to fix the issues and the user was put on hold.

More often than not, our team’s ability to support customers adequately was limited by one thing, a lack of context around their query. It was always a request for help without much information.

What is the user’s goal? Has he already tried to solve the issue himself? Which precise bits of information does he need from us at this moment? Most of the time, all these questions were unanswered which gave trauma to our support executives.

The always-distracted tech team

All these caused constant disturbances and distractions to our development team. As the client waited on the other end, we had no other way but to stop everything else to check the issues, which in most cases were caused by the things that were not in our control. That took a lot of effort.

But did it make the clients happy? In more than half of the cases, the answer was a clear NO, and we got some negative reviews for ‘slow response’ and ‘bad support’. We really cannot blame the clients for that. It was a major communication issue from our side after all.

We thought that the solution would save us but in turn, started causing great waste of time.

It is no secret that most customers do not enjoy being transferred which gives excessive pressure to the support executive to find out the information and solve the issue by himself.

The inability of the tech support executive to understand the customer’s issue and give instructions can spoil the relationship and prevent further communications.

It is no secret that most customers do not enjoy being transferred which gives excessive pressure to the executive to find out the information and solve the issue by himself. Depending on the number of chats you receive, being on chat makes it difficult to completely immerse yourself in other tasks for long periods which ultimately affects our productivity.

At Awsm, we have a dedicated staff member in charge of the customer services, who makes it her personal goal to answer each live chat within seconds. This means she is always willing to drop everything else to answer the chat within seconds.

Your tone can also be misinterpreted!

Many of the customers that we have are technically quite capable. So, asking our support executive to adhere to the script meant that customers were asked to repeat the troubleshooting steps or suggestions that they have already tried.

As a result, we received countless negative feedback from the clients conveying that asking them to try these steps again was an insult and a waste of time.

Ticketing System – Our saviour

Then we introduced the ticketing system that solved a lot of these problems.

In ticketing, there is no one on the other side waiting to ask you the scripted questions. Most customers leave maximum information they have at one go that will help us debug the issue faster.

Mostly, we would resolve the problem in one or two replies and that makes clients happy. Ticketing management software has brought a new level of excellence to our business.

So Is Chat support that bad?

Again, just because something works for someone doesn’t mean that the same strategy works for all. It is all based on what works for whom and what purpose.

We all learn and evolve, that’s how nature works. Since customer support continues to play an essential role in business success, we thought of sharing our experience.

So, what’s the best way to go about handling customer concerns according to you? Please write and share it with us. We would love to know about your experiences. ?