Customer Service Software

An Emerging Difference Between Phone and Chat Customer Support

Published by in CRM

Our support staff here at PhaseWare has learned from our clients that there can be a big difference between phone support and live chat support. I looked for some additional information but using chat for complex customer support is still relatively new, so there wasn’t much to go on.difference between phone and chat customer support

Apparently, customers who prefer live chat over phone support tend to keep the channel open longer than a typical phone support call. These customers want the issue fully resolved without having to come back to support and start all over again. And they don’t want a quick exchange and get back in touch if they need more help, they would rather keep the channel open while they implement the suggested steps and test it out.

This means that the chat channels may be open for hours with very little interaction. To successfully cope with multiple chats the CSRs must have incredible multitasking and memory skills to work with more than one customer simultaneously. And if a chat stays open to another shift, the support desk needs an easy yet comprehensive way to pass information to the next shift so that the support effort remains on course.

At the best, the customer shouldn’t even notice a shift change has occurred. At the least, even if customers can tell there is a different CSR on the chat, they absolutely should not have to explain their problem again or be asked to repeat steps they have already tried.

Here is my attempt at building a best practice around this type of chat support. Since scheduling support often means creating a way to staff the support center for peak and valley traffic, schedule time for outgoing support agents to spend a few minutes with the incoming CSRs to pass along information about any chats that are still active. Build a few minutes into the schedule for the overlap so there is no gap in availability to customers yet the support interaction for those already on the line is kept up.

If it isn’t feasible for the CSRs to debrief, make it a requirement that those coming on-shift read through open chats to get familiar with what has already been done before signaling they are ready to take over the chat.

Hospitals staff this way. The nurses or laboratory technologists have a scheduled overlap to give them time to pass along information on patients or tests in progress so that quality of care is not impacted, especially for patients with complicated care. Using this method in the support center can mean that the quality of customer care will remain high while the CSRs are assured of both the ability to leave at the end of their shift and to give support without having to jump in blind.

For those of you reading this article, what has been your experience using live chat support? Are you seeing the kind of situation outlined above? What issues have come up and how have you handled it?

I look forward to your both success and nightmare stories. Maybe we can all help each other figure out a best practice for your business.

Looking for Customer Service software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Service software solutions.

About the Author

Jody Pellerin

Jody Pellerin

Jody Pellerin, Director of Marketing for PhaseWare. Jody has many years of experience in customer service and support. Her company is a leading provider of customer service and support software.



Comment by David Saba on

I’ve found that most phone chat operators working on our chat lines chatlineguide are just lazy and won’t share their customer concerns with the next person down the line. Also, the notes they left are often cryptic and hard to decipher. For that reason, I think email support is sometimes even better. It gives the support personnel the time to study the case and provide the right solution without being time pressured.

Comment by Siddhant Paryani on

Commendable facts, agreed with the hours long chats and shifting them to other CSR`s. With Tagove Live chat one can check the previous chat records as well as former CSR can give the tag to specific customer for their concerns, it provides Video, Voice as well as co-browsing for getting all the features in one basket.

Comment by live chat support on

the voice call faculty staff cannot attend all the calls at a time because it is difficult task to do this so the chat support is introduce and a days chat is much popular than calls 24×7 talkagent is one of the best chat service providing staff that is available through out the day and night


Comment by Faryal Hassan on

Deploying new technology to enhance the customer experience and reduce complaints is indeed one of the best options to choose from and doing so has become necessary. If the business has a mobile application, it can integrate a customer support platform within the application to aid app users and resolve any complaints that they might have. Among others, devContact ( is a support desk that is built specifically for mobile apps and can be easily integrated for free. It offers a wide range of features including live chats, FAQs, analytics and push notifications. This will help deliver a better overall user experience with the mobile application.

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