Disrupt Live Chat – 3 Considerations on How to End Interactions

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Disrupt Live Chat – 3 Considerations on How to End Interactions

Beth contacted her wireless provider via chat to ask about data upgrade options for her phone plan . The customer service rep, Dale, answered her question with ease. Beth thanked him. They talked about how cool the most recent “Game of Thrones” episode was, and then Beth closed the window. The chat, however, was not ended. Will the interaction time out and the chat end if Dale waits? Is there an option on Beth’s end of the interface for her to clearly ‘end’ the chat? Does Dale end the chat on his end? These questions are important because they impact the analytics of the chat. Here are some considerations to positively disrupt live chat and end interactions.

1. Waiting for the Customer to End the Chat

Some argue that waiting for the customer to end the interaction is respecting their needs. However, if the agent waits for the customer to end the chat or the agent waits for the chat to time out it does not give an accurate time frame for the length of the chat. This impacts Average Handle Time and Average Time to Resolution metrics.

There is a limit to how many windows an agent can have open to answer multiple customer inquiries. It depends on how many agents a customer service department has and how many tickets agents can address simultaneously while still creating positive customer experience (and retaining agents).  With such limits, a chat in limbo can reduce agent efficiency. The agent could be helping another waiting customer. This impacts Average Wait Time (AWT), number of open tickets and average backlog metrics.

When making data comparisons with chat bot interactions this is also important. How is the chatbot configured? Does the bot wait for a specified amount of time and then end the chat? Is there a seamless option for a customer to transfer from a chatbot to a live agent? Comm100s CCW Disruptive Technology Report: Live Chat indicates such easy transfers are positively ‘disruptive’ making for a powerful use of the chat interface improving agent and customer experience.

2. The Question of Responsibility

Waiting for a customer to end the chat is putting the responsibility on them. Once their question is answered they are done, unless they wish to rate or comment on the chat.

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An agent can ensure that the customer is finished by asking if they have any further questions before concluding the chat. If they do not receive a response there can be a predetermined amount of time the agent will wait before sending a message that they will end the chat. The agent can thank the customer and conclude taking the responsibility off of the customer’s plate and maintaining usable metrics.

3. Give Your Customer Options

Enabling the agent to end the chat doesn’t mean it’s necessary to remove the ‘end chat’ option from the customer widget. It is important for them to feel they can exit a chat if they wish to.

The method of closing the chat should be easy and clear for the customer. If it is buried in a menu or confusing that frustrates the customer.

Another helpful option for the customer is to shift from a chatbot to a live agent. This ensures the customer receives more assistance when the inquiry goes beyond a chatbot’s capabilities. It is especially helpful if the live agent has access to the chatbot interaction so the customer does not have to repeat themselves. The result is improved resolution time which benefits your agent, your customer and your bottom line.


With all of the customization options and chat interface providers there is a solution that fits your business. Whether it is a chatbot or a live agent, when an interaction ends affects important KPIs. Define in advance the kind of customer experience you wish to provide with your chat channels, before collecting impaired metrics or hearing from customers “How do I end this thing?”

Does your chat interface have a clear customer ‘end chat’ button? Yes or no?

Why or why not?

How does your chat interface empower your agent?

Weigh in on the conversation and polls on Facebook or Twitter.