To chat or not to chat? That is certainly the question many MSPs are asking themselves as they attempt to enhance their customer experience (CX). In today’s article we will talk about why Chat hasn’t been successful for ‘most’ MSPs and the alternative technology to consider.
As an MSP with almost 50 staff, we get over 100 tickets every day, so efficiency around our time is of the utmost importance. We reviewed all the ‘channels’ by which a customer can contact us and this is what we found.
This is important for urgent requests so obviously has its place. However, you don’t want to be getting calls for non-urgent requests like ‘change requests’ etc. This is why we decided to replace email support with a desktop and mobile App. It was a huge success and our clients loved the easy to find and use experience.
Web (PSA) Portal
Simply put Web / PSA Portals never gets used because clients can’t find the URL to get there. Even if they do they can’t remember how to login. It does have value, but definitely not as your primary method to contact you. Read more here.
This is the current most popular method to log a ticket BUT it’s the most inefficient. You don’t get the type, sub type, screenshot or ‘hostname’ information. This means you constantly have to triage every ticket that arrives which is a complete waste of productivity.
Many MSPs think clients actually prefer email. The operative word is ‘think’. They don’t actually ask their clients. The reality is I’ve never meant any client or user that prefers a blank email than an App that guides them on what information they need to provide.
We would all be using Nokia’s if Mr Jobs hadn’t shown us a better way with the iPhone – this is no different.
Desktop & Mobile App
The problems experienced with email is why we believe you must replace email support with a desktop and mobile App. You get the ticket type, sub type, screenshot, hostname, username, company, custom form data which means you can route the ticket to where it needs to be with no triage.
Clients love it because it’s easy to find (IT button on every device), they don’t have to login and the fact the App can be customized for their organization.
Customization is the key in our book to delivering ‘unexpected value’. Giving clients what they expect doesn’t work anymore.
Chat Support Considerations
So what about Chat Support?
It’s definitely a popular concept since it has a bit of modern appeal, but if you dig a bit deeper we realized a few home truths about.
#1 – You Need Capacity for Chat
The reality is to deliver Chat Support successfully you need people sitting there all day waiting in anticipation to answer a chat request. Most MSPs have less than 15 staff so capacity is not something they have an abundance of.
Even at our size, it’s hard to dedicate staff permanently to this task. So what inevitably happens is a clients try to chat with you, they find more often than not you’re not there to answer them straight away and they instantly lose faith in this support channel with the net result being they never use it again.
#2 – It’s Slower
Can someone type faster than they can talk.
Nope, sorry they can’t.
So why on earth would we put in a support channel that actually makes you and your clients less productive. It makes no sense.
#3 – Too Many Support Options
When we on-board a client we tell them they have two (2) options for support;
- They can either ‘call’ if it’s urgent, OR;
- Log a ticket via the App if it isn’t urgent.
It’s simple and what we learnt is clients love simplicity.
Now, ask yourself do you already give your clients phone, email and the PSA portal as support options?
And now you want to add Chat?
Seriously four (4) options for support? Don’t you think they’ll get confused. We all know too many options causes frustration when purchasing things, it’s the same with support.
Read more about ticket KPI’s here for best practice.
The conclusion is we don’t believe Chat Support works for ‘most’ MSPs for these three (3) reasons.
To prove my point a statistic from a secret source in the industry working for a PSA told me that of their 1000’s of MSP customers they only have approximately 3.8% using their chat option. That’s hardly a success.
The only situation we see Chat Support working is if you have enough staff to have a dedicated team focused on it 100% OR if you have outsourced to a company like Continuum who have 100’s of staff in India. The good news is, if you’re one of the MSPs that has the resources to implement Chat Support successfully then you can easily add a Chat button to ITSupportPanel to make it even easier to access than a URL link they can’t find. ITSupportPanel will absolutely help increase the utilization of your chat support option.
But even then, you have to tread carefully because we still don’t believe it’s a productive use of your limited time.
The future we believe will be ‘Chat Bot’s’ which solves the capacity and response time issue. However, it’s easier said than done, but something that is on the long term road-map for Invarosoft.
So to conclude if the goal is to deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) Chat Support isn’t one of those support channels that will guarantee you delight your customers. We believe your clients would prefer less options (e.g. phone and an App) and an innovative approach that’s easy, modern and helps them be more productive
So what’s the best choice for your MSP?