Offline messages: a feature dive

Live chat gives your customers a self-explanatory promise: the handy option to chat live to an advisor. But that means that you always need agents there, live, ready for your online visitors to talk to.

Sometimes that’s just not possible. Your agents aren’t always available. That ‘live’ promise then becomes a lie, and the online visitor faces disappointment. (And frustration to boot.)

That’s where offline messages come in handy. Offline messages are a feature in WhosOn that let you manage your live chat channel while your agents are away. So, what can they do, why are they useful, and how do you use them?

What are offline messages?

With offline messages, you can adjust your chat button to react when you’re offline. It does this by changing the display visible to your website visitors. What it displays is up to you. You can choose to remove the chat button completely, have it display as ‘offline’, or prompt your customers to leave a message instead.

The feature also allows you to set a message for customers that open your chat channel while you’re offline. Within this, you can provide useful information.

For example, you can direct visitors to self-service materials such as your FAQ page or video tutorials. You can also provide alternative contact information, like an email address or phone number. Or you can give information about when you’ll next be online and able to chat.

When are they used?

Offline messages are used any time you’re offline and unavailable to take visitor chats. They work both reactively and on a scheduled basis.

So, this includes designated out-of-office hours as well as any impromptu periods when no agents are available to chat. If your agents have set their availability to away or busy, and no users have an online status, your offline message will trigger. (This might happen if your agents are away from their desks, in meetings, or have reached their maximum concurrent chat limit.)

Importantly, you have full control over offline message configuration. You can create various queueing and agent chat acceptance rules in line with your offline chat policies, to create optimum coverage or ensure the best customer experience.

Why are offline messages useful?

There’s no point advertising a live chat channel if no one is around to chat. Without offline messages, you mislead your website visitors and fail to meet their expectations of real-time support.

Plus, the visitor is then left to find another way of getting an answer on their own. This is frustrating for visitors. They had anticipated speedy assistance upon clicking your live chat button. Instead, they’ve drawn a blank and have to switch channels, self-serve, or abandon site. This is patently damaging to your service and sales alike.

But with offline messages, this damage can be avoided. The offline display sets the expectation that the visitor won’t get to chat right away. You haven’t lied, and you haven’t given false hope of instant help.

From there, the WhosOn feature allows you to support your customers without the real-time element. Because you can display helpful information that’s available right away, you make sure your visitors still feel supported and looked after. (Even though they can’t chat to you directly.)

In other words, you always keep your service accessible and avoid causing visitor frustration. 

Best practice tips

Using offline messages effectively, then, is about keeping your service open and accessible even when you aren’t there.

So, here are a few best practice tips when using offline messages.

  • • Make sure that you always follow up on every message that visitors leave while you’re offline.
  • • Be clear about when you’re next available to chat and invite them to come back.
  • • If you provide alternative contact options, make sure that they’re responsive. For example, only give a phone number if someone is there to answer the phone.
  • • Keep your promises. If you tell customers when you’ll reply or how to contact you, be sure to follow through.

Give it a try

Offline messages are just one of the many features that WhosOn has to offer. Why not explore further with a 30-day free trial?

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Accessible customer service: is your business open?

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