Live chat updates: Offline chat, chat routing, Shorthand and more

Written by on April 15, 2015

Live chat, in my opinion, is one of the toughest channels a support agent has to handle. In fact, it’s a little bit like a double edged sword. On one hand, it can help agents go the extra mile and make the user’s service experience exceptional. Like Captain Mike and his trusty Lieutenant prove in our favorite story in the Customer Service Hall of Fame. But it can also turn on you if you’re not knowledgeable, intelligent or charming. If the questions the customers ask require you to do some thinking or leave your desk… the experience falls flat. There’s also the tiny problem of having to man the desk 24×7 to make sure that every deserving customer gets an answer.

But when 57% of most customers prefer live chat over other channels… you have to hope for the best and provide the best support you can. And Freshdesk is committed to helping you achieve that vision.

Over the last few months, we’ve been adding little featurettes to our live chat functionality to help you better support your customers, from better routing to support for mobile devices. In case you missed any of this, here’s a quick roundup.

a) Chat Routing

Tired of reassigning chats every time a customer wants to talk to you? No problem. You can now make this process more efficient by routing chats based on inputs from your visitors on the pre-chat form. For example, you could set things up so that the chat is sent to the Billing team if the customer chooses a “Billing related” option in the pre-chat form. If you have multiple widgets set up, you can also route chats based on the specific widget used by the customer to raise the issue.

b) Offline Chat

Chat is a great way for your customers to get instant answers. But what if you’re not at work? What if you have stepped away from your desk at that fortuitous moment when a customer pings you? Swoop in and save the day with our handy offline chat form. Within two minutes of inactivity, a form will pop up asking the customer to leave a message (that will get converted to a ticket). The best part is, if you come back while the customer is filling out the form, you can initiate the chat then and there.

Freshdesk's newest live chat feature: offline chat

c) Shorthands aka canned responses

We’re all major fans of text expanders here at Freshdesk – and we love the way you can type in four characters and see them instantly expand into an elaborate thank you message. We decided to spread some goodwill by giving Freshdesk the same treatment, and thus, came up with something called shorthands. Your team can access these canned responses (or shorthands) by typing ‘/’ inside the reply box and picking one they’d like to use from the list. The expanded text will get typed into your reply box automagically. All you have to do is hit ‘Send’. If you are an Admin, you can create new shorthands in the Canned Responses section under the Admin Tab. Here’s how you can setup Shorthand.

Freshdesk's newest live chat feature: Shorthand

d) Customizable sound notification for agents

You asked. And we delivered. Freshdesk now lets you choose the trill to alert you when there’s a new chat in the system. Each agent gets to choose the ringtone they like best.

Freshdesk's newest live chat feature: Customisable sound notification

e) Chat widget on mobile

Let your users initiate chat conversations with you, even when their laptops are not at hand. Regardless of whether your website is mobile optimized or not, your customers will be able to see your chat widget now if they scroll to the bottom of the website. If you’ve mobile optimized your website, then your customers will be able to see your chat widget as a chathead to the bottom of the screen.

Live chat can seem like quite a daunting channel if you’re not too prepared for it. But with the right tools and an amazing team to have your back, it could very well end up being your customers’ favourite way to talk to you.

Note: We’ve replaced our in-built live chat feature with Freshchat integration—a modern way of messaging your customers and providing support.

Subscribe for blog updates

  • Ayoub Khote

    Are there any plans for Chat availability from the mobile app?

    • Smrithi Parameswar

      Yes Ayoub, we definitely have plans for this. The APIs we are building will help in making chat available on the mobile app. Unfortunately, I don’t have an ETA for you, but this is definitely a feature we will be taking up once we have our chat APIs out.

  • Michel van Wanrooij

    When will the bug be fixed where you can’t click the chat away after a conversation. It only minimizes at the moment 🙁

    • Smrithi Parameswar

      Michel – this is already in progress. Your customers will soon be able to end a chat, instead of just minimising it. Will probably be out sometime in Q2 🙂

  • Mike

    Well, we too believe that chat is a great asset, however, we support multiple cultures but the Freshdesk Chat is only configurable in one language… That makes this feature useless to many of our customers. Freshchat should be multilingual, just like their notifications system… Hope you address this (although I was told that Freshdesk does not consider this a priority).

    • Smrithi Parameswar

      Hey Mike, we understand this is a big need, especially when you serve customers in different countries. We are working on some APIs, based on which you should be able to provide different messages on different pages. I don’t have an ETA for you, but we have started work on this, and will get this out to you asap!

  • Jamie Holyoake

    This appears to be a paid subscription only feature (for those that were going to ask).

  • Tony

    Nice work! We finally have a reason to remove our existing chat client.
    Only issue so far is the lack of the original message from the chat is missing from ticket notes, seems to only be creating tickets or notes with the exchanged messages

  • agiveon

    Great progress but still not enough to let go of our Olark integration. Any word on when you will integrate jabber routing? It is very convenient that support agents can just use the many chat clients (mobile and desktop) to help customers.

  • JHGrove3

    We have had a recurring problem with chat routing. Our chats can go to 4 different places. If it is routed to a group where the agent is offline, the chat fails immediately and is sent to the Missed Chats folder. We were able to partially remedy this by creating a custom missed chat message, and that overrode some of the behavior. But I recommend having somebody review the code. It would also be helpful to have a “fallback” group for each routing, and if there are no agents available in the preferred group, then it rerouts the chat to the Fallback group.