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I know chat widgets can be used in super irritating ways and people love to hate on them recently but I think they can greatly improve the user experience for the user and the vendor when done right e.g. have a prominent easy to find chat button on every page, that doesn't automatically pop-up with a stock message, where the chat operators are available and able to help you.

On the website for a Chrome extension I sell, 90% of my support requests (mostly from paid users) come in through the chat widget. The low latency communication compared to email means I can solve support requests faster, with less effort on both sides and the sender ends up happier at the end.

Having to receive, read, write, wait etc. over several emails is really painful and sucks up time on both sides even for simple problems and especially for complex problems. It can take several emails to understand a simple problem because most users aren't that precise e.g. "I upgraded but I can't access the paid features". I'm considering pushing all users to use the chat widget by default for support queries because of this.

I wouldn't be against using some chat bot automation either (which people also complain about) to deal with common requests for the initial request message because it's really hard to 100% eliminate FAQs being asked. Especially if you're a solo founder, you want time savers like this.

Right now most chatbot widgets are scripted and require forethought from the admin or business owner. So it's pretty hard figuring out the comment questions on your own or formulating them over time. Even harder when you don't know your customer journey or haven't solidified the ideal customer fit.

This is exactly why I created a bot [1] that blends chatbots and Stack Overflow together. You can have an automated first-line support system without scripting or conversational dances.

- Instead of conversations, you can reuse previous question/answers. - Instead of guessing FAQs, you can let your users define them for you. - When questions don't exist, they get catched in the traditional support flow (email). Then overtime, this effort declines.

[1] https://getchipbot.com

Who's sitting on the other end of your chat window?

Me right now, so a human that's able to help with pretty much any query. I can understand how having to use a chat widget with someone unhelpful replying would be a bad experience though e.g. a sales person when you had a support request, or a bot that can't help with your support request.

Most chat widgets are set up to forward chat messages via email if there's nobody around and both sides can jump back on the chat widget later if they're both available at the same time which is still an improvement over just email in my opinion.

has anyone ever asked for help understanding the terms of service?

Not the one you replied to, but I have been working for a customer service of a large platform for 10 months now and no one has ever asked a question about the ToS.

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