Making the Live Chat experience even better

Matthew Middleton

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As the Live Chat community on SUMO (support.mozilla.com) continues to grow, we are working on ways to make the experience even better for Firefox users and for our community members. Live Chat allows us to chat directly with users of Firefox, troubleshooting problems and helping users get the most out of their browser. Our community has been doing a fantastic job over the past few months, handling between 600 and 1000 chat sessions each week. We’re really grateful to everyone who has helped us out, as well as to the numerous community members who have shared ideas for making SUMO even better. As we get ready for Firefox 3.5, we’re working on ways to make Live Chat even more rewarding for both users and for our community.

Last year, we started asking users about their experience when asking a question in either Live Chat or the Support Forum. Each week, approximately half of users who respond say that a chat session already fixed their problem, while another 10% indicate that they will follow up later. The remaining 40% indicate that their problem was not resolved, so we ask these users why we weren’t able to solve their problems. The reasons users pick are graphed below from week to week, along with the people who have solved their problem or will follow up.

Consistently, the top reasons for problems not getting solved have been chat sessions ending early and cases where the helper “was not responding”. Reducing the number of unsolved cases has been a top priority for improving the Live Chat experience. As a result, the SUMO 1.1 release (scheduled for Tuesday, June 2) will fix two bugs that are causing some users to disconnect early, and the next release will focus on allowing users to follow up after a chat session more efficiently. While a user may leave Live Chat before solving an issue, such as to restart Firefox, we want to keep tracking each user via the Support Forum until the issue is resolved. Since only about 10% of users respond that they are using the option to follow up, we also want to make this feature easier to find and use. If we can increase the number of users following up, we will increase the number of people who eventually solve their problem, as well as reduce the need to stay online for lengthy chat sessions.

Looking further ahead, we are developing a web client for Live Chat that will allow community members to participate in Live Chat from anywhere with Firefox. Our goals for the web client include streamlining the process of getting help once a chat session ends, which will increase the number of users we are able to successfully help. We’re also asking the community what we’re doing well and how we can make Firefox Support even more rewarding in a survey that we’re wrapping up next week. Thanks to everyone that has provided feedback and ideas so far! (Thanks especially to Ricardo (ricmacas) for sharing great ideas and design concepts for the Live Chat web client!)

If you’re looking for a way to get more involved with the Mozilla community and enjoy troubleshooting or assisting users, you should consider helping with Firefox Support! Check out the top ways you can make a difference by helping with SUMO. If you have more ideas on how we can make Mozilla Support even more effective and rewarding, we’d love to read your comments on this blog, on our mailing list, or in the Contributors forum.