1. Your customers will reach out to you for help through multiple channels. Freshchat supports responding to all these customer conversations across channels from one place - the Team Inbox. However, your agents must switch to a different channel for some customer issues. Here are some examples:
  • A customer reaches out through a direct message on social media, but the issue requires a longer form response, authentication, or file sharing, necessitating a switch to email.
  • A customer has issues with their airline tickets via the web widget on your website, but since the customer is traveling, this can be handled better if the conversation is switched over to WhatsApp.

These examples illustrate how customers may start a conversation in one channel but require a switch to another channel to resolve their issue effectively. The key is to ensure that the transition between channels is smooth and efficient for both the customer and the support team. 

Which channels can your agents switch between?

If your customers reach out to your team via email, SMS, WhatsApp, or the widget, your team can switch to any of these channels (email, SMS, or WhatsApp) and continue the conversation. Your agents will be equipped to seamlessly switch between these channels and respond to customers most appropriately, ensuring a consistent and efficient support experience.

What happens when a customer reaches out via multiple channels?

If a customer starts a conversation on WhatsApp and then sends an email, the agent handling the email won't be able to switch over to WhatsApp. Instead, a prompt will appear next to the customer's number, indicating an ongoing conversation on WhatsApp. This will enable the agent to view the ongoing conversation instead.

Are all channels available for all customers to agents?

If a customer's profile lacks essential information (such as an email address or phone number) that ties them to a channel (ticketing and WhatsApp, respectively), the agent will not be able to send out the response using that channel. 

For example, if the customer's profile does not include their WhatsApp number, as they have always reached out via social media, the agent cannot respond via WhatsApp.

Multichannel reply for WhatsApp (switching to the WhatsApp channel)

If your customers have reached out to your team via WhatsApp — your team can respond through WhatsApp as a channel directly. If your customers have reached out via a different channel (other social media, email, or SMS) but your team needs to respond via WhatsApp, there are some limitations. 

  1. WhatsApp has a 24-hour time response period. This means that your team can respond to a customer on WhatsApp only if the customer has had a conversation with your team within the last 24 hours.
  2. However, if there are no customer conversations in the last 24 hours, your agents must use a WhatsApp message template. Learn more about WhatsApp templates here.

In the second case, your agents can select and customize pre-built WhatsApp templates within the reply editor. After updating placeholders and previewing the message, they can confidently send the templated response to the customer. Here's how it'll look like while setting up and previewing the message:

Multichannel reply for the web widget

  • If your customers initiated the conversation via the web widget — your team can respond through the web widget directly.
  • If your customer has initiated the conversation via the web widget, they can switch to any other available channel to reply (if the contact information is available). Agents can also switch back to the web widget to continue the conversation if required. 
  • If your customers initiated the conversation via a different channel (social media, email, or SMS) but your team needs to respond via the web widget, that would not be possible as the customer would not always have the widget open on their browser.

In conclusion, optimizing your customer support platform for seamless channel switching is crucial in today's digital age. By providing a unified experience across multiple channels, businesses can improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn, and increase efficiency. With the right technology and strategies, support teams can effortlessly switch between channels, accessing all necessary information and context in real-time.