Here is a blog post of a company called Kustomer, telling about chats. They compare synchronous chats with asynchronous chats and show theirs interface for the client.
I was interested in the screenshot, which they posted:
Let’s Imagine that I am a client who was distracted by work and did not finish the dialogue, and later returned to the chat a few hours later to see this:
Chat is closed! But I did not solve my very this problem, not a new one. What happens if I create a new dialogue? Do I have to explain the same thing? Or will the operator see the previous conversation? But why to open and close the chat then? Quite frustrating, and not so client-oriented.
The article shows the pros and cons of an asynchronous chat like that:
But if you look at these facts from the point of view of business and the clients you will get more like this:
So, all the point to encapsulate clients “problems” to “tasks” is on the business side. Of course, at the end of the day, the client benefits when the business is all set up well, and the support works as efficiently as possible, but in the sense of an intuitive interface, one big chat is way more obvious for clients.
That is, the button to “close conversation” and “open a new one” buttons needed by businesses but not by customers. However, we can not just ignore this need, a business needs to work effectively.
But can we maybe at least make this feature less frustrating for the client?
The first thing that comes to mind is making clients able to “restore” conversations — so if you find unfinished conversation closed over time, or just miss clicked, you can easily turn in back on. What will happen inside – to open a new task or the old one will change its status may depend on the time. Maybe task will even change the operator, but for clients, conversation stays the same, as long as they decide it’s still the same conversation.
However, you can try to show the benefit of the making a new conversation, instead of reopening the old one. It can be done visually by offering specific topics, that already have established workflows. At the end of the day, a prepared scenario for different types of user problems is exactly what makes it easier for business to serve clients better, so it can be a good idea to make customers aware of it.
So, for example, this chat window can look like that — way less confusing and more helpful:
In conclusion: when making several topic-oriented chats instead of one global is inevitable a good idea at least to show the benefits of it for customers, and make it more obvious.