As many of you haven't noticed, we've added a chat function to our web site. We're trying to figure out if this is valuable to people or not.
We'd envisioned it as a way for people to ask last minute questions as they decided on product selection details or placed an order. What it's actually been is more of a way for people to check on order status (the number one thing) or to ask broader "top of the funnel" questions. Both of which are fine, we're not going to try and tailor what people ask and don't ask by chat, but if that's how people want to use chat, we might be better served by nixing chat in favor of just email.
Though we'd love to have the capacity for instant response all the time, we're almost always understaffed to do so. And while it's tough as hell to call any customer contact input "disruptive," when you are deep into a wheel build it's best to stay deep into the wheel build. One builder whose work we respect has a "please just email me and don't call" policy, for the above stated purpose. Building wheels is the core function of what we do, and it rewards deep focus. Balancing that need with our desire to give people a better communication experience than the broader industry generally provides is tough.
I think you'd have to say we're quite good at email. Comprehensive and timely responses are the definite norm. We miss some chats simply because sometimes you don't hear the "ding" or you can't get to a point where you can leave the wheel build within the chat's response time frame. And though we pride ourselves on comprehensiveness of our answers, and though we're loathe to obstruct access to us, stopping work for x amount of time during the day is tough. Is it ok to answer a chat that requires a long, detailed response with "thanks for the question, may we answer more completely by email soon?" Is our having chat something that people find inexcusably valuable?