Logged out chat support

We're excited to launch support for chatting with logged out customers today.

In most customer service platforms, the way logged out support works is fairly rudimentary. You install some widget on your site or app, and just take whatever conversations that come in: from potential customers, existing customers that have an account with you and are already logged in, and customers that have an account with you but are not logged in.

Existing tools don't handle this scenario particularly well, and as a result you end up with a bunch of problems:

As an advisor

  • Multiple tickets or conversations originating from the the same logged out customer getting in touch from different devices; or from the same customer when logged in and when logged out.
  • You don't know if the email address the customer is providing is actually theirs.
  • To address some of these problems existing tools implement clunky 'merge' and 'split' customer features but this is manual, error-prone and (we think) unnecessary.

As a customer

  • It's not clear if you can leave the conversation and come back later. That's how "Don't close the tab" warnings come about!
  • You can't continue your conversation on a different device or see past conversations, needing to describe your issue all over again

With our launch of logged out chat support today, we are removing this entire category of problems: We verify each customer on your behalf. Before customers get to chat to you, they enter their email, receive a verification code in their inbox, and use this to confirm that the email indeed belongs to them.

Screenshot of our chat UI which is asking the user to enter an email to verify themselves.

When chatting to customers, regardless of whether they are logged in or logged out, you now have a single, ongoing conversation with them. You can trust that they are who they say they are, and you never need to worry about merging or unmerging anything or anyone.

As a customer, this means you can always see previous messages irrespective of which device you use and how much time has gone by, whether you have an account or not. Importantly, you can also leave the chat and you will be notified by email when an advisor replies later.

Other improvements and bug fixes

  • We now have a slightly nicer empty state for the chat UI so it feels less... empty.
  • We've released version 3.0.0 of our @team-plain/react-chat-ui npm package which makes it easier to use and simplifies the overall API for specifying which customer is currently using the chat.
  • For all keyboard shortcuts such as ⌘ + K, you can now use Ctrl on Windows
  • We now have a status page: https://plain-status.com/
  • Miscellaneous iconography, spacing and colour improvements!
  • #changelog
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