Chatstaff knows that in order for patrons to start regularly using an online service, they have to be able to trust that someone will there and ready to help whenever the service says it's online. No-one likes waiting in line, especially when it's a line they can't even see, and it's almost axiomatic that people these days expect things on the internet to be instantaneous.
That's why we use a staffing model that allows us to answer chats as they come in, so the patron knows immediately that there's a live person who's ready, willing, and able to help with whatever they need.
Q: How fast is fast?
A: We are proud to be able to state that we have a median response time of 12 seconds, meaning that 50% of all chats are picked up by a librarian within 12 seconds of the patron submitting the question.
Q: Does it slow down when a lot of patrons ask questions at once?
A: Many "rushes" are predictable, just like rush hour on the highway. We carefully monitor traffic patterns, and do our best to have enough people actively staffing to handle the maximum expected traffic for a given time period. To handle the unexpected surges we have staff on-call who can be active and taking questions within seconds of being alerted.
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