November 19, 2019

Yakety Yak

Port of Oakland welcomes 10,000th visitor to its web-based LiveChat customer-service feature

By DC Velocity Staff

Port of Oakland chat windowWe've all become accustomed to those "live chat" boxes that pop up when we're scrolling through retailers' websites. But it turns out, they're not the only ones using the technology. Live webchats are also being offered by at least one port.

That port, the Port of Oakland (California), introduced its online chat service when it overhauled its customer-service platform back in December 2015. Called "LiveChat," the automated feature collects the questions that are submitted through the port's website and distributes them to human personnel for replies.

The feature has proved so popular that the port announced this summer that it had welcomed its 10,000th visitor. It said online representatives respond to about 200 queries each month, responding in real time during business hours and answering questions submitted after hours the next day.

The most commonly asked questions concern employment opportunities and how to import containerized cargo from overseas, according to the port. But some of the others are a bit more offbeat, such as:

  • Can I pick up my cargo container with a pickup truck? (Answer: No. It takes something a little bit bigger—like a semi...and it has to be registered with the Port of Oakland.)
  • Can I get tickets for your free harbor tours? (Answer: Sure. Just click here for instructions.)
  • Are you a robot? (Answer: No. Everyone at LiveChat is a real person.)

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