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British Film Institute

British Film Institute extends service hours by outsourcing their LiveChat support

British Film Institute


Providing 24/7 support for the BFI Player, a video-on-demand service.


Employing The Chat Shop to prepare and staff the BFI Player LiveChat.


Longer service hours, 97% customer satisfaction, first response time of 25 sec.

When providing services around the clock, a company has to be ready to answer support questions at any part of the day or night. This is especially true for the entertainment industry, which usually operates outside the 9-5 work hours range.

People who want to wind down after a hard day’s work and, for example, rent a movie online, will sometimes encounter problems that require the help of a support representative. This is why The British Film Institute (BFI) decided to implement LiveChat on the website of their video-on-demand (VoD) service.

With the help of the agents from The Chat Shop, one of LiveChat’s Experts, BFI offers a chat option adjusted to the viewing habits of their customers. See how they cooperated with The Chat Shop to make that possible.

Paul Lewis, Service Operations Manager at The BFI
“LiveChat offered a real time response to our service issues and customer queries. As a brand held in high regard we felt it was necessary to provide a service to match that expectation.” — Paul Lewis, Service Operations Manager at The BFI

On-demand entertainment meets instant support

The BFI Player is a service where users can access both free and on-demand titles. The player offers a wide selection of contemporary titles as well as archived content.

Since the service is available 24/7, The BFI needed a way to answer enquiries at all times. “It made sense to have a support service that mirrored our users viewing habits,” said Paul Lewis, Service Operations Manager at The BFI. “It’s a standard expectation to have some form of support for a VoD service but we wanted to go the extra mile and have a live support solution,” he added.

Anyone looking to rent a movie could use the BFI Player LiveChat to get help with navigation and other support enquiries. The implementation aimed to “offer a total first line support solution” that would replace phone or form submission, said Lewis.

Cooperating with The Chat Shop to launch the chat service

The BFI Player customer service was completely outsourced since its launch in 2013 to The Chat Shop, a professional customer service company. Using the services of The Chat Shop meant that the BFI didn’t have to bear all the costs of having several in-house agents working on various shifts. “The Chat Shop provide a total digital customer support service for the BFI Player,” said Jonny Everett, Director of Customer Development at The Chat Shop. “Operating until 3am weekdays and 1am weekends, our team are able to support BFI Player users who encounter technical difficulties, maintaining a 90% first time fix rate for known issues,” he added.

The Chat Shop team servicing the BFI Player

When preparing the implementation for The BFI, The Chat Shop had to provide more than just great customer service. The BFI brand is very well known and respected. Thus, The Chat Shop had to make sure that both the look and the feel of BFI’s LiveChat reflected the brand’s image. “As a premium and well known brand, not just any design will do,” said Everett. “Our chat programme has been beautifully integrated to BFI’s support section, with a polished look and feel.”

Apart from customizing the look of the chat widget, The Chat Shop worked closely with The BFI to translate the brand into the way agents respond to their chats. “With The Chat Shop we can also match the tone of voice for the BFI meaning it’s a totally seamless experience,” Lewis stated.

The Chat Shop agent at work with LiveChat

The Chat Shop managed to create a fully functional customer service implementation of LiveChat in an amazingly short amount of time. Despite the added difficulty of representing a recognizable brand, The BFI’s LiveChat was up and running in a mere two weeks. “Being such a famous brand in media, it was so important the service was there to support that reputation,” said Everett. “Delivering that quality over a short time frame was challenging, but we managed it,” he added.

Delivering fast, coordinated support

The BFI’s LiveChat is manned by a team of six: four agents, a senior agent and a manager. Agents answer both chat and email enquires on weekdays from 9 am to 3 am and on weekends from 10 am to 1 am. According to Everett, handling both channels allows The Chat Shop team to “have a complete customer view through our team of agents meaning new issues were easy for us to spot and communicate to the BFI so they could work to resolve them.”

Everett stated that, as the service evolved, they’ve worked closely with The BFI to “improve our awareness of any issues and nail down tight processes to resolve them fast.”

The Chat Shop agent responding to a chat

Answers provided by The Chat Shop are both fast and precise. Customers who seek help through the BFI’s LiveChat receive answers within seconds. Everett reports that, on average, customers receive the first reply within 25 seconds and all subsequent replies within an average of 30 seconds. No need for “long hold times or annoying hold music,” said Everett.

The cooperation of The Chat Shop and The BFI resulted in a very positive reaction from the user base. Since the launch of the service in October 2013, they’ve managed to reach 97% customer satisfaction score – a nearly perfect score that very few companies reach.

Future plans for development

The BFI will continue to use the services of The Chat Shop in the future to expand their LiveChat implementation. As Lewis stated, “it’s been a good working relationship.” There are plans laid to decrease the handling times even more by creating “various custom integrations to target users based on error messages as and when they encounter them,” which will allow the support agents to extend help offers proactively, before the customer even asks.

As The BFI Players continues to grow and becomes more feature-rich, LiveChat will be used to raise the awareness of the new features among the customers. “We see live chat playing a strong role in this area, helping us to improve sales and upsell to our base,” Lewis stated.

The BFI Player’s LiveChat is a prime example of a well oiled outsourced implementation. The close cooperation between the two companies allowed the BFI to extend their support’s reach well beyond the hours they could offer with in-house support. Any company wanting to offer longer service hours or 24/7 support can look to experts like The Chat Shop for help.

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