The Art of Effective Online Chat – Part I

 Live chat agents

 The whole point of a customer choosing live chat is to overcome the hassle of calling a service number, wading through IVR menus, listening to long monotonic automated messages and wasting precious time waiting.

In theory, live chat should be everything phone or email service is not – simple, timely and efficient, but does it always pan out that way?

Even with an innovative and influential customer service and sales delivery method such as live chat, there are dampeners that leave customers with an experience to forget.

In a series of posts, we’ll look at how to make live chat, a pleasurable and fun experience for your customers. In this first installment, we look at training.

Train your agents with specific live chat skills

 Agent Training

A good telesales or teleservice agent does not necessarily make a  good live chat agent. The needs of live chat call for a different set of skills.

It is important for agents to understand the art of building a chat conversation, a perfect example is how information is exchanged in short spurts with back and forth messages in a chat conversation.

Another focal aspect is the usage of canned and original responses. Though canned responses are informative and precise, it is original responses that offer a human touch to the conversation. It is up to agents to mix and match between the two to strike a perfect balance.

As far as chat text, agents must keep sentence structure simple and free of spelling and grammatical errors, the importance of words such as  ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can never be emphasized enough.

Train agents to avoid common pitfalls such as giving an answer not pertaining to the question, providing inaccurate information, giving broken links and so forth. Encourage agents to think on their feet and acquire problem solving skills rather than always rely on ‘process knowledge’ to be able to resolve customer’s concerns.

Quick thinking will also help agents immediately identify issues that cannot be solved by chat, thereby immediately raising a support ticket or escalating the chat. While escalating a chat, the best practice is to keep the new chat agent informed about the customer’s concern and what you think will be the course of action. While raising a support ticket on behalf of the customer, leave as much documentation as possible to make the job of your colleague, solving the ticket,easier.

Make sure to keep your customer informed about the ticket number and turn around time before which he/she can expect a reply. Setting expectation is an integral part of customer service to build trust.

Always remember, the fact that makes live chat tick is to be able to offer resolution to the customer with minimal effort from them – make sure it keeps ticking!