Being a live chat agent is simple, all you need is a computer and an internet connection. Being an awesome live chat agent is a little more difficult. To employ awesome live chat agents you need to be looking for a certain set of skills and traits and then you need to be equipping them with the correct knowledge to serve your customer base. What exactly does it take to be an awesome live chat agent though?
A thorough understanding of the website content and navigation, business processes, products and business communication strategy is essential. When you have the resources to manage chat in house then this is a little easier but when leaving the chat in the hands of a managed chat service how can you be sure the live chat agent knows enough? Here at The Chat Shop we go through an extensive process to learn everything there is to know about your business. But we don’t stop there. As we handle more and more of your queries we take everything we can learn from them and feed it back in to our knowledge base to be better equipped for every eventuality. We also use our EIM methodology in order to use what we know to steer the conversation and get the information you need about your customer.
A personality is a crucial trait of a live chat agent.
A live chat agent is not too dissimilar to a retail shop assistant, but on the web. When you’re online there is no facial expression, tone of voice or body language. At The Chat Shop we are firm believers that a decent personality builds rapport and rapport builds relationships. We ensure every live chat agent is trained on their clients communication strategy and then encourage them to build up a strong rapport with customers as necessary. People buy from people.
Listen and be clear
The live chat agent knowing the intricate details of the company is all very well and good but if he/she doesn’t know what the customer wants, how can they answer their question(s)? Chat agents need to make sure that they have received the whole message from a customer before engaging; a customer may start with a very simple question but they may be just starting to type a new one containing much more details concerning the issue they are having. A quick simple response before they have finished typing their 2nd question may just make things more confusing and difficult; your live chat agent needs to have patience, if they can see that the customer is typing then they must hold back from attempting a super quick response time. Counter questions are also very useful in clearing up any questions from customers which aren’t 100% understandable.
Get to know the customer
Once your live chat agent has really started listening (i.e. paying attention to exactly what customers are typing) then they can start to focus on getting to know the person they are interacting with. They have product knowledge, now they should be craving customer knowledge in order to personalise live chat service. Chat and site history is of course an important resource here but a customer’s worries and criteria are also very important. A customer may not come straight out of the box explaining what they are buying the product for but the live chat agent should work to reveal this in order to offer more personalised recommendations of complimentary products.
Always be friendly
Being friendly to customers that want to buy from your company is of course a must, but live chat agents should also remember to be kind and courteous to those people that have started a chat by accident or have found their way to your site by accident. If they start chatting on your site but they are actually looking for something else, it won’t harm your agent to have a quick look on Google and point them in the right direction; if they need something which you sell in the future they might just remember that positive experience they had in the past. And of course, like in all customer service scenarios, even if a customer can't keep their cool, the live chat agent must.