Signing in to Live Chat for my first shift, knowing that I was finally live and had real life customers to tend to was a bit nerve racking. Was I going to be able to satisfy their needs? Would they get mad if I did not know an answer right away? So many “what ifs” were flying around my head but I knew that I was prepared, thanks to all the training I had done with my Team Leader. After over 13 solid hours of training on each client, it was time to dive in!
After my first chat was over, I felt proficient. It wasn’t until I had three chats at the same time that the chance of becoming flustered arrived.
Not only did I overcome my nerves and push through each chat, I was able to fulfill all 3 customers’ needs in a timely fashion, while getting “thumbs up” along the way.
A “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” is a way for website visitors to rate their chat experience. A chat that provides the right answer won't always get a “thumbs up”, sometimes a customer has to be really wowed to acknowledge the positive experience. The “thumbs up” that I had been given signalled that I had done more than just provide answers for these customers. I had provided a positive online experience. An experience that they’d remember and associate with the client’s brand.
After my first “thumbs up” and positive customer comment, I felt like I was on top of the world! What a feeling knowing that I was able to help someone across the globe. Seeing “Mr X rated this chat as good” made me feel so incredibly happy!
What a tremendous feeling I had as I thought to myself, “Hey! I did it!”. I did have to reach out to my Team Leader for support on one question about delivery, but that was a speedy interaction as there are always colleagues on hand willing to assist each other at any time of day.
I was thankful that I had a lineup of customers, because I could assure myself that my knowledge and resources were up to par. I had plenty of training, quizzes and test chats before going live of course (a minimum of 13 hours of training and 2 quizzes with a pass mark of 100% per client) but the experience of a real conversation is something a little different.
The customers that I dealt with were all pleasant, thanks to the warm and friendly manner in which I chatted to them. Even when customers had to find out that the client did not provide the product/service that they were looking for, they were still happy with the quick and friendly service that they had received.
Being in customer service, I always relate to the customer and how I would feel if I were in their shoes. I was able to produce responses to each customer that enabled them to realize I too was a human being who understood their concern.
At first it is quite scary being expected to develop conversations around some extremely complicated subject matters, such as medical equipment. However, the resources that are created by our Team Leaders and Account Managers are remarkable. We are trained to provide service and generate leads for even the most complicated products and industries. The resources that our Team Leaders and Account Managers create give us the knowledge we need to give efficient and speedy answers.
As a consumer who frequently reaches out for live chat support, I know how it feels to wait on the other end only to receive an answer that did not directly address my question. The customer is here for a reason – to get information they need in order to make an educated purchase. No customer wants to sit around to find out “I am sorry, but I can’t help you”.
This is where acting fast must come into play and I as an agent must use all of the resources that I have to provide a suitable response. A response that helps both the customer and our client. By giving quick and informative responses, you keep the customer happy – which is why we constantly keep our training and knowledge topped up, and organise information in an easy to use manner.
This leads me to the next challenge that I faced during my first shift - ensuring customer satisfaction, even when you can’t provide a solution to a customer’s unique request. We have a wide array of information in our knowledge base but some questions have never even been put to our client before. On my first shift however, I faced a query that I simply could not find the answer to, but I knew that we would be able to help this customer. That’s part and parcel of the first few shifts, but I always had a colleague on hand, ready to assist.
I know that customers want an answer at that moment, not in a few days. Knowing this made me give my all for the customer to make them feel appreciated, before I had to escalate their issue. Even when it was necessary to escalate to a colleague, I found it helpful to reiterate apologies for any inconveniences that their problem had caused.
Why did I find this helpful? Think of how you would feel if half of your order arrived, but the other half hadn’t been dispatched – and you needed it the next day. You would be less than thrilled, to say the least. Even though I was having to escalate to a colleague, I made sure that the customer understood why.
The customer could however be safe in the knowledge that they did not have to repeat everything to my colleague. The other agent could simply pick up the conversation where I was having to leave it, with the full transcript right in front of them. And you’ll be glad to know that my fellow Live Chat Agent was able to provide a solution.
Another challenge that I faced was telling a customer that the client was unable to assist them due to the country that they lived in. This created a feeling of despair for me as I was the bearer of bad news.
This was the only part of my first shift I did not enjoy. Once again, this is where I found it important to express my apologies for any inconvenience and offer advice where possible. I was actually surprised how it made me feel. Of course I didn’t want to lose the customer, but as the saying goes “it is what it is, unless it isn’t!”. I felt confident knowing that I had given the customer the best advice possible.
As 7PM rolled around, and my last chat was coming to an end, I felt that my first day went even better than expected. I overcame all obstacles presented to me, and in my opinion, dealt with them with grace. I did it! I finished my first shift as a live chat agent, and was ready for more.
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