Have you got what it takes to be a live chat agent?

Have you got what it takes to be a live chat agent?

Live chat is now the preferred digital contact method for many online customers. 29% of customers indicate they prefer email support, while only 16% show a preference for social media. However, a very significant 46% of customers indicate they prefer live chat.

Customers particularly like live chat because it gives them real-time support when they need it. Live chat also allows agents to share screenshots and images with customers, making communication and problem-solving that much easier. Those are just some of the reasons more and more businesses offer live chat on their websites.

In the light of live chat’s growing popularity, it offers the right candidates a challenging and rewarding job! But not everyone has the ability and skills to give customers the quality live chat support which today’s discerning customers demand.

Here’s the impressive skill set needed to excel as a live chat agent!

1.   You have excellent writing and typing skills

Writing forms the basis of communicating with customers on live chat. Your writing must be free of errors and typos, and you must be able to observe a suitable tone and style. These are some good points to bear in mind as you communicate with customers:

  • Make sure you understand the customer’s messages
  • Simplify things without talking ‘down’ to customers
  • Give clear, understandable, and accurate responses
  • Don’t use complicated technical jargon
  • Give concise and detailed solutions
  • Don’t use ‘pompous’ or overly complex vocabulary
  • Always write using correct grammar and punctuation and proofread before you send
  • Observe a pleasant conversational tone without undue familiarity

2.   You have the ability to make your customers feel valued

Customers really appreciate the human touch and sense of engagement that live chat brings. They need to connect with and speak to somebody who has empathy and can build a relationship with them. So if you can speak to a difficult customer in a friendly, positive tone, without getting flustered, this is the job for you!

Here are a few points to cultivate:

  • Always stay professional
  • Observe customer etiquette by following the tone set by the customer
  • Reflect the customer’s language and style, for instance, use emojis if they do
  • Always be respectful and polite
  • Think before you respond
  • Ask your customers for feedback
  • Always follow up on promises
  • Start and end the conversation on a positive note

3.   You’re able to take initiative

You can see when several customers are having the same problem, and know that you need to alert management. You know that when dealt with correctly, customer complaints can be a great thing for your business!

When a customer has a tricky complaint, you can think on your feet and some up with a creative solution, without always needing to ask a supervisor.

4.   You can help keep the client response times low

High response time equates to a high abandonment rate! Modern customers want a quick response, or they may abandon their search or switch to another website. Forrester data confirms this: 53% of customers are likely to abandon if they don’t get a quick live chat response.

Train yourself to have a good sense of time. With practice you’ll also be able to conduct more than one conversation simultaneously. Be helpful to the client, but keep the conversation short and sweet.

Here are some tips you can employ:

  • Set automatic responses
  • If there are delays, inform the customer
  • Use quick ‘canned’ responses, like welcome messages or a link to a helpful website page
  • Consult customer profiles/chats for useful pre-chat information (like their recent purchases)

5.   You’re confident enough to upsell

One of the best ways to shine as a live chat agent is by helping the business you work for increase their revenue through cross-selling and upselling. To do this well, you will really need to understand a particular customer’s needs.

Upselling refers to the practice of encouraging a customer to purchase a higher-end product of the same kind. Done correctly, upselling often introduces the customer to a product that will better satisfy their needs.

Cross-selling brings complementary, related, or better products to a customer’s attention. Practised properly, upselling and cross-selling are mutually beneficial to customers and the business.

6.   You’re willing to become an expert on the business’s products and services

44% of consumers report that they received the wrong answer from a customer service agent. This must never happen! Not only is it guaranteed to result in a bad customer experience, but that customer will almost certainly be lost to your business.

A good customer service agent needs to become a subject matter expert. This means that you are well-informed about the products, services, processes, and procedures that pertain to your business. Only then can you advise customers confidently and authoritatively, and solve their problems quickly.

7.   You can speak another language

The ability to speak another language is a huge plus for any live chat agent. Multilingual live chat agents are always in demand. Learning another language is a very valuable added skill for a live chat agent.

In conclusion

As the demand for live chat grows, so does the need for skilled and effective live chat agents. And make no mistake – good live chat agents are rare beasts!

  • They are highly articulate with impressive language, communication and typing skills.
  • They are mentally nimble, with retentive and logical minds.
  • They can think on their feet, often in trying situations.
  • They can meet widely divergent customers at different levels and set them at ease whilst solving their problems.
  • They are able to improvise, think creatively, and project empathy, all while keeping a mass of information straight in their heads.

If you are that rare individual, then a career in live chat might be for you!