Live Chat Customer Service Agents

by | Sep 16, 2014 | Customer Service

“Very few people use landline phones for much of anything. So when you talk about things like online chat and social media messages and emails, what you’re really talking about is the full extent of human communication.” – Glenn Greenwald

Customers have been given the leeway to choose and choose they do! They take their time to make decisions on which company to buy from and great customer service is a major differentiator. Within customer service too, if the experience has human contact the interaction is personal and customers are more likely to be veered in that direction. Any customer who has ever used an online chat service will testify to the fact that a great online chat experience was able to convince them more easily. In fact most online chat users have probably purchased a product or service almost immediately if the online-chat experience matched the perceived highest levels of customer service. Conversely, if the chat experience was poor, a customer would look at new avenues for business. It is therefore critical that companies invest in training live chat customer service agents. Customers now have a plethora of options at their fingertips and companies would normally get just one chance, lasting a few seconds in live chat, to make that great presentation for a lasting impression.

In today’s fast paced environment, companies feel frustrated since much of the customer interactions happen remotely via the internet and the ability to react to customer comments and needs is slower than they would like and by then some amount of damage is done. Losing out on sales due to customer care phone lines being choked during peak hours is another cause of frustration for companies. As business drops, word spreads in the market and customer interest also begins to wane. Due to these factors, a number of businesses are now welcoming live chat tools and investing in the various live chat services available to provide higher levels of customer service and constantly engage with customers. Having a talented, knowledgeable and well-spoken set of Live Chat customer service agents is critical to manage this powerful tool.

Businesses have found value by introducing the service of Live Chat customer service agents and some benefits are mentioned:

– Improving business efficiency through increased speed and better quality is the main aim in introducing Live Chat customer service agents. The live chat platform gives these agents the flexibility to perform more than one task even during a chat. While agents attending phone calls can do little else but speak with the customer since losing focus of the conversation could mean missing out on vital information being provided by the customer. It makes matters worse if the customer is calling with a complaint. Live chat customer service agents on the other hand, can manage a number of chats simultaneously since the entire conversation is written before them on the chat screen. Upgraded training for these agents ensures that they are able to improve the quality of the interactions and work smarter by multi-tasking.

– By combining live chat with a monitoring program, businesses can ensure that the customer service agents are able to resolve problems quickly by being able to reach out to customers almost immediately when they are experiencing a problem related to the brand, product or service. Through a live chat they can write down the exact nature of the problem instead of only verbally describing it.

– Live chat customer service agents would double up as the brand and values ambassador for a company. Companies may express their brand and its values through all the marketing strategies possible but businesses know that customers buy from people and the kind of people they can interact with and like. Live chat customer service agents can take complete control of how a company wants to portray itself and what they want their brand to say. Training and upgrading the skills of live chat agents is indispensable for them to be able to make a lasting impact. By embracing the live chat technology, businesses are already conveying to customers that they are committed to serving them well by resolving queries and problems much faster and with a personal touch.

– By introducing live chat with customers, companies are basically providing a customized service. The customer, with whom the live chat customer service agent is chatting, feels special and being paid attention to exclusively since only one screen is visible and the queries are answered immediately. The chat window is seamlessly blended within the website of the company giving the customer greater access to the information about the company’s products or service without having to switch screens. Companies can even protect their customer service agents by blocking malicious or troublesome IP addresses.

– Live chats can be archived and stored for future use. This provides a treasure of information for the company to refer back to in the event that they receive a similar query or problem. These chats can be collated and monitored to understand customer behavior and pre-empt the kinds of expectations that customers can possibly have. This data provides valuable information on customers that companies can use to forge ahead of their competitors.
– Well-trained and skilled live chat customer service agents are critical in making that first impression and building customer loyalty. With the growth of live chat technology, new practices have been put in place that have led to an increase in sales, quality of the chats and an overall increase in happy customer experiences.

– Live chat customer service agents must understand the criticality of their role and must start the chat by building a rapport with the customer. The disadvantage of a chat is that these agents are unable to show their emotions to build trust. It is unprofessional to use emoticons or acronyms so these agents must rely on other methods to let the customer know that they are important. Chats typically last a few seconds, but to an impatient customer may seem like hours and therefore the live chat agent must respond immediately to the customer. Pre-written scripts for such chats are available which the agent can copy with some customization to have quick and effective responses. The speed and content of the responses lets the customer know that the agent is trying to engage with them and a rapport is built. A skilled and well-trained live chat agent would be able to manage many such conversations with speed and accuracy, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing customer wait time.

– A customer initiates an interaction, like a live chat, for a variety of reasons. It could be understand the product or service, to buy the product or service, a query regarding billing, a complaint and the likes. It is the task of the live chat customer service agent to provide the customer with customer service excellence by fulfilling whatever product related need the customer is presenting. A live chat allows the agent to ask intelligent and leading questions to determine the exact nature of a problem or the reason for the call. These questions also build rapport as the interest of the customer service agent in resolving the problem is apparent. The queries can be as simple as how to pay a bill to a more complex troubleshooting problem with regard to the product bought.

– Once the agent is able to build a rapport the next step is to sustain it by providing the best possible solution. They must be able to show the customer why the solution is best suited to their needs as compared to other solutions present with the company and even with competition. This is a clear edge and tells customers that they can trust the company and its service.

– After providing the solution, it is necessary for the agent to politely ask if there is anything else the customer needs. If the customer is satisfied with the interaction, a polite yet professional signing off is necessary. Thanking the customer is a vital step in the close.

Live chat is taking on a serious role in promoting a company and providing stellar customer service. Well-trained live chat customer service agents will prove indispensable to increase revenue, decrease costs and sky-rocket your company’s reputation. Investing in this technology and in the people managing it would be a very fruitful business decision.

“The future of communicating with customers rests in engaging with them through every possible channel: phone, e-mail, chat, Web, and social networks. Customers are discussing a company’s products and brand in real time. Companies need to join the conversation”. – Marc Benioff

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