7 Ways to Make Sure Your Call Center Rep Doesn’t Suck at Live Chat

Want to know the quickest way to lose a loyal customer? Let them chat an untrained call center rep via a chat application. Without the proper training, your call center rep won’t be prepared for using chat applications to provide service…and your customers will know it from the very first typo.

Want to know the quickest way to lose a loyal customer? Let them chat an untrained call center rep via a chat application.

Without the proper training, your call center rep won’t be prepared for using chat applications to provide service…and your customers will know it from the very first typo.

Here are seven major considerations for determining how to get your call center reps up to speed when making the switch to live chat service using live chat software:

1. Make Sure Your Reps are Good Writers

Just because your call center rep has a golden voice and can verbally talk a customer off a ledge doesn’t mean he or she will be able to handle the same conversation using live chat service. The first step in offering superior live chat for website service is to make sure the people providing the live chat services won’t kill your business. Customers will – fairly or not – judge your company based on the spelling and grammar live chat reps use.

2. Make Sure Your Reps are Multi-Taskers

Call center reps are used to providing service one-at-a-time for customers; call center live chat service providers need to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time. One of the big benefits of offering live support chat is that your team can handle more than one customer at a time, which means you resolve more problems faster – as long as you have the people to do it. This requires nimble, quick thinkers who can use live chat software to jump from one conversation to another without skipping a beat.

3. Make Sure Your Reps Can Recognize an Angry Customer

It’s easy to pick up the tone of a verbal conversation. When a click to call customer is angry or frustrated, there’s no doubt about it when they’re talking (or yelling). That same level of anger, frustration or sarcasm is not always as apparent in an online live chat, so training your service reps to recognize the clues and providing them with the language to ensure satisfaction is crucial.

4. Make Sure Your Reps Provide Timely Responses

We live in a world of instant gratification, and live chat service can leave a customer wondering what is happening on the other end of the chat. Live chat service providers must strike a balance between getting so chatty that they slow things down and so quiet that the click to chat customer thinks they’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

5. Make Sure Your Reps can Provide Detailed Responses Quickly

Can your customer service team rub their bellies and pat their heads at the same time? It’s harder than you think, but organization and attention to detail are much more crucial in a live chat environment; reps need to be able to respond to the right client with the right information, quickly retrieving the answers customers need.

6 .Make Sure Your Reps are Fast Typers

Talking to a hunt-and-peck typist in a live chat environment is like talking to William Shatner at the height of his James Kirk performance: the words…come…so…slowly…it’s….infuriating. Solid keyboarding skills and technical proficiency with the live chat software make the difference between a good live chat experience and the kind of experience that has your customer teleporting elsewhere. Providing agents with a list of pre-drafted responses to common questions can also be a powerful resource for your team. They can pull the response and quickly customize it to be relevant to their conversation quickly and efficiently. Training your call center live chat reps how to quickly research answers, toggle between conversations and leverage the tools at their disposal will ensure a successful transition.

7. Make Sure Your Reps Can Finesse Responses

When a customer is already upset over something, the last thing they need is to be pushed off the cliff by a live chat rep who doesn’t know how to finesse their responses. Word choices and language used by the live chat rep can either soothe customers or infuriate them. Those who know how to say the right things may not always know how to type them.

If you’re worried that your call center reps will destroy your plan to use live chat software before its even implemented, never fear! Providing live help to your customers is a different service often requiring a significantly different set of skills, so before implementing live help software for your company, let us help you ensure that your team has received comprehensive live support software training. Online chat software can reduce the cost per interaction& average response times. It can also enhance your ability to provide excellent customer service, establishing a level of attention to your customers they can’t obtain from your competition – but only if it’s done right.

graphic courtesy of blogdramady.blogspot.com

5 Biggest Myths About Live Chat

When I see other live chat vendors saying they can get you up and running in 15 minutes, I think of my friend losing 10 pounds. Yes, technically any live chat program can get you up and running in 15 minutes but it’s going to be messy, extremely short term, and you’re going to regret it

You know what else doesn’t exist? Getting a successful live chat program up instantly.

I had a friend in high school who had to lose 10 pounds in 3 days to make weight for a wrestling match.  Somehow he lost it.  But it wasn’t pretty.  It was extremely temporary. And ultimately he regretted it.

When I see other live chat vendors saying they can get you up and running in 15 minutes, I think of my friend losing 10 pounds.  Yes, technically any live chat program can get you up and running in 15 minutes but it’s going to be messy, extremely short term, and you’re going to regret it.

I wish, even more than our clients, that it truly would just take 15 minutes to get live chat running smoothly in just 15 minutes.

But it doesn’t.

So I thought now would be a good time to pull back the digital curtain and explain the biggest misconceptions, lies, and myths about live chat.

Myth #1:  It’s easy to get live chat set up.  Installing the software is easy. Training staff, writing scripts, mapping out the process, and figuring out how to handle a surge in customers takes time and effort.  The software is worthless without a well trained staff working it.

Myth #2:  If customer service reps can handle calls they know how to handle chats. The tone of a speaker’s voice communicates so much more than the written word does.  Instructions on the phone that sound friendly and helpful can come off as condescending and brusque when typed out.  It is important that reps understand the importance of chat etiquette and being extra polite.   Well written scripts with links for the most frequently asked questions are key, but crafting those scripts takes time and continual editing.  That’s where having a live chat vendor with extensive experience can make a difference.

Myth #3:  The sooner you proactively engage a user the better.   When you walk into a brick and mortar store, you want a salesperson to help you when you actually need help.  Not someone hounding you the second you walk in.  The same holds true with a virtual store.  Immediately asking users if they need help may scare them off. They don’t want to feel Big Brother is watching them.

Myth #4:  Don’t proactively engage users at all—let them come to you.   While you don’t want to scare people off by immediately asking if they want to chat, you want to reach out when they do need help. Granted, this is trickier.  How do you determine when to check in? Some things to look for:

  • Excessive time spent on a product page
  • Large shopping cart values
  • More than 2 search inquiries with no matching results

Web analytics can also highlight pages with a lot of exits (that aren’t a thank you for your order page).  While this takes extra effort, according to Forrester Research, proactive chat can increase ROI 105% over reactive chat.

 

Myth #5:  Chatting is like texting.   OMG! – No.   It’s easy for customer service reps to default to using acronyms and text short cuts.  Especially when the customers are likely doing it themselves.  These are not personal communications though. Your reps are literally representing your company and your brand.  The language they use should reflect that.  Once again, well crafted scripts and examples can help reps get a good feel for the level of formality expected of them

When a live chat program is set up for success, it’s a thing of ROI beauty.  It increases shopping cart amounts, decreases customer waits and complaints, and makes the whole process more efficient and pleasant for everyone.    And I really do wish setting up a successful live chat program was a digital cake walk.  The truth is, however, it takes a lot of work from both a willing and knowledgeable vendor and the client.

Whether your goal is losing 10 pounds or setting up a successful live chat program, the way to do it is with planning, follow through, and going for long term lasting results not fleeting short term ones.

photo courtesy of etsy.com