8 Critical Customer Service Skills for Live Chat Agents

Top live chat agent skills

Customers feel happy and satisfied when businesses reach out to them in a quick manner. They generally prefer to stick with a brand that provides them good customer service. 

51% of consumers will probably buy again from a company that offers live chat support. 

In order to maintain excellence with live chat support, your business needs a trained team with a great understanding of the chat software and the ability to impart a human touch to customer communications. 

When trained agents are behind the software, it becomes easy to add value to chats and deliver great customer service experiences. 

Live chat agents also need to possess the right kind of skills to handle customer queries better and ensure efficiency with the chat software.  

 

Live chat stats

 

Top skills for live chat agents to provide great customer service

Live chat agents are always at the frontline of customer service experiences. Their task goes well beyond just creating transactions as brands rely on them to foster positive experiences. When agents are skilled, it always creates good live chat support.   

There are a great variety of skills for live chat agents need to possess in order to provide great customer service.  

  1. Become a Subject Matter Expert (SME)
  2. Familiarity with customer support etiquettes
  3. Excellent writing skills
  4. Mastery over resolution time
  5. Ask for customer feedback
  6. Manage your customer support workload
  7. Open to new ideas and information
  8. A touch of empathy

Let’s dig into each of the skills in detail:  

1. Become a Subject Matter Expert (SME) 

44% of consumers have reported receiving the wrong answer from a customer service representative.   

And wrong answers can often cause a bad customer experience.  

To avoid that situation, customer service agents need a good understanding of the product and live chat skills for superior customer handling irrespective of the channel they choose to handle queries.

A live chat agent must also have an in-depth knowledge of the entire process and flow to help customers at any step of the purchase cycle and be able to convince them. 

Unless agents are experts in their field, they will find it difficult to either maintain live chat best practices or troubleshoot in an efficient manner. 

Subject matter expert (SME)

How to become an SME? 

  • Product knowledge – Always stay informed of the regular updates and changes with the product and service to do the job without facing any hiccup.  
  • FAQs – Get a better understanding of the FAQs to know what customers are interested in most of the time.  

2. Familiarity with customer support etiquettes 

The emphasis of great customer service is always to treat customers well and exceed their expectations. Your business just does not engage customers but also builds strong relationships. 

42% of consumers switch brands due to rude or unhelpful staff. 

When live chat agents follow the proper customer support etiquette, they are able to establish a professional tone with customers and deliver service within the required limits of standards.    

Excellence in customer service etiquette can distinguish you and give you the edge over your competition.  

Your service agents need to be familiar with the main principles of live chat etiquette so that they are able to communicate with customers to build a strong rapport.  

Customer service agent skills

How to familiarize agents with customer support etiquette?

  • Be transparent about your products – Customers always expect brands to deliver them transparent information about brands and live chat agents need to fulfill that goal. 
  • Personalize your conversation – Connect with customers at a personal level and make them feel special at every level of interaction.  
  • Non-intrusive approach – Live chat agents need to respect the privacy of customers and they must avoid asking questions related to sharing of personal information. 

3. Excellent Writing Skills 

Writing is at the core of customer communication when brands interact via live chat software. So, good agents should always possess a fine understanding of different aspects of writing, be it the language, selection of words, tone, and style.  

Live chat agents should also be prepared to answer in a way that simplifies things without using complicated technical jargon. Possessing great writing skills means having the ability to select worlds in a way that messages are easily clear to customers. 

Best practices with writing skills 

  • The purpose of writing for a live chat agent is to make obvious to others what is to them, without using pompous words and needless jargon.
  • Always focus on using the correct grammar and punctuation without having typos. 
  • Keep the flow of conversation formal without using phrases, slang, or colloquialism. 
  • Follow simple grammatical structures and avoid sophisticated vocabulary to better serve customers with all levels of language understanding.  

4. Mastery over resolution time

Customers always expect a quick response. They wish to be engaged on an immediate basis and if that does not happen, they feel frustrated and may switch over to your competitor. 

In order to attend to customers quickly, agents have to learn how to keep the response time as low as possible. 

After all, 66 percent of consumers feel that giving value to their time is the most important thing brands can do for them. 

Keeping the conversation short and having the skills to handle multiple conversations simultaneously will always prove handy for live chat agents. 

The key is always to have a sense of time so that responses are quick and customers are not made to wait longer than the norm.  

Live chat response time

Tips for live chat agents to improve resolution time

  • Chatbots – Your business can use AI-powered chatbots to automate queries and improve the response time for customers. 
  • Routing – Customer queries can be routed to the right agents across departments to keep the response time as low as possible. 
  • Canned responses –  Live chat agents can send pre-defined or canned responses to customers’ queries and maintain a good response time. 

5. Ask for customer feedback 

For every customer who decides to complain, there are 26 other customers who will remain silent.  

Your business needs to have a robust feedback mechanism in place to understand customer responses better. When live chat agents follow the practice of asking customers for reviews, this gives a clear understanding of areas to improve. 

More importantly, feedback can play a key role in measuring the efficacy of different processes and systems. And based on customer response, you can always make timely and relevant changes to ensure value to customers at each step of the way. 

 

Customer feedback

 

How to ask for customer feedback? 

  • Post-chat survey – Using a post-chat survey is one of the best ways to gather customer feedback and solicit a genuine response from customers. 
  • Chat ratings – Live chat agents need to have the skills to always request customers to rate the just concluded chat and gain a quick peek into the minds of customers.  

6. Manage your customer support workload 

Customer support can be challenging at times. It can test the resolve of even the most accomplished team in the business. 

Since live chat agents are always at the forefront of customer engagement, an excessive workload can demotivate them and force them towards a cycle of negativity. 

So, the support team not only needs to learn the art of managing multiple chats at the same time but also learn how to collaborate with other colleagues and how to transfer complex chats to the right agents.   

Best practices to manage customer team workload

  • Multitasking – Live chat agents need to be trained in having multiple chats together and schedule their tasks in a timely manner to keep the workload to a minimum possible level. 
  • Chatbot – Chatbots can be trained to anticipate customer needs and provide relevant answers. Bots can be used as the first point of contact to make human handovers for complex issues.  
  • Analytics – The use of analytics can give you an insight into agents’ activities and performance and based on that, you can manage their workload and assign more help if needed.  

7. Open to new ideas and information  

Customer support is a dynamic concept. It means your customer team should never feel complacent and be always ready to face different challenges at the job.  

Trained live chat agents are always open to new ideas and information to serve customers efficiently. A mindset of learning goes a long way in being true to the time and managing customers at their own pace. 

Tips to stay open to new ideas  

  • Bolster your product knowledge – A customer support agent must always focus on having a better grasp on the product, its updates, and changes to manage customer queries without facing any issues. 
  • Up-to-date with the latest software – Technology keeps changing and it’s important for an agent to study new software updates and find different ways to offer quick responses to customer queries.   

8. A touch of empathy 

Empathy is one of the integral chat handling skills and necessities of customer service. If live chat agents don’t know how to be empathetic and put themselves in the customer’s shoes, they will never win the trust of customers. 

The focus should always be on showing value to customers and adopting a humanistic approach to handling. 

The real utility of live chat software is realized when the agents on the other side adopt a human touch and combine it with standard live chat tips to make customers feel special. 

Best Practices of How to onboard customer service agents  

Finding the right set of people to interact with customers is always important. Your business can never grow beyond a point unless you have the trained chat support agents who can effectively communicate and use the technology in an ideal way. For that reason, you need a proper onboarding program for your chat support agents to nurture and groom them for the challenges. 

Your business needs to follow some of these tips to onboard chat support agents. 

  • Create an onboarding plan – Having a well-documented onboard chat agent plan can be vital for setting the benchmarks for new hires and deciding their KPIs for new hires. It will give you a direction to decide how to get the most out of the support team.  
  • Train support agents about your company policies – An effective onboarding program will include the new hires to know your internal policies. Prepare documentation for all the points you are going to discuss with your new hires. 
  • Let your experienced agents onboard new agents – More experienced live chat agents can train new agents as they tend to know your products and services better. You can set up weekly recurring live chat agents training programs by experienced agents to provide good training to new hires. 
  • Power your agents with the right tools – Make sure your chat agents are getting the necessary training, real-life exercises with live chat scripts, and a training-ready version of the software so that they can play around and engage in practices before going live.
  • Teach your customers service agents with best practices – Your chat support agents must be familiar with the best practices of resolving challenges and giving customers a seamless experience. This will ensure value to your omnichannel support and prepare your agents for challenges along the way.  

Leverage the skills of live chat agents for exceptional customer support   

Live chat is key for brands in adopting an omnichannel strategy. With trained agents, it becomes easy to utilize the software fully and give a human touch to support. A good support team, therefore, needs to have the right skills of the subject and a sense of timing with resolution time to handle customers efficiently. 

By having skilled live chat agents, your business will be able to deliver great customer service and meet its different KPIS successfully. So, make sure you have the right system in place to benefit from the expertise of live chat agents and redefine your customer service.  

Snigdha Patel
Author’s Bio

An avid reader, eclectic writer, blogger, and content writer by profession at REVE Chat, Snigdha Patel endeavors assiduously to understand complex support channels and provide information regarding them through comprehensive blog posts.

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