One of the vital teams for any business is customer service team – whether the business is small or large. Any support team’s main duty is to communicate with your customers in real-time and solve their issues instantly. Without proper training or knowledge regarding your products or services – onboarding live chat agents can be disastrous. Here is why.
7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service – according to American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer.
You can not just think of your live chat agents as mere employees but they are the faces and voices of your business. A good live chat executive can uphold your reputation right and increase your brand value. On the other hand, if you onboard a bad live chat executive into your team, your customers can have bad experiences with the services. It will directly affect your business in terms of sales and reputation.
Introduction to onboard live chat agents
Your live chat agents onboarding starts from the interview stage, all the way to their achieving of full productivity. Basically your onboarding program functions to help your new hires become invested in the company. If your new hires feel that they are important, you provide them with valuable resources, they will be satisfied and become long time contributing members.
How customer service agents onboarding program can be beneficial?
According to a research, approximately ⅓ new employees look for a new job within their first 6 months.That percentage is even higher among millennial. So, having an effective onboarding program can be beneficial as following:
- Your new live chat agents will become engaged with the company culture,
- The program will help them grow,
- Build a strong relationship between new hires and management,
- Reduce the risk of quick turnover,
- Gain adequate product knowledge to answer customers, &
- Set clear expectations and goals from them including their KPIs.
Here are some tips on how to onboard live chat agents/customer service agents:
1. Knowledge about your product or service
One of the very first tips here is giving them proper and adequate knowledge about your product or service. This will help your onboarding new agents to understand the business. Without proper knowledge of the business they can not satisfy the customers.
A good program will have training on product or service knowledge. These trainings will help your customer service agents to diagnose common support issues efficiently and also they will resolve issues on their own.
Here are some benefits you will see if your a are well knowledgeable about your products or services:
- Increases sales
- Build customer trust
- Making lasting impression
- Helps clearing customers confusions
- Provide quality customer service
2. Train them about your company policies
An effective onboarding program will include the new hires to know your internal policies. Prepare a documentation for all the points you are going to discuss with your new hires.
Share these documents, talk through all the points mentioned in the policy document with them so that your new hires can understand. Possibly set a FAQ session with them, this might feel corporate but it will help them understand how office operates.
3. Let your experienced agents to help 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 program for your new live chat agents. This training sessions will be operated by experienced agents who are able to provide good training.
Also you can assign new hires to work one on one with senior representatives. It will expense some of your senior agents time but those new agents will get the proper training. Hence it will boost their confidence when they go to the field.
4. Establish their metrics & KPIs
Establish clear defined metrics and set KPIs for your agents to achieve. You won’t be able to get the results you want if your agents are not sure what they are supposed to achieve.
You may take this as normal as it sounds but do not think your live chat agents supposed to get that by themselves. A clear communication regarding expectations from them can go a long way.
Here are a couple of metrics and KPIs you can establish for your live chat agents:
- First response time
- Average resolution time
For more on setting metrics and KPIs read our blog on: 11 Live Chat Metrics every Business needs to Measure
You can leverage this situation by challenging your live chat agents what other answers they could provide on a customer’s stated questions. Ask them to position themselves in the shoes of the customers and think the solution from that perspective. In terms of lead generation, this approach is crucial.
5. Make them integral part of the team
Your one of the expectations from those training sessions would be to build a strong relationship with the experienced agents. That will boost the team performance as they will be learning from the top performers. Also integration with the team will improve productivity and success not only in the new hires but also to all.
6. Start with small
Your newly hired chat agents unless they are experienced are learning a lot from their mentors in training and eager to do their job. But take this moment as crucial part of their learning curve. If you hurry and expects them to learn very quickly, things can turn wrong.
Thing is they are just learning the basics. They will surely struggle with unique cases or difficult customer demands. They will need their trainer to solve these matters for the first 1 or 2 months.
For them to become a self-sufficient support agent will take longer time than you think. Start with small duration of support, probably in off-peak hours when the load is less. Give them enough time to gather experiences and know that mastery comes from practices.
Set them with veteran colleagues on a weekly basis on how they are performing from those conversations. You can expect in 6 months these new recruits can answer most things without leaning on to their mentors.
7. Power your agents with right tools
Your live chat solution might have the fanciest features but without proper knowledge of how to operate it can be terrible. Your live chat agents might get confused with the software and battling the tech while troubleshooting with a customer. Can you even imagine the situation? I guess not.
So, make sure they are getting the necessary training, incorporate real-life exercises, give your agents a training-ready version of the software so that they can play around and engage in practices before going live.
The same goes for if you have a CRM tool integrated with the live chat software.
8. Provide them with chat transcripts
Customer service agents onboarding program can be long and exhaustive, especially when performed simultaneously with ongoing responsibilities. But you have to make sure the program is going smoothly and they are getting the right training.
In order to do that, you can provide chat transcripts of seasoned veterans for them to review. These transcripts will not only give them the feel for communications styles but also they will know what types of inquiries they are going to face when fielding.
9. Teach your customers service agents with best practices
Your business might have omnichannel support, offering your customer numerous ways to interact. Each support channel has its own challenges and your customer service agents should be geared up with best practices to tackle these challenges. There are best practices of resolving challenges to provide a seamless customer experience.
There are various support channel and each comes up with its own demands. These are some channels mentioned here that require best practices to give high quality customer service:
- Email – Email-based tickets can be easily solved with proper guidelines.
- Phone – It is technically challenging as your customers can ask any question for you to give answer within a minute or two.
- Social media – very difficult as it requires more training to face customers and the customer interactions are public.
- Live Chat – customers find this channel most satisfying as live chat support is in real-time.
10. Create an onboarding plan
Companies are always looking for fresh talents and having a documented onboarding plan can be helpful. Well documented onboard live chat agent plan can be vital for your team leads and agent by setting specific expectations.
For example your onboarding plan for live chat agents or customer service agents can have following things written on it:
- How long will the program last?
- What will be the KPIs for new hires?
- What is the average customer satisfaction rating?
Onboarding live chat agents or customer service agents quickly and efficiently is as crucial to your customers as it is for your live chat support team and business. By designing a well-prepared, well-crafted and a balanced live chat agent onboarding program your new hires along with your customers, as well as your team will feel the effect instantly, and even years down the line.
For more tips on Customer Service Agents Training for your live chat agents, check out our article: Top 10 Customers Service Training Tips for Your Live Chat Agents.