How to Train Agents for Chat Support
28 / Apr / 2014
By Cheyserr de la Cruz
Multi-tasking agents are one of the advantages of using chat as a support channel. A well trained phone agent can also be a chat support agent and can often manage several sessions simultaneously. But most importantly, chat support channel is another way to provide assistance for customers who might be multi-tasking themselves or just don’t like to use other channels. The upside can be huge if chat is implemented correctly. So how do you train agents for chat support? Here are some simple but important tips.
Make sure your agents are good written communicators.
Chat adds a whole new element to communication. The verbal cues are no longer there to read. It is very important for an agent to always maintain a neutral or happy tone in their writing. It is very easy to come across as rude or annoyed through chat. There have even been companies that have employed the use of emoticons just to convey emotion and keep it light.
Typos need to be limited, it is okay to have a few, but they need to be kept to minimum. You want to instill confidence in the customer that they are dealing with a professional. Avoid using slang and abbreviations. They need to be very clear and descriptive without taking up too much time.
Train your agents to be empathetic. Even it’s only on chat, it is important that you humanize your approach with your customers. Ask your customers on how they’re doing and empathize if you have to. You can template your responses so it’s easier, just copy and paste. Having multiple response options to choose from will make for a more engaging experience for customers and let them know that they are talking to a real person on the other end.
Train your agents how to effectively navigate the tools.
Using chat support will unavoidable result in idle time. This may occur while waiting for a response from a customer or when dealing with technical accounts. While waiting for the customer to finish the troubleshooting steps, agents can use this time to reply to emails or check customer data. It will be helpful for your agents to be familiar with the tools to help them save time by not second guessing what to do next.
You will also want to make sure they have a library of content and links at their fingertips to offer to the customer. The quicker they can provide these, the happier the customer will be. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or as advanced as a marketing platform software like Marketo. Whatever the method, it is vital to be organized and have a system to quickly retrieve it.
Trainyour Agents how to be multi-taskers with chat.
Train your agents to be proactive. Train them to use the idle time waiting for the customers’ response to check customers’ records (notations on previous chat sessions or previous call). This way, you’ll have more information about your customers, information that might help you resolve customer concern, especially if the issue is same as before.
Carrying on two to three chats can really lower ATH with each customer. This is a great way to triple the bang for your buck.
Note: Companies should make the customer data readily available across channels (whether it’s through phone, chat, social media, or self-service channels). Customers don’t like repeating themselves even if they are using a different medium than what they’ve already used before.
Things to consider…
If you still doubt the productivity and profitability of having a chat support channel for your business, consider this: your chat support agents can deal with several customers at a time, something they can’t do on a voice support channel. With a small amount of training, the benefits can be huge. It is critical that companies adapt the latest trends, and history has shown that chat isn’t going anywhere soon.
If you have suggestions on how to train agents to be effective chat support representatives to improve customer experience, feel free to comment below. We welcome all suggestions.