managing live chat team

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How to build, train and measure your customer service team for peak performance

The Ultimate Guide to Managing a Successful Live Chat Team

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2.2

4 Fundamentals to Training Live Chat Agents

1. Words, Tone & Body Language

Professional customer service agents understand that successful face to face communication hinges on three key elements – words, tone, and body language. Whilst telephone communication can be difficult because the agent can’t assess the customer’s body language, live chat presents extra challenges as you can neither see body language, nor hear tone of voice.

As a result, attention to wording becomes crucial. Agents need to step up their communication a notch to consider sentence structure, word choice, and conversation flow in building and assessing the intent of a communication.

Pro Tip

Hold a short training session introducing the Mehrabian communication model and asking your agents to consider the impacts of not having tone or body language to help them communicate. Questions to ask include: What problems could arise through relying on just words to communicate with? How could miscommunication occur? How could this be prevented?

2. Live Chat School

Whilst training is critical, the most important part of learning is applying the knowledge you’ve learned in the workplace. As much as 70% of learning occurs through hands-on, on the job work, not through structured training sessions.

Pro Tip

Introduce a ‘Live Chat School’ by setting standards for your team to attain and assessing them throughout the extended training period. Once they hit targets for customer satisfaction, chat length, and/or utilization, ‘graduate’ them to your regular quality assurance program – and make sure to provide them with incentives throughout.

Incentives can be monetary or emotional — for example, through receiving recognition. It was discovered that companies which offer monetary incentives for their staff achieve little financial gain as compared to those who use emotional incentives. Consider what’s really important to your staff as you create a reward plan.

3. Live Chat Scripts

Live chat scripts are a great way to improve efficiency as the agent can simply choose from a selection of scripts in the agent console without needing to type out a whole message. These are also known as “canned messages” and can also help to keep a check on quality control too. This can create consistency for example, by adding scripts that discuss product features without missing any key details, or for giving complete step-by-step instructions on how to reset a password along with the right links.

It’s important for you to acknowledge how important scripts or canned messages can be in increasing quality and saving time. You can also give your agents the chance to think creatively about how they can develop scripts that work well for them too, which they can store as personal canned messages or share with the rest of the team. We have provided you with 101 ready-to-use live chat scripts.

4. Live Chat Features

With the latest live chat technology, there are many features your agents can use to improve the customer experience, as well as improve agent efficiency. For example, a customer

might be having difficulty finding a product. The agent could suggest co-browsing, allowing them to see the same browser screen that the customer’s sees and to interact with it such that they can personally guide the customer to the product they’re looking for. This provides a great customer experience, as well as helping to speed up the interaction and find a faster resolution to the problem.

As discussed in the point above, canned messages improve chat efficiency by a quick search and click instead of repeatedly typing out common messages. It can also enhance professionalism by preventing typos and spelling errors during chat.

Similarly, a live chat platform that utilizes AI can also help improve your agents’ efficiency. Agent Assist is an AI-powered virtual assistant which reads live chat conversations in real- time and suggests answers to your agents from your knowledge base, canned messages, and chatbot intents. Your agent can then select a suggested answer with a click of the mouse, allowing them to respond to customer queries more quickly, accurately and confidently.

Sometimes your agent won’t know the answer to a question. This happens in every organization and is unavoidable. It’s how you respond to this situation that will make you stand apart. When your agent isn’t sure of the appropriate answer, they can flag the question. You can then easily see what question was asked, and particularly if it is being asked repeatedly, you are able to write an answer to it and upload it to your Knowledge Base. When a customer ever asks this question again, this answer will pop up for the agent to click and send.

When used correctly, these features can make a huge difference in customer satisfaction and speed of resolution. However, you need to make sure that your agents know how to use these features and in which circumstances. For example, although video chat may be helpful in certain circumstances, it could cause more problems than it solves in others.

Find out more about intelligent live chat features that will improve your agent and customer experiences in Chapter 5 – Take Your Team to the Next Level.

Pro Tip

Hold a lesson to teach your agents the different features of the agent console in your customer engagement platform, making sure they are comfortable using them. Give them time to practice with one another in role play.

To help your agents understand when it’s best to introduce these features (be it audio, video, co-browsing, remote control, or canned messaging), hold an ‘In their shoes’ training session. Split your agents into two groups and ask them to take the viewpoint of one of your customers. Ask one group to imagine and script the best possible customer experience that could be had while using live chat for a range of real-life scenarios. Ask the other group to script the worst experience which could be had. Once done, ask them to share and question them on their decisions and use of different features to find a resolution.

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