How to Train Agents for Chat Support

Chat Support

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.

Success

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.

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Focus Direct Inc. – Philippines Joined Masskara Festival

Masks

Bacolod City, Philippines is know for Masskara festival which takes place for 20 days from Oct. 1-20. It gives the people of Bacolod as well as the tourist a time to enjoy 20 days of merry making, beer drinking, and street partying. The term Masskara is coined from 2 words: mass meaning crowd and spanish word kara for face. It was coined by Ely Santiago, a painter, cartoonist, and cultural artist who devoted his show in his art of many faces of Negrenses overwhelmed with various crises. Today, Masskara Festival uses the symbol of smiling masks to depict the Happy Spirit of Negrenses despite of the difficulties.

Focus Direct Inc. an outsourced contact center of Focus Services, is located at 22nd street, Lacson which is where the street party is exactly located. During the hype of the festival, Focus Direct Inc. and it’s employees participated in the festivities. The management has it’s own Masskara Bay Making contest.

Masskara Bay Design Contest 004

Masskara Bay Design Contest 012

Masskara Bay Design Contest 006

Camera 360

Camera 360

Camera 360

Friday night, Oct. 18, 2013, the employees wear masks and colorful costumes to join the street party outside with the beat of electro-dance music being played by different DJ’s on the big stage set up in the middle of the street. On the second day, a caravan of the different establishments on the City of Bacolod, Focus Direct Inc. also participated with it’s colorful float and it’s employees marching on the street, giving candies and other perks to the spectators. But the most fascinating event was the paint party held just outside the office of Focus. In these pictures, you will see how amazing the festival and how the employees joined the fun activities.

Day 1:

Outside Focus Direct Inc.

Coffee Break during Masskara

Day 1

Day 1- kae

Day 2:

Parade

Giving candies to kids2

Cody

Paint party with Cody and Landon

Focus Paint Party

And the Masskara continued till dawn. I think you can now guess what happened next morning after whole day of partying.

This just proves that engagement doesn’t just in the form of monetary payment or perks and incentives. Engagement in this particular event is when the management involves themselves with the employees activities. It’s nice to see that the Director down to its employees celebrates together.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

The Human Side of Customer Service

Have you received a call from a very upset customer where you can actually feel the anguish down to your bones even if he/she is not really in front of you? Your customers actually knows that your product or service is not perfect and it’s not what really angers them. It’s no secret that most irate (upset) customers are upset because of long holds, tons of automated messages advertising the brand before they can actually talk to a live person only to find out that the representative they were able to get hold of cannot help them and they need to be transferred to different other departments where they’ll have to explain their concern over and over again. If you’re the last representative to receive the call, then you need a BIG GOOD LUCK because you will suffer the wrath of the universe!

Truths about customer service and call centers

  • 72% of all customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent – Harris

  • 94% of customers do not want to be transferred to another representative more than once – Mobius Poll 2002

  • 84% of customers are frustrated when a representative does not have immediate access to their account information – Mobius Poll 2002

  • 69% said they were on hold for too long – Harris

  • 85% of consumers are dissatisfied with their phone experience – Gartner

  • It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience – “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner

  • Research shows that a 10% increase in customer retention levels result in a 30% increase in the value of the company – Bain & Co.

Now let’s review how we are providing solution to these problems. I’ve seen supervisors and managers who judges their agents by the metrics (Management by Spreadsheet). Brands pressure’s their agents to pass the average handling time which is sad to say, sometimes unrealistic. Encourages their agents to empathize to their customers by providing them word for word scripts and punishes them when they do otherwise. Highlights the importance of first call resolution but fails to provide all the information that their agents need.

You mights say I’m a little pessimistic especially for someone who works in a call center but do you think the customers dissatisfaction mentioned above just sprang up from nowhere without any reason at all? Contrary to what you maybe thinking, I love my job, I honestly do. What I am saying is that there are loopholes in the current customer service process and those holes will continue to get it bigger and bigger if not solved. Customers are getting more and more upset each day for those who continuous to be adamant in the matter. But for those who will get it right will surely gain a lot of loyal customers and brand advocates and will be the next big thing in the world of business.

Today we have a lot of crm systems and call center software’s that provides huge amount of data that will enable us to predict customer behavior, develop better trends and practice in customer service, strengthens our workforce management strategies, provides real time performance data, suits our business needs in a lower cost, etc. There are also huge amount of information circulating online on how to retain customers and attract new ones. Like reward your loyal customers. Give them freebies and perks for signing up to you and a discount if they renew their contract. Don’t make it difficult for your customers to contact your customer service department and make sure you have enough representatives to help them with their concerns. It may cost your business a little but as a marketing strategy, it’s free! I’m sure you would really love to see more customer advocates that refers your product or service to their friends and relatives like you’re more controversial than Gossip Girl. And all these because your customers know that YOU never stop trying to provide the best customer experience to them.