6 Crucial Customer Service Skills for Live Chat Agents


May 27, 2020

Written by

Jeslen Bas-ilan

Having live chat software on websites can seem like an easy feat. All you have to do is install and go. However, the underlying work involved in ensuring the successful operation of live chat software is not as easy as it seems. The people behind this automated work is a different story.

Initiating chats with customers is not that simple. Live chat agents should be especially skilled and possess the necessary training and background entailed in live chat customer service. They must keep in mind that providing customer support does not end in merely answering phone calls or messages from the clients. Rather, the goal is to retain these customers and contribute to converting potential leads into long-term paying customers. 

One of the crucial roles of live chat agents is to complete transactions with customers on the business’s website. This also includes the pressure of acquiring new customers while maintaining existing ones. Studies have shown that using live chat to acquire new customers is six times more expensive than when it is used to retain old and regular clients. As such, the only way to retain a customer is to consistently deliver highly satisfying assistance at all times.

Here are five of the most crucial qualities and skills that live chat agents should possess. These qualities and skills are instrumental in maintaining a good relationship with customers and ensuring quality customer service:

1. Knowledge and Familiarity

First and foremost, a live chat agent of any company must know the identity of the company, along with the products and services that it offers. Knowing what the business all about makes live chat agents more capable of representing the company competently.

The way they handle their conversations with customers reflects their familiarity with the products they are trying to sell. The presentation of products is a big factor in the decision making of customers. If a live chat agent is able to exhibit extensive knowledge about the company and the product that the customer is inquiring about, then it gives off the impression that the agent is an expert and their field and is therefore someone that customers can trust and rely on.

2. Extensive vocabulary and excellent communication skills

The most essential and pivotal trait of a live chat agent that will help them succeed in their career is good communication skills and eloquence. In any endeavor that requires communicating with other people, proper choice and use of words are very important. 

A simple tip for live chat agents is to use simple yet engaging language. Conversing does not require highfalutin words; what’s important is the client is able to relate with and understand the information provided to them. This is especially true for new customers. If they encounter a support representative who excessively uses technical and complicated terms, there is a high probability that interested customers may lose engagement and find someone else to do business with.

Live chat agents must be effective speakers if they want to capture and retain the attention of their customers. As the frontline officers of the business, communication skills are key in successfully embodying the company. Remember to use positive language and maintain professionalism at all times to avoid unnecessary conflicts with customers and ultimately boost customer satisfaction.

3. Responsibility and Truthfulness

It is also equally important that agents take responsibility for what they do and be truthful at their utmost capability.

Mistakes are inevitable in any job, even if a person does everything that they knew would be best. As for being a live chat agent, there are some isolated cases wherein things don’t always go as expected or queries are not addressed properly. During such circumstances, the agent must be responsible enough to take a step forward and guide the customer or the conversation back to the right track where no one is on a more advantageous path than the other.

Building trust is a challenge for online businesses. While live chat enables businesses to interact with customers, it is not the same as speaking with customer service representatives in person. The only way that online or eCommerce businesses can build trust is to make customers feel that the person they are talking to is honest and sincere with what they do. One way to achieve this is by prioritizing customer’s privacy and asking for their feedback on where the business can improve.

Achieving a strong and positive image and reputation for the business requires extra time. But, with the consistent efforts of live chat support agents, customer pain points can be addressed more efficiently and the desired results for the business’s marketing strategies become more attainable. While small and initial successes may not be recognized at first, persistence in delivering reliable assistance will eventually aid in gaining loyal customers. 

4. Work Ethics and Discipline

A common expectation from live chat agents is that they are able to handle multiple accounts or conversations simultaneously with the shortest amount of response time available. People are tired of long responses when inquiring about a product and want an immediate response.

Thus, increased productivity should be expected especially when live chat is implemented with the use of the right software. Response time is correlated with the rate at which customers abandon ongoing conversations on live chat. The higher the response time, the higher the abandonment rate. If agents are able to respond to customer queries quickly, it will surely help boost the sales of the company.

In truth, the trick to achieving fast response time is quite simple albeit it needs a little effort. Before going to work, agents must make sure that they are mentally ready for their tasks. Their mind must be conditioned to stay focused and avoid distractions at any cost.

Another tip and this applies not only for customer service but for any departments as well, is teamwork. Live chat agents must always keep in mind that they are working in a team if they want to aid in reaching the company’s core goals. Whether an agent is assisting one or multiple customers, there should always be teamwork and cooperation with all the different departments in the company. For instance, a customer’s query may involve the assistance of someone from sales or IT.

Live chat agents should also learn how to determine when a conversation or customer concern should be escalated to a higher tier of customer support or to a different department. There are also customer messages that go awry, hence, the need to abandon it. Also, if there is a problem that a particular agent cannot solve, they can always turn to their teammates to ask for advice.

5. Patience and Problem-Solving

Surely, even live chat support agents have had their own share of “customer service horror stories”. It can be especially challenging to handle conversations when emotions are running high. Often, customers are frustrated about how a particular service is carried out, or if they feel that a product failed to meet their expectations. When this happens, the demand for a corresponding action that will satiate their dissatisfaction increases.

Customer service entails a great deal of patience on the part of the agents. It is their job to provide solutions to customers and address their concerns, sometimes even at the cost of testing their limitations and breaking point. The rule of thumb in customer support is, no matter how impatient or enraged a customer is, a skilled and professional agent must be capable of keeping their composure and practicing a high level of tolerance.

Additionally, solutions or answers must be presented calmly and professionally. Customers are expected to bring in questions and there must be answers for it. Problem-solving requires wisdom with efficiency. Some queries may seem extremely similar at first glance. But, live chat agents must be able to get to the bottom of every issue with as little inquest as possible. Effective problem-solving means determining different cues from customers and pinpointing the origin or cause of their concern.

6. Empathy and Social Skills

Speak their language, share their pain, and make them valuable: These are all essential parts of building a good and solid relationship with customers. Seeing things from the customer’s perspective can help in determining the appropriate answers to their questions. During special occasions, it is also a plus to send personalized greetings or gifts to highlight how the company values each and every customer.

Customers appreciate it when support agents make an effort to connect with them. It shows that the company is people-oriented while serving as a reminder to all that the services are carried out by a person just like them.

Live chat communication may not involve personal interaction with customers, but it holds just as much power as a one-on-one interaction or a phone conversation does. When executed with professionalism and efficiency, it can unlock multiple opportunities for the business.

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