Developing customer service skills is important for any customer support or customer experience team – but what skills are specific to success with live chat?
General skills might include patience, courtesy, product/service knowledge, and the ability to understand and articulate information using a variety of phrasing, as appropriate to the individual customer’s preferred nomenclature.
Customer service skills specifically valuable for staff working live chat should include time management, speedy typing without errors, familiarity with what can be found where on your website, and an attention to language for possible alternative interpretations of tone.
Getting Live Chat Customer Service Skills Right from Day One
Your profitability depends on cultivating delighted customers—the sooner you can align your customer service processes to achieve this, the more successful you’ll ultimately be. Live chat will definitely help with initial customer service response time, but ultimately your team’s customer service skills will determine whether a customer’s overall experience is exceptional or mediocre at best.
Though every company wants to profit from retaining happy customers – it’s particularly important for SaaS vendors and ecommerce sites (read more here). In the case of SaaS companies, their business model is built on the premise of recurring revenue. In the case of ecommerce businesses, longer-term customers are more likely to spend more. Coupled with the fact that research shows that the first 3 years of revenue from an ecommerce site can be a critical predictor for the overall profitability of that site, retaining your early customers is essential.
Live chat brings efficiency to your customer service organization, allowing a single representative to serve up to four customers simultaneously. While businesses love this efficiency and customers love the immediate access to assistance, if the only value your customer service team has to offer is initial response time, you’re in trouble. Slow response time can be a non-starter, but fast response time is not sufficient on its own.
Why Live Chat Customer Service Skills Matter
As mentioned above, time management, fast and accurate typing, familiarity with your business’ website, and tone are four key customer service skills you’ll want to help your live chat reps develop. While other skills may be relevant to your specific business as well, these four are more or less universal.
- Time Management – of the multiple customers the rep is engaging via live chat simultaneously, who needs the most immediate response? Has the conversation reached a point close enough to resolution that the rep can take on one of the customers waiting in the queue?
- Fast, Accurate Typing – though your reps should make good use of (and help inform) pre-made messages, those won’t (and shouldn’t) be exhaustive of every response your reps will need to offer. Moreover, you might consider empowering your reps to personalize these premade messages somewhat, so the customer feels like they are working with a real person – fast typing, without typos, is relevant for personalization as well.
- Website Familiarity – many requests your customers will ask of your live chat team are not quick or premade responses but could be easily answered by directing the customer to a relevant page on your website (e.g. return policy, pricing page, etc.). By continuing to engage the customer via live chat (“do you have any further questions I can help you with?”) after directing them to the relevant URL, you are ensuring timely, professional service.
- Tone – tone is not as easily conveyed through fast-paced, digital communication as it is through phone or email, so reps will need to be mindful of alternative ways their own responses might be read. The same is true for interpreting a customer’s tone correctly – this can be particularly useful for understanding when and how to defuse a situation.
Experience Live Chat Customer Service Skills in Action
Interesting in learning more about live chat? Check out our team’s live chat customer service skills by clicking here.