Some companies decide to handle their live chat in-house - if it’s done correctly, it can be an excellent solution.
One of the most significant problem areas we see with live chat is that the people doing the chatting don’t have any formal training. Often we’ll see someone hired to “do chat” (or someone already on staff being given the task) but thrown into the task with no proper education.
How hard can it be, right? Wrong. You and your staff may be experts in your field and have a great product/offering, but do you know how to delight and engage web visitors by communicating that knowledge in a way they can understand and digest?
If you allow an untrained chat agent to talk to your existing and potential customers, you’re running the risk that they:
Don’t know how to truly use live chat
Don’t have a practical strategy to meet the goals you’ve defined
Don’t have the awareness or process of how to review chats and optimise it
Additionally, someone can be “good with people” or “good on the phone,” but if they’re not using the proper grammar and phrasing, it can create a negative impression of your brand and damage trust.
As you can see, having an in-house chat agent that isn’t properly trained can create a negative experience for your clients and do more harm than good. Handling live chat well is a skill that takes training and practice.
If you’re looking for a place to improve your chat performance, audit the level of training that your chat agents have had.
Live Chat Training Tips for Your Agents
Now let’s talk about two of the most important practical things you can teach your live chat agents, such as rapport building and using the correct language. We’ll provide examples and specifics to equip your team better to do a great job.
Building Rapport and Why it's Important
Think of rapport as genuine, two-way trust. And when it comes to live chat, rapport is the connecting piece that takes a cold, digital connection and makes it human.
Building rapport during conversations helps build familiarity, trust, and understanding. If you connect with the customer, talking to them is easier, and the overall customer service they experience is also better. It makes the chat better for both the customer and the chat agent.
So how can you build rapport? The first way is to understand that your #1 goal is to meet customer needs. You want to communicate to the customer that you understand their needs and position clearly and that you’ll do what you can to help.
Here’s an example:
Customer: “Hello, this is Lynn. It looks like my charges went up by a few dollars this month. Can you explain why? Things are a little tight with a newborn.”
Agent: “Hi Lynn! How are you? I’m sorry to hear that you’ve experienced some unplanned increase in expenses. Let me look into that now. Oh, and congratulations! How’s the baby doing?”
Do you want to improve your chat performance drastically? Focus on building authentic rapport with your customers.
In this article, we share the importance of live chat training and guide you on some actions you can take to train your live chat agents for success.
August 3, 2022
Using the Right Language
Language is one of the most nuanced and tricky parts of communicating– especially when talking to someone through text via live chat. One wrong word, phrase, or punctuation and the wrong meaning can be conveyed to a customer.
Mastering language is one of the most time-consuming and practice-based aspects of how you can improve your chat performance. Here are some tips to take your language to the next nuanced level for incredible results.
Language Basics for Live Chat
Simple and clear is best
Correct word choice is key
Never use words you don’t know the meaning of
Don’t use abbreviations or slang
Don’t be afraid to ask if the customer understands you or has questions with phrases like “Does that make sense?”
Now let’s look at some in-depth principles you should consider when choosing your live chat language. Here they are (and then we’ll discuss each).
Simply put, the most common reason for conflict or misunderstanding is a lack of clarity. By leaving out one specific word or adding another in the wrong place, clarity is lost, and confusion takes over.
Be as accurate as possible. For example, if there are three choices, don’t say “some,” or if shipping to the customer’s location will cost $13.75, don’t say “about 13 dollars,” etc. When choosing your words, make sure it’s the clearest and most accurate way to say something to avoid miscommunication.
When replying, try to do so in a way that provides all relevant details, most briefly and concisely. Don’t add extra words that don’t matter, and don’t try to say more than one clear thought at once. You can also try to remove any information that isn’t necessary (especially when it comes to big chunks of text).
Another trick to keeping things simple is remembering that the shorter the answer, the better. It’s easier to digest and understand, which keeps the conversation moving smoothly. When you keep things simple– but accurate– you also have less opportunity for misunderstanding or complications.
Customers are taking what you say as law and gospel and will base their choices and decisions on your communications with them. This means that in addition to being simple and clear, you want to be accurate and correct, or else those other things won’t matter.
Accuracy should be the most important aspect when you approach any chat. A chat agent is the company's voice, and wrong information can cause a breakdown of trust between the customer and a company’s entire website/digital presence.
Chat agents should have company information that is as current and accurate as possible. Additionally, accuracy should be used when customers provide details such as their name, a specific product they are contacting about, and other information. Agents should take the time to be as accurate with their language as possible.
Training Your Chat Agents is Only the Beginning
Hopefully, you’ve found this article helpful and have practical, applicable tools to help train your chat agents. However, we also want to mention that this just scratches the surface.
Training your chat agents is just one example of how you can optimise your current live chat approach. When it comes to improving live chat performance, there are many things you should be looking at, tweaking, and working to improve. We cover many of these topics in our ultimate guide (don’t worry we walk you through every part of the process.)