Providing Customer Support Into The Early Hours
I started working with The Chat Shop back in June. For many years I worked in customer service and sales, but mainly telephone and face-to-face support. I’ve never previously worked through online chat, which has been a completely different experience.
As a savvy eCommerce shopper, I knew that my interest in live chat would not only be from an employee perspective, but also from the viewpoint of how I’d like to be treated as a customer.
When I started at The Chat Shop I had the opportunity to work night time shifts, something I’d never done in any employment before, but it fitted my lifestyle perfectly.
As a mum I understand the importance of family and work-life balance. The night shifts meant that I could work without any disruption to the daytime routine and get the best of both worlds! The fact that I didn’t have to travel or leave home was an added bonus. So, I work from my dedicated home office in rural Derbyshire.
The training as a Live Chat Agent at The Chat Shop is always ongoing. I continue to hone in on my passion for great customer service and provide the best possible experience for clients.
You may think that working until the early hours of the morning or on weekends would be lonely, but no, I have a great team who I can talk to. Members of my team are available for a chat and we support each other when needed. My working day would not be the same without this support structure. This means that website visitors can receive consistent, outstanding support into extended business hours.
Often, out of hours service channels offer a reduced service or simply a ticketing system that offers responses days later. To be able to provide the same outstanding level of service, whatever the time, feels fantastic. We provide quick responses and customer satisfaction around the clock.
For me, a typical shift consists of starting work in the evening. I take over from one of my colleagues (some of whom are also working mums). We have a quick catch up and discuss some of the trends of their chat shift. My colleague will also update me on any new client knowledge that they have been provided during their shift, reiterating important information my Team Leader has no doubt already distributed.
It would be unusual for me to receive any new information from a client during a shift, due to them being out of the office by this time. If I do receive important updates about promotions that they are running or scheduled site maintenance (for example), I will message my Team Leader with this information immediately and follow-up with them when I know that they are online.
Many of the people I speak to are professionals who, after a hard day’s work, need readily available support. It’s so rewarding to be able to offer that quick and helpful support. There is often positive comments about being able to contact support outside of the usual 9-5 and the ability to speak with someone who actually has a genuine interest in assisting them.I keep chatting until the early hours of the morning (3am). The extended hours live chat outsourcing that we provide means that I speak to visitors from all over the World, including: the USA, Europe, Australasia, Canada and, of course, the UK. It’s so great to be able to help people who are often surprised that they are speaking to a real person at that time of day. We are also available on the weekend – something which is really appreciated by the customers we serve.
Since customers aren’t trying to quickly sort out their customer service enquiries at their desks, evening website visitors are often more interested in sticking around for a longer chat. We still provide quick responses (since starting at The Chat Shop, some 2,300+ chats ago, I’ve responded to every message within 26 seconds on average) but we also find customers wanting to go off topic and simply have a friendly chat. Of course, we let our personalities shine through with every single chat, whether the customer just wants a quick answer or a conversation too.
My work is constantly evolving as I learn more every day about the work that I do. The number of ways that I can engage website visitors and build relationships with them seems to grow each day. It takes a lot of skill to be able to express personality and tone through a keyboard. Customers can’t see your face or hear your voice, so real conversations are the ‘make or break’ of whether or not you are providing them with an outstanding experience.
It’s important for me to be able to provide the kind of experience that I’d expect as a customer. That means being approachable, listening to the needs of the customer and providing them with the information they require to make an informed purchase. There are many more ways to ensure great customer service and the positive feedback from customers encourages me to serve them to the best of my ability with every chat.
I feel I have come a long way since my induction back in the summer. The time has flown by and I am quite the night owl now!
Looking back to training, I recall the very first test chats and learning how to deliver great customer service through the online platform. Being able to reach customers in a different way and having them reach out to you when they need it.
I don’t think that a shift goes by without me learning something new or finding new ways to better interact with customers. Having somebody who is genuinely interested in assisting you can make the difference between customer service and great customer service. It turns researching, shopping or a returns request into a great experience.
The whole team is always working together to make sure we have all the information we need to provide accurate and effective support. We have extensive resources to solve almost any problem that the customer might face or make the perfect product recommendation for the most specific of criterion.
The crucial element of what makes our chats stand out, what makes our chats into outstanding customer experiences, is the human touch. It’s our individual personalities that create something brilliantly different for the browsing website visitor.
Our personality is picked up by the people that we chat to. These website visitors appreciate the fact that they are speaking to an individual who’s putting their interests first. We want to make sure that the visitor leaves having had a great online experience, and they can feel that.