Customer support is crucial to the success of your business. In order to retain customers’ business, you want to make sure that they are happy and satisfied with your service. In today’s competitive industry, you need to step up and take your customer service to the next level. Statistics from Oberlo say that 84 percent of customers say customer service is a key factor in deciding whether to purchase an item.
Whether it’s via the phone or live, chat support is one of the most preferred channels of communication by customers. Statistics reveal that 73% of customers prefer live chat as a form of communication with businesses. But chat support isn’t as easy as you think it is. A chat support agent needs to possess certain skills to successfully deliver excellent customer service. So read on and be guided about the different skills of a chat support agent.
- Communication Skills
- Multi-Tasking & Problem Solving
- Industry Expertise
- Typing and Data Entry
- Software Literacy `
- Listening Skills
- Positive Attitude
Let’s get into the details.
Skills Of Chat Support Agents
Here are 10 skills every chat support agent should possess.
1. Communication Skills
Chat support involves both verbal and non-verbal communication. Agents must be effectively able to interact with customers even when using a chat box. At first interaction, they must be able to provide comprehensive and straight-to-the-point resolutions and guidelines to avoid repeat contact.
When communicating with customers, you should speak in the language of the customers. Keep in mind that not all customers know technical jargon and acronyms. As much as possible, you should use simple vocabulary to allow customers to understand your instructions and explanations.
Research has found that poor grammar skills can put your company in a bad light. The customer is likely to lose interest in doing business with you if your agent has bad communication skills. A recent study found that 43% of customers consider bad grammar as unattractive. Messy grammar and misspelled words on your email can dilute the message you want to convey on your sales pitch.
2. Multi-tasking & Problem Solving
There are certain occasions when chat support agents may have to serve multiple customers simultaneously. Agents who do not have great multi-tasking & problem solving may get easily distracted and will not be able to deliver effective customer support. In these cases, you need chat support agents who can give each customer an equal amount of consideration.
Effective multitasking means having the ability to switch attention from one task to another. It means being effective with attentional switching. To be effective in multitasking, agents need to be able to finish their train of thought in a matter of seconds. It also requires being great in offloading.
Problem-solving skills, on the other hand, entail being able to get to the bottom of every issue with as little inquest as possible. Agents who are good at problem-solving are able to take their cue from customers and pinpoint the origin or cause of concern.
3. Industry Expertise
A chat support agent needs to be aware of the ins and outs of their industry. They don’t just need to be aware of how their products or service works but should also be knowledgeable about prices, terms and conditions, and temporary promotions. You may have the best problem-solving skills but you won’t be able to provide excellent customer service if you don’t know what you are talking about.
While they can always consult additional resources, chat support agents are still expected to know the product well enough to troubleshoot most technical issues instantly. Even if the product undergoes frequent updates and changes, product knowledge will lead to more effective troubleshooting. The key is for agents to become acquainted with your knowledge base.
By being industry experts, your chat support agents will be able to gain the trust of customers because they know that their questions will be confidently answered by someone who knows their product very well.
4. Typing and Data Entry
Chat support is not just about sending replies over a chat portal. Agents will also input account numbers, personal details, and other pertinent information into a database while maintaining a friendly transaction. Thus, having good data entry skills will make the chat support agent more effective in their role.
Good typing and data entry skills so that the customer will not have to suffer due to incorrect data submission. If the data entered into the system is incorrect, the conclusions can be inaccurate as well. This translates into a bad overall customer experience.
Having impeccable typing skills is essential in being able to deliver the finest customer service. It will help chat support agents to reply as quickly as possible without any grammatical and spelling errors. It will also be helpful if they are also familiar with some keyboard shortcuts when handling documents or operating the software.
5. Software Literacy
As chat support agents, it is important for them to have knowledge of both the platform and the customer database system. Agents do not have to be tech-savvy as long as they have a background on how to use the helpdesk software properly. This can be achieved through comprehensive training sessions.
Chat support agents need to learn how to adapt and master the helpdesk program as well. Newer versions of the program will eventually emerge so they need to be open to new knowledge. Both new and experienced agents should show their willingness to learn the new software.
Technical knowledge of the chat support agent is not just about learning to type quickly and accurately. The efficiency with the software programs entails being able to learn software programs to ensure customer satisfaction. With prior knowledge and the ability for quick learning, agents will be able to complete their tasks more efficiently.
Diligence is another important skill that a chat support agent must possess. There are times when the volume of customer inquiries is uncontrollable and the queues also dramatically slow down. Chat support agents need to be proactive all the time especially if there are inconsistencies in the number of customer queues.
A reduced number of customer chat logs is not an excuse for slacking off and reducing the quality of your work. Regardless of the number of customers in their queue, chat support agents should maintain an excellent work ethic to ensure a successful customer experience.
By practicing diligence, it can help your business respond to customer queries in the soonest possible time. Your chat support agents should be reliable and prepared to assist customers. They should be ready to step in when someone requests for assistance.
7. Listening (Reading Comprehension) Skills
Aside from excellent communication skills, chat support agents also need to be great listeners. Customers call support because they have a problem with your products or services so they need to have the ability to calm down anxious customers. Being great listeners requires empathy and patience when dealing with the customer’s concerns.
Customers have different ways of asking for assistance. Some can clearly and concisely express their concerns while others cannot. Regardless of how the customer interacts, your chat support agent must be able to lend an open ear throughout the conversation.
Chat support agents should be active listeners so as not to miss important details about the customer’s concerns. Active listening can lead to empathy, another important chat support skill. By being an active listener, you are making the customer know that you understand what they feel and are doing everything you can to resolve their problem.
Empathy means putting yourself in the shoes of the customer. By being empathetic, you will be able to understand the issue at hand and pinpoint the source of the problem. You will be able to gauge how the customer feels. When customers are upset or frustrated, they don’t want agents who will only aggravate their situation.
Empathy is a form of active listening. Active listening means being patient with what the other person has to say, even if you do not agree with it. An empathetic listener works to keep the speaker from feeling or becoming defensive. With empathy, you avoid asking direct questions, arguing with what the customer is saying, or disputing facts.
Being empathetic means thinking of yourself as a mirror to the customer by repeating their thoughts and feelings. This should be done in a neutral way to avoid leading them to your way of thinking. Finally, empathy means being mindful of the emotional content being delivered as well as the literal meaning of the words.
Being resourceful means learning how to improvise if the conventional problem-solving skill does not work. Being resourceful utilizes the duct tape technique which allows agents to provide temporary solutions while the other team members look for a viable solution to the current problem.
By being resourceful, the agent is pushed to come up with unconventional ways to solve a problem. Resourceful agents can help lessen the stress and frustration of the customer. However, you need to keep in mind that temporary solutions should only be treated as a safety net while looking for more stable and appropriate solutions.
Resourcefulness should be partnered with creativity. A creative agent means thinking outside the box when devising ways to solve the problem at hand. Creativeness can help transform an irate customer into a happy one. It is also a good way of fostering a more fruitful interaction with customers.
10. Positive Attitude
Having a positive attitude can make a difference in how your day will turn out. Positivity can rub off on the customer as it promotes fruitful communication with them. A positive attitude can help realign your perspective and find opportunities where others cannot. Optimism allows agents to clear their minds more easily.
With a positive attitude, your agents will be able to see the bigger picture and the more intricate information presented with each problem. On the other hand, a negative attitude can affect the mood or vibes within the team. In addition, it might also cause misunderstandings and insults. As a result, a positive attitude can lead to happy customers which means success for your company.
The work of a chat support agent can be stressful and exhausting. Having a positive attitude throughout the day can help with stress relief and presents any undesirable outcomes. More importantly, having a positive attitude can help you control your feelings and help you stay on top of the situation.
Outsource Your Customer Support Functions with airisX
Companies come to us to optimize existing customer support channels and/or to leverage new ones. We focus on incorporating existing processes into your desired channels and help you scale to other ones as your requirements grow.
Email is still the main tool of choice for companies to manage relationships with customers. We’ve handled email support for many companies, from simple ticketing to complex troubleshooting.
Your customers still want to “talk to a human”. We offer voice support in multiple languages and have experience providing voice support for e-commerce brands, marketing firms, app startups, etc.
Give your end-users the option to message you for an instant response, right on your platforms.
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With nearly 100% open rates, SMS/text support is one of the most effective yet underutilized marketing strategies for startups and e-commerce brands. We help our clients bridge the gap.
You don’t want your app users to leave your app to seek customer support – we offer in-app support to assist your customers and reduce attrition.