October 13, 2022

8 Critical Customer Service Skills for Live Chat Agents

When talking to customer service or interacting with brands, consumers are ok with waiting on hold for a maximum of 6 minutes, but usually, the wait times can be 3 minutes longer than that (or more). What customer service skills should the live chat agents have to ensure that the customer service experience is effective? How can businesses ensure an experience up to their clients expectations? 

Well, there’s the live chat option. In fact, 4 in 10 consumers prefer a live chat solution rather than phone or email. It's also crucial to choose live chat agents with the certain customer service skills necessary to provide satisfactory service.  

Read on to find out which customer service skills you need to interview and look for in your future hires. 

1. Communication Skills (Both Written and Spoken)

This skill is going to be essential when it comes to choosing the right live chat agent for your customer service team. They need to be able to communicate well both in written and spoken English (or whatever language your customers are fluent in). 

You might think that this would be easy to discern, but it’s truly not. The problem is that they might communicate well during the interview because it’s an easy one-on-one conversation. But when it comes to a high-pressure situation where the customer is belligerent or upset, then their communication skills might fall apart quite quickly. 

Of course, even if the language is their mother tongue, that doesn’t mean much either. You want someone comfortable chatting with folks from all walks of life, without feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable with it. Someone with varied life experiences would be ideal. 

2. Multitasking Skills

Your live chat agent won’t be chatting with only one customer at one time. They will probably be juggling several customers at once and also typing information into a database.

They might also be interrupted by their supervisors or other colleagues for additional information. Or they might consult with others if they are missing information.

This kind of extreme multitasking isn’t something that everyone is comfortable with. Most folks might say that they are great at multitasking when being interviewed, when it comes to the actual job, they might get overwhelmed soon thereafter. 

3. Empathy

This has become a buzzword for businesses everywhere. Everyone wants to hire folks who are empathetic. But what does it truly mean to have empathy? 

It’s when the live chat for customer service agents can put themselves in the customers’ shoes and truly empathize with their difficulties. They can see that the customer isn’t acting up because it’s anything personal, but because they are going through a hard time and want some solace and resolution. 

The most empathetic customer service agents are also the most successful. They will also have fewer complaints and issues with customers disagreeing or arguing with them.

If you think that empathy isn’t something that can come across during a phone or chat conversation, you are absolutely wrong.

You must have been on live phone calls or chats where you felt like the customer service agent truly cared about getting your problem solved. It’s not that hard to discern even across a piece of technology or software.

4. Problem-Solving Skills

What are your live chat agents trying to do when they are on their calls? Essentially, they are trying to solve the customer’s problems in the quickest and most effective way possible. This doesn’t mean that they should know all the answers or all the ways to solve every single problem that’s ever come up for your customers.

But it means that they should have the innate desire to become problem solvers for your customers, no matter what might come up on the live chats. 

5. Typing and Data Entry

If your live chat agent is a hunt-and-peck typist rather than a touch typist, they are going to have an extremely hard time keeping up with the live chat calls. That’s why, even though this isn’t the first skill that comes to mind, it is one to interview for.

Nowadays, everyone assumes that folks know how to type fast. But most people are more used to typing fast on a smartphone screen rather than typing fast on a keyboard. That’s why this customer service skill should not be dismissed as unimportant. 

They don’t need to type at 100 or 120 words per minute (WPM), but being fast enough to keep up with the customer messages is good enough. Maybe something around 50-70 WPM. 

Related article: How to Use Chatbot-to-Live Agent Transfer Like a Boss

6. Resourcefulness

This might seem like an abstract or ungraspable concept or skill, but it can be quite discernable when watching a live chat agent. Some live chat agents will have this interminable need to solve the customer’s problem.

Not only will they go above and beyond to find a solution to the issue that the customer is dealing with, but they will ask their colleagues or supervisors or search online to pursue the right solution. 

They will also, through this resourceful nature of theirs, be able to figure out what is the best path to take to solve the customer’s solution in the fastest way possible.

There are probably many different ways to solve any customer’s problem, but will the live chat agent find the best and quickest way or not? That’s the real question here.

Through their resourceful attitude, a live chat agent will rummage, tinker, ponder, and finagle a solution to the customer’s problem. They will not rest until they do. This skill is a bit hard to find in customer service agents, but it’s so valuable. 

7. Industry Expertise

Whatever industry your business is in, the live chat agent will need to have expertise in that particular industry to do well in solving customer issues. This expertise isn’t something the customer service agent needs to have in its completeness from the beginning.

As long as they are a quick learner, and have the desire to learn all the necessary industry lingo and information, they can do it on the job. But they will need to have some basics in place before they can be hired, otherwise, their learning curve is going to be so much steeper. 

One way you can help your live chat agents is by having them listen to calls from the best customer service agents so they can start learning that way. Also, having manuals or information kits that you can present to the live chat agent as soon as they are hired can help them as well. 

If your business is in an industry that’s commonplace, then it will be easy for you to find live chat agents with this expertise. But if not, you shouldn’t dismiss great potential hires, because they don’t have industry expertise already. They can gather this expertise on the job. 

8. Positive Attitude

Even though this is the last skill that’s mentioned in this article, this doesn't mean it's not as important or even more important than the others.

A live chat agent needs to have fountains of positive attitude, more and more pouring out no matter what curse words or emotions that customers throw at them. 

Without a positive attitude, the live chat agent will soon become enamored with doubt, anxiety, worries, and other negative emotions, as they take on the negativity and the harshness of some customers. 

Being a live chat agent (or a customer service agent of any kind) isn’t easy. It might be one of the hardest jobs out there. 

But with a positive attitude, every live chat agent will be able to get through the madness and get to the other side. On some days, it might seem like it’s hard to be positive. But without positivity, the customer service agent will quit soon enough and find another job. 

You’ve probably met people like this - who stay upbeat, cheerful, and positive no matter what’s going on around them. They don’t let others get them down. This is the ideal live chat agent. 

One way you can help your live chat agents in staying positive is by offering them the assistance of an AI chatbot agent. This chatbot can take over repetitive boring tasks, allowing the live chat agent to focus on more complex and interesting ones. This will keep their job challenging enough and reduce turnover in your customer service team.

Having a Live Chat Solution Is Essential for Modern Businesses

As modern customers become more hurried and rushed, they want customer service solutions that are almost instantaneous. One way to do this is by providing a live chat agent option (with an AI chatbot along for the ride).

Use the list of skills mentioned above to choose a live chat solution agent that’s best for the role. Don’t forget to take a product tour of our AI chatbot software for customer service. It’s one of the best live chat solutions out there.

Are you looking for new ways to improve your CX?

Our customer service solutions powered by conversational AI can help you deliver an efficient, 24/7 experience  to your customers. Get in touch with one of our specialists to further discuss how they can help your business.