How to Tackle Live Chat: Behind the Curtain of Advanced Customer Service Skills

’m excited to write this post because I get to brag on my teammates for a bit. We’re a pretty stellar support team, if I do say so myself. 

Combined, we’ve developed over 50 years of advanced customer service skills and built a customer service skills resume that includes:

  • 300 active chats each per week
  • A median response time that’s under one minute
  • Average customer satisfaction scores of 4.8 per quarter

And this data only addresses our front line customer service skills, let alone our team’s cross-functional collaboration.

Personally, I have five years of B2B and B2C customer service experience with the past three years predominantly focused on the customer service skills needed for live chat. This experience contributed to my teammates and I creating the pillars of 5-star service that our customers continuously expect.

The Lessonly Customer Service Philosophy

When I was interviewing for this role at Lessonly, I was asked to give an example of a time that I provided great customer service.

I now realize this question is actually asking three separate questions: 

  • What is customer service to you?
  • What is good customer service?
  • Why is customer service important?

At its core, customer service is solving problems, but it’s much more than that to me.

Customer service is the department your customers contact for help. Positive experiences lead to contract renewals, but bad experiences create broken promises and permanent damage to your brand. No pressure, right?

Providing a good customer service experience comes down to 3 important qualities of customer service that go beyond solving problems. These include:

  1. Clear and consistent communication
  2. Empathy and compassion under pressure
  3. Knowledge and understanding of their problem

These qualities create the foundation for the 5-star customer service skills your team will be using when tackling live chat, so without further ado, let’s dive in!

5 Essential Chat Skills to Transform your Customer Service

If you’ve ever experienced the “dinner rush” of a restaurant, then you have a good idea of how fast-paced live chat can be. Balancing 5 to 15 chats is incredibly common, and success doesn’t lie solely in maximizing your multitasking abilities.

Success comes from five essential skills that must be honed and monitored at all times.

1. Response Time

The most important factor of live chat success is your response time. You must establish initial communication with your customer within five minutes or else you risk causing further frustration and anger.

By creating a line of dialogue quickly you:

  1. Disarm any pent up hostility
  2. Enable them to feel at ease
  3. Allow more time for follow up questions
  4. Create better workflows across other chats

You don’t immediately need to know all the answers, but you do need to be quick with communication.

2. Tone and Personability

While the goal of live chat is to solve problems as efficiently as possible, it’s important to remember that on the other side of your screen is a human being, so remember to talk like one.

Fortunately, your company should already have a sense of branding that guides the tone and voice of your entire company. But, remember, chat is more business casual than email. Train your team to be kind, authentic, empathetic, and confident as they’re chatting.

3. Priority Management

Simultaneously investigating complicated issues while handling new chats is what live chat is all about. To succeed, you must prioritize your communication with the customer and what issues you will focus on.

The best way to accomplish this is to:

  1. Respond to any new chats within 5 minutes
  2. If an issue requires further investigation, let the customer know that you will need more time and update them as soon as you learn more.
  3. Any issues that are common or easily solved, resolve them first.

This will allow you to optimize your time and prioritize the appropriate problems for your customers.

4. Resource Management

Starting a chat session without preparing resources is like Batman fighting criminals in a tuxedo. Without his gadgets, he would be at a tremendous disadvantage.

Preparation allows for faster service and a more efficient workflow. While resources vary by company, some examples I keep close by are:

  • Quick access to our User Management system
  • Knowledge Base articles for common issues or FAQs
  • A list of current bugs that are being worked on
  • Slack (for quick collaboration with the rest of my team)
  • Any other frequently used tools

5. Humility and Clarity

Live chat is a game changer for customer satisfaction, but we can only do so much. Some chats require hours of investigation, which causes friction and anger, especially if that’s not in line with your customer’s timeline. 

Unfortunately, you can’t squeeze water from a stone, so just stay calm, kind, and transparent, and provide consistent updates. True customer service is about having empathy and assuring customers that their concerns are heard.

Want CSRs that can nail these five essential skills? 

It’s possible with Lessonly’s training, enablement, and coaching software. We’re helping 1,200+ teams and nearly four million learners master their roles—and your team could be next. If you’re curious, feel free to throw a 15-minute, no-pressure chat on the calendar with us at lessonly.com/demo.

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