Web Chat Techniques for a Customer Service Agent

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  • 0:04 A Glance at Web Chat
  • 0:39 The Beginning of the Chat
  • 1:12 Best Practices in Web Chat
  • 2:43 Using Your Resources
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Customer service agents handling web chats need some specific skills and tools to be effective in that role. In this lesson, you'll learn more about handling these chats, from first greeting to resolving the problem.

A Glance at Web Chat

Alicia is on her favorite e-commerce site reading reviews for the purchase of a new coffeemaker she is considering. She thinks she's ready to make her purchase, but first she has a question about a particular part of the company's shipping policy.

Rather than calling them and sitting on hold or emailing and waiting hours for a response, Alicia taps into the quick web chat feature right in the lower left corner of the e-commerce site. She is connected to a representative within minutes. This lesson will detail how the rest of the conversation went.

The Beginning of the Chat

Alicia is welcomed to the chat with this greeting: ''Good afternoon, Alicia! My name is Andrew. How can I help you?''

In his initial response, Andrew gets a few things correct right off the bat. He issues a friendly greeting (''Good afternoon''). He is casual but not too formal; he personalizes the conversation by addressing Alicia by name, and he offers his own name in return. He sounds natural and real, not at all robotic like Alicia imagined.

Best Practices in Web Chat

As the conversation progresses, Andrew uses a few other tips he's learned about effectively communicating with customers.

First, he's professional and friendly and speaks in a conversational tone. It is a chat, after all! He asks Alicia for her verification information only once because customers don't like having to confirm details multiple times, and he carefully reads Alicia's question to identify her concern.

Andrew confirms that he understands Alicia's question by asking a couple follow-up questions of his own. He uses short responses to let Alicia know he's still engaged in the conversation, which helps keep her updated and engaged as well.

One of the most important features of web chat is the ability to handle an issue or question fast and effectively. Nearly half of the people who use live chat say they prefer it because it's quick, so it's crucial that Andrew handles Alicia's inquiry with speed.

The best way Andrew does that is by staying on task and avoiding too much small talk and delivering short, quick responses. He asks one question at a time so things don't get confusing, and he relies on concise and simple language that gets straight to the heart of the matter.

Once the question is identified, Andrew is able to explain the issue and its solution simply but with as much detail as possible to arm Alicia with all the information she might need.

Using Your Resources

A great way for Andrew to deliver a quick and simple solution and convey it effectively is by making use of the tools and resources available to him.

Resources and Tools

The availability of a knowledge base, a central location for important information, helps Andrew quickly send links to articles and details that will help Alicia make her decision. It spares Alicia from a lengthy response that will take Andrew a long time to type. Another good place he can direct her is to the appropriate FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on the company's website.

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