According to a recent study, 79% of customers say they prefer live chat over other customer service options. This is a number that’s hard to ignore, and why so many businesses look to add a live chat feature to their website.
Customers have more options than ever before, and if you aren’t able to quickly address their customer service needs, they are likely to go to another business. By increasing your customer service abilities through Live Chat, you can improve the overall customer experience, and in turn generate more sales.
What Is a Live Chat Agent
A live chat agent is someone who uses live chat software to provide high-quality customer service experience. Through one on one conversation, live chat agents can help customers by answering questions, solving problems, or helping them to complete a purchase.
Essential skills every chat agent should have
Being a chat agent isn’t right for everyone. There are some specific skills or qualities you should possess to get the job done right.
#1 – Patience
A key quality for any live chat agent is patience. While some customers will only have a quick question that you can answer in a minute, others will need more time and attention. You may need to answer several in-depth questions or explain things multiple times before the customer understands. A good live chat agent will always remember that their job is about serving the customer, and not to lose their patience if a conversation drags on.
#2 – Positive attitude
Live chat agents should keep a positive attitude and mindset. Even though they’ll be communicating via chat, it’s still possible to tell someone’s attitude just through the text. You want a Live Chat agent who takes pleasure in assisting others, allowing them to remain positive throughout the day. Also, customers won’t always be happy, and you’ll need your live chat agents to stay positive despite the attitude of the person on the other end.
#3 – Effective written communicator
As all live chat conversations are in the form of text, it’s important that your agents are able to easily express themselves through the written word. Instructions and answers need to be clear and understandable. If the agent is not fluent in the language your customers speak and makes spelling or grammar mistakes, it might lead to a poor experience for your customers.
#4 – Ability to think critically
Live chat agents need to be able to think critically to get their job done. Customers will reach out with specific questions they need answers to, or unique problems they need help with. A live chat agent will then have to figure out the best way to serve the customers in a timely fashion. The answer won’t always be simple or right in front of them, so some critical thinking skills are desirable.
#5 – Highly knowledgeable
To provide the best support possible, live chat agents need to be highly familiar with the product or service they are representing. They should take the time to learn everything they can about the product or service, and have this information on hand at all times. If they don’t know the ins and outs of the product or service, they can’t give the right answers to a customer, or they will spend too much time on finding the answer.
#6 – Efficient
As we said earlier, 79% of customers prefer live chat over other customer service options. This means that you will most likely have plenty of people reaching out to your live chat team. You’ll your live chat agents to be quick and to provide help efficiently so that they can move onto the next customer and reduce wait times.
#7 – Tech-savvy
Finally, being tech-savvy is a good skill for all live chat agents. Chat Agents will utilize Live Chat software, along with other software programs like a CRM, to best help customers. Being familiar with technology will help them use these programs quickly and spend less time on each customer.
For example, someone may reach out through Live Chat asking for help with your shopping cart software. Your Live Chat agent will need to be familiar enough with how your website works in order to help, and with your product database to help the customer find what they’re looking for.
How Online Chat Agents Can Increase Your Sales in 2019
Customers want fast response times
According to a study by Hubspot, 82% of customers want an immediate response when it comes to marketing or sales questions.
They defined “immediate” as anything under 10 minutes. For this, email simply isn’t fast enough, with the average email response time at around 12 minutes. Live Chat, on the other hand, allows for questions to get answered in just a few minutes, or even less.
Upselling through live chat
Live chat also gives you a great opportunity to upsell. Because live chat conversations are happening one-on-one, agents can use their judgment to pick the right time to upsell. For example, it’s likely not the best time to upsell right after addressing a customer complaint. But if a customer purchases your software through the help of a Live Chat Agent, and you currently have a discounted package upgrade for that software, that would be a good time to mention it.
Live Chat Agents can take into account things like the reason for the conversation or the tone of voice and use this to determine if it’s a good idea to try and upsell. Upselling is essentially like a return customer – you’re convincing someone to make another purchase on top of their existing purchase, even if that existing purchase didn’t go through yet. And since selling to a return customer costs a lot less than acquiring a new customer, upselling can be a major benefit to your business.
Generating return customers
Speaking of return customers, Live Chat can help you bring people back to your business. Besides costing less, doing business with returning customers have other benefits.
- It’s easier to sell to return customers. The probability is 60-70% for return customers, compared to just 5-20% for new customers.
- A 2% increase in customer retention can result in a 10% reduction in costs.
- A 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25-95% increase in profits.
To get these benefits, you’ll want a Live Chat feature.
One study found that 63% of customers are more likely to return to a website that has a Live Chat feature on it. Live Chat provides a better experience to your customers, and if you provide a good experience, it makes people want to return.
In fact, 82% of consumers said they stopped doing business with a company because of a poor experience.
Finally, with a Live Chat feature on your website, you’ll encourage referrals. Just like a good experience generates more return customers, it also generates more referrals. And referrals are important.
20-50% of purchasing decisions are primarily decided by word of mouth. When referred by a friend, people are 4 times more likely to become a customer. B2B companies with referrals have a 70% higher conversion rate.
To get these reviews, you need to provide high-quality customer service.
83% of people are willing to give a referral after a positive experience with a company.
In addition, you can use your Live Chat to directly ask for referrals. For example, if you have a referral program set up, you can mention it at the end of a successful conversation. Since the customer likely just had a great experience with your Chat Agent, this is the perfect time to mention your referral program.
Example of a successful live chat campaign
While the stats are helpful for understanding how Live Chat can help businesses in broad terms, sometimes it’s better to see a real-life example. Let’s take OptinMonster. OptinMonster provides conversion optimization software, which helps businesses keep people from abandoning their website and instead turn into email subscribers. Originally, OptinMonster was only offering email-based support, but as the business grew, they realized it wasn’t enough.
After adding a Live Chat feature to their website, and then expanding the number of hours it was available, OptinMonster saw amazing results. Their e-commerce conversion rate is 11 times higher when someone uses the Live Chat feature, the average session value is almost 16 times higher, and they have an 85% satisfaction rate with their customers.
How to Hire Live Chat Agent For Your Business
To hire Live Chat Agents for your business, you have a few options. The first is to bring on a team of in-house agents. You would do this the traditional way, for example by placing an ad on local job boards or working with a staffing agency/recruiter. The benefit of having an in-house team is that you have more control over your agents. They would be in the same office as you, so you could monitor their work more closely.
The next option is hiring freelancers. Freelancers are an extension of your in-house team but at a different location. All they need is a computer with a good internet connection. There are some drawbacks when you hire freelances since they are not dedicated to working only for your business. This option might be cheaper, but the quality of service is compromised.
Whether you decide to go with in-house or freelancers, you should spend some time on training. Give them enough of time to get familiar with your product or services, and with any software they’ll be using. It’s also a good idea to go through some trial runs, to ensure your agent is ready and everyone is on the same page.
There is also a third option – outsourcing live chat agents. Outsourcing brings you a lot of benefits for your business. You will get to save time on training and money on hiring in-house, and at the same time ensuring you have a dedicated live chat agent or an entire team. In other words, high-quality service at a fraction of the cost.
How much do support agents earn
The biggest factor you’ll likely consider is the cost, and this can vary wildly depending on which method above you choose to go with.
This doesn’t take into account costs such as insurance coverage and any costs associated with hiring and training the agent. And this is only for one agent – if you need multiple agents, the costs can quickly add up.
On the other hand, if you were to hire freelancers from overseas, you could most likely find agents who only charge a few dollars per hour. The downsides are that these agents may not be as familiar with the way your customers speak, or they may not be available during your customer’s regular business hours.
Ready To Increase Your Sales?
The key to increasing sales is improving your customer’s experience. A live chat feature makes your website more engaging and provides a quick response to any questions, problems, or concerns. With this, you can keep people on your website longer, learn more about them, and ultimately find more prospects.
If you’re interested in outsourcing your Live Chat service, contact LTVplus. We provide a free 30-minute consultation to learn about your needs and answer all your questions. From there we can devise a plan and you can decide if outsourcing your customer service is the right choice for you.