Confessions From a Live Chat Newbie

What I Learned From My First Week On Chat

live chat super agentWe’ve all been there… When you walk up to the edge and are presented with the choice – Sink or Swim? As one of the newest members of the SnapEngage Team, my ceremonial initiation took place last week when I took the plunge into the live chat world as a real live agent!

That first day, as I cursored my mouse over the toggle to switch myself to ‘online’ status, I felt an uptick in my heartbeat and a flutter in my stomach. Acting in both sales and support roles, I knew that visitors were going to look to me as their go-to expert on the SnapEngage product, and I by no means had all the answers on my own. So, I did what any resourceful person would do – I used every tool at my disposal to find the answers. What I found was that the chat portal tools armed me with a magic cape that gave me super-agent status!

Here are some of the helpful tools that got me through my first week on chat:

Use the visitor information to your advantage

The chat portal (depending on your settings) contains a lot of powerful information that gives you immediate insight into your visitors, including geo-location, preferred language, the page from which they started the chat, and in some cases the email address (among other robust visitor information). This helps determine the best communication approach and style, along with diagnosing the nature of their inquiry prior to them telling you.

chat portal visitor information

Respond quickly, even when you may not have immediate answers

live chat response timeResponse time is paramount in the live chat world! Visitors are looking for immediacy and as live chat agents, it’s our job to provide that prompt service. When I am notified of an incoming visitor chat (relying on my desktop and sound notifications), I immediately jump over to the chat portal and respond with a simple greeting – my standards are “Hello” and “Hi there”. This immediately lets your visitors know that you are available to chat. I also like to set expectations during a chat. When I need a little time to explore an issue or find a solution, I’ll often say something like, “One moment while I pull up your account information.”; and if it’s taking me longer than anticipated to find what I need, I’ll jump back in the chat and say, “I’m still researching this. Thanks for your patience.” (TIP: You can also use time-saving shortcuts for these canned messages – see below.)

Shortcuts are an agent’s best friend

live chat shortcutsRegardless of how many WPM your agents can type, when you’re juggling multiple conversations simultaneously, time is hard to come by! Shortcuts allow me to quickly answer chats, as well as post responses to common questions or topics without having to spend precious time typing out messages. I also use shortcut commands to navigate visitors around the SnapEngage website using the handy co-browsing feature, as well as electing to save select transcripts into our Help Desk and CRM systems even when an email address isn’t provided.

Use your knowledge base

live chat knowledge base integrationThe SnapEngage knowledge base is the lifeline and secret sauce that took me from intimidated newbie to superstar agent. My go-to solution when trying to explain a feature or troubleshoot an issue is to first run a search query in our knowledge base, which just so happens to be conveniently located right in the chat portal! I owe a lot of kudos to the SnapEngage team for consistent contributions and updates to our documentation – nine times out of ten, I am able to provide answers to visitors’ questions with the simple click of a button. (The knowledge base integration feature allows you to quickly view, paste the link or co-browse your visitors to an article with one click.)

Lean on your team

I’m lucky to have an awesome team surrounding me, so when our knowledge base falls short or I am presented with a very specific inquiry, I rely on my teammates for answers. With SnapEngage’s team chat solution, you can quickly post a question to your team (one-on-one or to a group) – chances are, somebody has an answer!

live chat for teams

Be your (friendly) self

With SnapEngage, live chat is a human interaction, and we like to make our visitors feel that way. I like to take a conversational tone that fosters honest communication while delivering on our customer service value proposition. I use emojis and the occasional “haha” or “lol” when appropriate because sometimes, tone just doesn’t convey the same way in chat.

When I reflect back on my first week on chat, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come in just one week! Sometimes the only way to learn is to hold your breath, dive in and SWIM!