Lessons for Effectively Negotiating Online Sales Interactions

Lessons for Effectively Negotiating Online Sales Interactions


The success of sales departments relies in part on chat agents’ ability to connect with website visitors


Did you know 53% of customers say they would rather use online chatting before actually calling a company? Furthermore, 62% of customers expect chat functions to be available when they contact a company from their smartphone. According to research, chat leads the way for people to communicate with companies online, that is when compared to email and social media contact with businesses. It’s no wonder the chat agent’s role is becoming more relevant and more critical than ever.

Businesses now realize that in many cases, the success of their sales department depends on the chat agent’s ability to connect with customers. The chat agent must successfully negotiate customer transactions in order to make sure the business excels. How the agent conducts the chat session may determine several things such as:

  • Does the person go on to make a purchase or not?
  • Does the person disconnect satisfied or discontent?
  • If the person was a current customer, did they get their issue resolved?
  • If the person was a current customer, will they refer new people based on their experiences?

If the chat session becomes negative, the website visitor may disconnect and seek out a competitor’s product and/or services. In addition, they may take their business associates and personal contacts with them. Current clients could become frustrated and take others with them, too.

A chat agent’s position may encompass many roles, including:

Assisting the customer
This could be anything from answering simple questions about a product to helping a current customer understand how to operate a product.

Solve problems: This usually involves current customers who have a problem with some product or service. Maybe the main office is closed and they want some immediate answers or feel more comfortable contacting via chat first. Either way, problem-solving requires a different type of skill set.

Connect with the customerAlong the way, chat agents must connect with the customer in some way or another. Some customers want to connect more than others. The agent who makes the connection personable will stand out in the customer’s mind.

Make a new sale or maintain an existing customerThis may be the most important aspect of the job. Closing the deal and turning the lead into a sale is a skill that requires a careful reading of the person with whom you’re communicating.

A chat agent’s role may evolve from assisting a prospect to closing a sale, that’s why every aspect of their job is so important. Connecting with the customer in an emotional sense will yield a more positive outcome. For one thing, the visitor took the first step in contacting your business so you have an interested lead coming directly to you. Secondly, we know emotional connections are relevant to business. According to Harvard Business Review, humans have the ability to bond with businesses emotionally. Businesses can use this human psychology to their advantage.

So, how can chat agents ensure they are connecting with the people they communicate with every day?

Make sure the customer has an overall positive experience

Agents who communicate via chatting do not have the benefit of using their tone of voice to convey emotion. However, they also don’t have to worry about their tone being misinterpreted. If you chose your words properly, the person on the other end can have a positive experience. When communicating, phrase things positively. For example, instead of saying, “this product is not offered in yellow” say “the product is offered in red, blue, and green.” It may seem like a small change, but it switches the atmosphere to one that remains positive.

Provide the customer with a quick response
People are generally in a hurry and are short on time. If we thought life was rushed in the past, multiply that by at least 2 now. When people interact with a chat agent, they want it to go quickly. Sometimes agents need to look up information before they can respond appropriately. What should they do then? Give a response that simply lets the person know the problem is being addressed. This provides the person with a quick response and still allows the agent time to gather the information.

Take your time
While this may seem to contradict having a quick response, it doesn’t. You want to respond to their needs quickly, but never make them feel rushed. There’s nothing worse than a customer feeling like the agent needs to move on to something or someone else. The customer should be made to feel as if they are the only person with whom the agent has to deal.

Use the customer’s name for a personal touch
Address the person by their first name. This may seem like a given, but can be easy to forget. It provides a personal touch and makes the consumer feel important or recognized in some small way.

Offer additional suggestions or options
Sometimes people contact the business without concrete direction. They need more guidance as to what product or service is best for their need or situation. A good chat agent will notice this and offer suggestions when appropriate without being pushy. In addition, when customers have problems, agents can offer solutions or alternatives for resolving the problem. This type of customer service will go a long way for the business.

The role of a chat agent is fast-paced and filled with responsibility. With the right techniques, agents have the opportunity to make important connections on behalf of businesses and better serve their clients.