As a live chat software provider, we could have turned this around and tell you all about why you need a great software behind your great people.
There are some great arguments to be made for both cases but today we’ll look at why you need amazing people behind your live chat software.
Let’s jump right in shall we!
Conveying Emotions On Live Chat Is No Easy Job
We’re a bunch of super friendly people at CustomerIcare. You would notice that right away if you walked into our office and we are working really hard to show the same positive attitude on chat.
It’s not that we’re colder on live chat.
It’s because it takes some serious skills to look friendly in writing.
It all comes down to how we show emotions in writing.
I was texting with my mom recently and got a huge case of “text emotion confusion”.
My mom, dad and sister drove from France to Poland to come and see me. When they were about to get to the city I live in, I received a text from my mom saying they couldn’t download the map of Poland in their GPS and asking if there was an easy spot just outside the highway we could meet at.
I sent her detailed instruction on how to get to a parking lot I thought would be easy to access. This was about 2-3 text messages in length, I was proud of myself, and she replied… “Ok.” Yes, with a “.”.
I don’t know about you, but in my world this is not ok. This means I did something wrong.
Well, it turns out I didn’t do anything wrong, and she wasn’t mad. But this kind of confusion happens all the time in writing. We are highly emotional beings and we’ll always look for emotional cues in text.
When using a live chat software or emails for customer service, you need to be aware of that.
I wrote a post about spotting angry customers on chat a while ago and the infamous “Ok.” was included.
So, How Can You Look Friendly On Live Chat?
I know some will disagree with me here but I’m 100% pro emojis.
We use them all the time at CustomerIcare and the experience has been extremely positive so far.
Buffer wrote an entire article on Emojis and their use on social media and work settings.
They cite a study by the University of Missouri-St Louis where researchers compared the effect of emojis in a work environment versus a more casual environment. They sent 2 emails (1 professional, 1 social) and found that, in both cases, people reacted more positively to emails containing emojis.
The sender’s credibility was never affected by their use of emoticons (even when they used 4).
If you stayed away from emojis out of fear of looking less credible or professional, fear no more!
It turns out the majority of studies looking at the use of smiley faces and emoticons in the work place found that it improved communication.
Because we react to emojis as we would to someone’s face expression.
Why Can’t You Just Have An Artificial Intelligence Use Emojis Then?
A.I are becoming more and more capable of reproducing human behaviors but let’s just say we’re not living in the movie “Her” just yet. (Thank god!)
The biggest difference between an A.I and a real person is our ability to take context into account.
Context influences how we communicate and our ability to quickly analyze unwritten cues makes us a lot more adaptable.
That’s why you need a skilled human being to answer phones, emails and live chats.
And that’s why you can’t script customer service!
Another thing that bots lack is memory and the ability to refer to information shared previously in a conversation.
If you work in customer service you know how much people hate repeating themselves or feeling like they were not heard.
A lot of skills required to be a good customer service person are soft ones like empathy or active listening that can’t easily be replicated by a computer.
Technology makes things easier but people are still the ones who make the magic happen.
What Makes A Great Live Chat Agent?
I spoke about A.I, customer service skills, emojis… The main question is, what makes a great chat agent?
There are few things that are specific to live chat. It being an instant, written communication platform, you’ll need people that can think quickly and put complicated ideas into simple words.
We get a lot of general questions and it would be really easy to just answer with a long copy-pasted text but that’s not what chat is about.
One of the most useful skills for a chat agent to have is to be able to explain something clearly in few words. Believe me, this is a lot harder than it sounds.
You need someone who can:
– Read between the lines to get what customers really want
– Research information quickly and summarize it on the spot
– Be organize and follow up with customers when needed
– Able to be focused while multitasking (this one is borderline impossible but what I mean is that you need someone who has no problem switching tasks)
– Has perfect spelling and writing skills
These skills are hard to hire for but not impossible. I wrote about how to build a great customer service team in a previous article. Check it out if you are looking for more info on the hiring process!
Oh, and if you are looking for a live chat software, give us a try. It’s free for 14 days without any strings attached.