Live Chat Agents Are Now Part of the Frontline in Sales and Service

Before 2020, many businesses viewed the live chat feature of their website as a “nice to have” component of customer service. The global pandemic and lockdowns, however, changed that thinking overnight.

Now 75% of people prefer live chat over any other channel, and the global live chat software market is expected to grow to $987 million by 2023, according to Chris Petrov of Tech Jury.

Although AI-based chatbots are handling basic customer interactions, the demand for qualified live chat agents has exploded. The increasing shift to online interaction means an increasing demand for skilled chat agents.  These agents are required to quickly and accurately process and comprehend large amounts of information to problem solve. It seems everyone is scurrying to find the best talent to engage customers online with the right blend of courtesy, responsiveness, and writing skills.

Yet, pinpointing the best people for live chat roles has been challenging. Existing contact center  screening tools often miss key aspects of the job, like effective use of grammar and spelling; and keyboarding or live chat typing tests miss the customer service component.

So what should you look for in an effective chat agent, and how do you identify and develop the best?

The Best Live chat Agents Share These 5 Qualities

1. Create a personalized, high-quality service tone

Like any frontline sales or service job, a chat agent’s focus must always be on the customer experience. Is the agent courteous and friendly? Do they make the customer feel like they’re interacting with a real person – or a chatbot? Effective chat agents easily connect with customers, interacting in a personal, conversational style.

“Customers don’t want to be treated like a ticket, and they don’t want to have to call a contact center, either. They want quick, effortless help in a way that makes them feel human.” – Anna Murphy, Editor, Intercom


2. Multitask to quickly find and provide the correct information

Nothing is more frustrating than receiving a series of canned chat responses that neither answer your question nor solve your problem. Efficient chat agents ask questions to ensure they understand. They quickly locate the right information and respond in a way that’s easy to grasp. Keeping messages short and to the point, they focus on providing as much relevant information as possible – even when managing multiple chats.

“Live chat is an excellent channel to educate your customers. If you can do it as part of resolving their issues, then that is a double win.” – Aaron Chichioco, writing for Usability Geek


3. Respond quickly to avoid long pauses during chat chains

When you have a pressing question, waiting online for a response can feel like an eternity. Great chat agents don’t leave customers dangling. They leverage flexible templates and resources, personalizing them to ensure quick, customer-focused replies. Of all the customer service success metrics, quick resolution is at the top – even ahead of friendly service.

“According to consumers, the top three factors that make a great customer service experience are:  1) Issues resolved quickly – 82%, 2) Single interaction resolution – 56%, and 3) Friendly customer service agent – 45%.” – Snigdha Patel, REVE Chat


4. Use correct grammar and spelling

Timely, courteous responses are important. But when it comes to your company image, nothing damages your brand faster than embarrassing grammatical and spelling errors. The best chat agents write clearly and concisely. They avoid technical jargon and check for correct spelling and grammar before clicking Send.

“Poor grammar obscures or even changes meaning sometimes, which can result in misunderstanding and bad outcomes. In conversation, reliance on slang or non-standard grammar can create an entirely wrong impression.” – James Tenser, principal at VSN Strategies, as cited by SHRM


5. Handle multiple chats simultaneously

No one said the live chat job is easy. While all frontline service jobs require personnel to be friendly, responsive, helpful, and professional, live chat agents must deliver on all of these – while at the same time managing multiple chats with multiple customers. Top agents appear to do this with ease!

“The best chat agents are able to handle multiple chats simultaneously, making each customer feel like they’re only chatting with them.” – HR Director, Leading BPO Organization


How to Identify the Best People for the Job

Knowing what qualities to look for in a great chat agent is the first step. Finding the right screening tools is the next.

Resumes, interviews, and live chat typing tests only get you so far. To find the best chat agents, you need to immerse candidates in the job and see who rises to the top. Employment Technologies’ new EASy Simulation® for Chat Agents helps you do just that.

With its highly realistic live chat dashboard, EASy Simulation for Chat Agents is based on real-life situations and authentic customer interactions. Your employees and candidates will feel like they’re actually on the job, managing multiple chats, asking questions, finding the right information, and writing effective responses that build customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What makes our new live chat simulation unique?

Other assessments only scratch the surface of what’s required to excel in this increasingly critical role. Typically, these tests assess only basic tasks like retyping an already scripted message, providing fill-in-the-blank answers, or selecting chat responses from a list of prewritten options. Candidates are not really creating the chat on their own, and they don’t have the opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and critical thinking skills.

Only EASy Simulation for Chat Agents replicates the chat role, letting candidates experience every aspect of the job. Candidates prove their ability to manage time, show professionalism, think on their feet, and write clear and accurate responses to quickly resolve customer issues.

An added advantage is that the simulation is automatically scored, giving you instant access to accurate, unbiased results.

EASy Simulation for Chat Agents has emerged as an important tool to help businesses ensure their online interactions are handled by people whose skills and professionalism are in tune with their brand. The simulation can be used with existing staff to identify employees best suited for the live chat role, or it can be used with external candidates to quickly identify the best talent for open chat positions.


For a free demo of our new EASy Simulation for Chat Agents, click here or contact us at 888.332.0648.