If you have traveled in the last year, chances are you had to make adjustments to your itinerary. When abroad in 2020 for the birth of our grandchild, my husband and I found ourselves relying on the chat feature of our credit card’s travel department. Chat was available 24/7, did not require us to use cell phone minutes, and allowed us to multitask while hard-working agents located the best flights home. We found ourselves very thankful for the dedicated agent on the other side of the WiFi connection!

In our last post we highlighted three key strategies for creating a winning customer experience and identified live chat as a critical differentiator. Joe LaTorre, Director of Innovation at Employment Technologies, knows this is true. “Increasingly, customers actually prefer live chat because of its efficiency and that it eliminates long wait times for voice support.”

So, what exactly is live chat?

If you haven’t experienced it, live chat enables customers to have text-based conversations with a company’s support team online. No phone calls, no video, but a real, live interaction with a real, live person through typed words on the screen.


Chris Petrov writing for Tech Jury, an independent technology review site, shares these statistics:

  • 75% of people prefer live chat over any other channel.
  • 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
  • 51% of customers want businesses to be available 24/7.
  • 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support queries answered by live chat.

A study by Forester also found that for customers who chat prior to making a purchase, there is a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, and a 40% conversion rate.

In other words, you can’t afford not to engage this technology.

But having the right platform isn’t enough. You also need the right people.


Chat agents require a unique skill set. They must set a tone of helpfulness, keep multiple conversations going at once, and help your customers feel well-served. Joe LaTorre explains this well:

“The best live chat agents can conduct multiple chats at the same time while making customers feel like their total focus is on them.”

When chatting live with an agent, I want to feel I have their undivided attention. Even if they are serving other customers, I don’t want to be made aware of that.

To be effective, the best chat agents:

  • Create a personalized, high-quality service tone
  • Multitask to quickly find the correct information
  • Provide accurate information
  • Respond quickly to avoid long pauses during chat chains
  • Use correct grammar and spelling
  • Handle multiple chats simultaneously

That’s a tall order!

Back to my story about travel agents. Having engaged with multiple live chat agents, some were clearly suited for this line of work while others were not. Skilled chat agents set a helpful tone, kept engagement steady while avoiding long pauses, and convinced me they were working hard on my behalf.

Others, while well meaning, took too long to find the information I needed. Not only that, spelling, grammar, and sentence structure were often problematic.

Candidates may feel confident they have the right skills, but how do you know for sure?

To accurately predict which candidates will best serve your customers, job simulation offers a unique solution. Only simulation lets chat candidates test-drive the job, handling multiple chat chains, quickly locating information, and responding with courtesy, accuracy, and professionalism. This quick and engaging approach lets you measure key attributes in a real-world setting, pinpointing the right people for the job.

Employment Technologies, a leader in immersive hiring technologies, has a new simulation specifically designed to identify, hire, and onboard top chat agent talent. As an employer, you can basically fix everything customers hate about a negative live chat experience, with intentionality in this process.

In 2021, if you are implementing or expanding your live chat services (and you should!), check it out.  Hire, train, and onboard for the best possible live chat experience for your customers.


Here are two additional resources that offer great information and ideas about implementing and expanding your live chat function:

Comm100’s Live Chat Benchmark Report for 2019
For example, regarding chat time, the study found, “While freeing up agents’ time can have positive resource implications, organizations need to consider how to execute on their strategy without sacrificing quality, striking the right balance between business and customer needs.”

American Marketing Association’s: “How B2B Marketers are Leveraging Live Chat to Increase Sales”
A great list of seven practical tips for improvement including, “Develop a rich, customized user experience. Offer subject matter experts, escalate live chat sessions into click-to-call or screen-sharing, and introduce video or other rich media into the conversation.”