How to Hire Chat Agents That Are Experts in Your Industry

Live chat isn’t something you ought to implement. It’s something you need to implement to stay alive.

Consumers are plugged into the world around them 24/7 thanks to ubiquitous mobile technology and smart devices. As a B2C, you must digitally transform your business to meet consumer expectations, which are ballooning bigger and bigger with every year that passes.

When website visitors have a question about your products or services, they expect that you’ll be there to answer it in real time. Not being quick and responsive to your prospects’ needs will prevent you from earning their trust—and their business. Live chat is an excellent way to respond to in-the-moment inquiries. If you fail to add live chat to your website, you’ll fail to maximize your earning potential.

But not all live chat is created equal.

In fact, if you take too long to answer incoming chats or are unable to answer your customers’ inquiries in a way that satisfies them you could be doing more harm than good. As CXL noted, it’s all about the execution: A bad live chat experience won’t endear you to prospects and it certainly won’t help you increase sales.

That’s why it’s so important to have live chat agents who are experts in your industry and are able to quickly and correctly answer any and all questions that arise.

Let’s take a closer look at what defines a successful live chat session and how to ensure you’re hiring the right people.

What Makes a Live Chat Session a Success?

Whether you’re installing live chat software, contracting with a live chat service that supplies real human chat operators, or hiring live chat agents to build an in-house support team, the two main elements of success stay the same:

Live Chat Success Factor #1: Quick Response Time

Your website visitors choose to use live chat to contact you because it means they’ll get an immediate response. If they wanted to wait on hold for several minutes they’d pick up the phone and call you. And if they wanted to wait a whole day (or more), they’d send you an email.

eDigital Research surveyed 2,000 consumers and found that live chat was the preferred way to contact a business, beating out phone, email, SMS, mail, app and social media. People prefer live chat because it’s efficient and quick. They can rest easy knowing they won’t be transferred from one customer service rep to another, only to have their call dropped in the end. Best practices say that businesses should respond to incoming chats within 30 seconds. Why? Because it’s what consumers have come to expect. And if you fail to meet their expectations, you’ve created a negative interaction—and that could cost you a potential customer.

Here are two ways to ensure fast response time:

1. Know How Many Live Chat Agents You Need Based on Your Monthly Web Traffic

Some businesses fail to reply within 30 seconds because they don’t have enough live chat agents ready to respond to incoming chats. To calculate how many your business needs simply take a look at how many daily website visitors you get and do some simple math.

Let’s say 2,000 people visit your site per day—you can assume 10 percent, or 200 people, will interact with your chat window per day. Agents can handle six chats per hour on average. If you’re staffing round the clock you’d need two chat agents available during each 8-hour shift.

2. Use Live Chat Agents Who Gave a Typing Speed of at Least 70 Words per Minute

In addition to replying to incoming chats quickly, you also need to maintain speediness throughout the conversation. While most companies hire live chat agents who can type 35 or 40 words per minutes, you’ll find that your customers will be even more satisfied with the customer support you provide if your agents type faster than the industry average.

Chatbots aren't always the best option.

Chatbots aren’t always the best option.

Live Chat Success Factor # 2: Accurate, Complete Answers

There’s a reason people would rather chat with a live human than a chatbot: chatbots don’t have a stellar track record of answering complex questions correctly. In fact, chatbots need human agents to step in and help about 20 percent of the time. Additionally, no AI can offer the same sense of personal connection a human being can. This is why many vendors use bots to collect visitor contact information then forward the chat to a human operator.

But while humans have a higher capacity to read between the lines than chatbots do, they need to be well trained to understand your industry—particularly if you work in a complex or highly-regulated space like medical services. What’s more, they need to know your brand voice.

You can post a job ad on a site like Indeed then cross your fingers and hope for the best, or you can contract with a live chat provider with a stable of live chat agents with deep industry experience. When new agents come onboard already knowing the nuances of your industry, they can focus on learning your brand.

Additional Ways to Provide a Successful Live Chat Experience

In addition to maintaining a fast response time and giving accurate, complete answers, there are other ways to boost customer satisfaction. For example, you could provide chat transcripts to each website visitor via email following the conclusion of a chat. This way they can easily reference discussion points at a later date.

Website visitors love live chat—particularly millennial consumers who have never known any other way than speed and convenience. However, while the potential of live chat to help capture leads and close sales is limitless, you need to get the execution right. This is why it’s so important to staff the right amount of live chat agents who are experts in your industry.