Training help desk personnel the right way continues to remain one of the top concerns of business and industry today. In the online marketplace, this concern happens to be more critical because online customer support is predicated on a single-contact model. Where as in a brick-and-mortar business, your customers are waited upon by several members of the support staff-greeters, cashiers, salespersons and others, there is usually a single frontline customer satisfaction representative or salesperson at the front end of your online commerce venture . Our feature this month zooms in on the steps you can take to ensure that your customers engage in a qualitatively superior and fulfilling chat experience when they arrive on your web site.
Let your Customers Train your Chat Operators/Agents
At least figuratively... Your customers often know more about your business domain and industry vertical than your chat operators, especially the new ones. Repeat customers often command immense knowledge about your specialty and can push the right buttons for you from a pedagogical perspective. Therefore, the first lesson in your training model should revolve around the chat transcripts of prior conversations between your regular customers and your senior chat operators. Ask your recruits to study these transcripts, quiz them on specific issues and subjects raised by your customers and verify their knowledge about the data contained in the chat transcripts. This is also an excellent way to introduce your new chat operators to chat etiquette, level and depth of the responses expected, and the overall tone of the chat interaction.
Instant Access to Product Literature
Unlike e-mail communication, chat communication is live. Your chat operators should have single-click access to your product literature amply supported by quick navigation controls, near-instant search functionality and easily processed product content. You should update your data files immediately when prices or descriptions or modified. Inaccurate information is always detrimental to robust business health. If you are sourcing your product data from your manufacturer's or vendor's site, please verify it prior to posting it on your site or linking to it. If your online company uses a local area network (LAN) it might be a good idea to copy all the relevant product data on your intranet for easy and uninterrupted access for your chat operators and support specialists.
The Chat Solution Learning Curve
Are your chat operators completely familiar with the live chat solution you have deployed on your web site? Are they conversant with the advanced features of the live chat program? If not, customized training is probably the answer. You can ask one of your experienced operators to spend a few hours a week on training until such a time that your new recruits are up to speed with chat functionality. This style of informal mentoring is very effective. However, it needs to be structured carefully with lesson plans, learning modules and curriculum fact sheets. Remember, every hour spent in training is an hour lost in customer service. An organized initiative will also reduce the time it will take to train your chat operators.
Learning Solutions from your Chat Software Provider
Ask your chat solutions provider to develop tutorials for your new operators that are not only thorough but also based on the sound principles of Instructional Design (ID). Whether these tutorials are web enabled or custom installed on your servers: it makes no difference. Since e-learning is mostly self-paced and asynchronous in nature, your new chat operators can work at their own time, between chat requests and low peak times.
We all know about the Frequently Asked Questions we develop for our customers on our web sites. Isn't it a good idea to develop an equally comprehensive set of FAQs for your chat operators purely for training purposes? These "Training FAQs" could be stored on your intranet for immediate access by your chat operators to learn about new products, features promotions, policies and incentives.
Knowledge is Power
If your chat operators are experienced, knowledgeable and perform professionally, your customers will beat a path to your door. According to a survey...
You can also consider outsourcing your training needs and contracting the services of a professional training organization to train your chat operators. Invest whatever it takes to train your frontline team well and watch your online enterprise blossom!