Improving Live Chat Agent Efficiency

  • Improving Live Chat Agent Efficiency

E-commerce shares many similar traits to traditional sales, although it differs considerably in certain key areas. As websites are always open for business to buyers across the country (or possibly around the globe) there exists a greater need for productivity from what are often comparatively limited numbers of representatives. Keep your customers happy and keep the sales rolling in by referring to these helpful pointers to get the most out of your live chat service agents.

Short and Sweet

While online communications differ in many ways from real-world conversations, there are plenty of parallels between the two. One of the most important to remember: Keep responses succinct. Customers don’t care to be preached to in person, and they don’t usually care to read half-page replies to basic questions.

When the need does arise for instructional or step-by-step instructions, advise your representatives to break things down into shorter one- or two-sentence replies to keep things simple.

Canned Responses

Canned responses aren’t always favorable, but in the case of live chat service, they can be a lifesaver if crafted correctly. Often times your reps will receive many of the same questions repeatedly, such as inquiries about sales or promotions, or information about popular products. By arranging preset responses which can be dropped in with the click of a mouse, agents stand to save considerable typing time, which allows them to assist more customers in a shorter period.

First Come, First Serve

When the volume starts to put a strain on your team, it’s important that they’re able to prioritize. Make sure that your support representatives give first attention to those in the queue who’ve been waiting longest in order to minimize lost sales opportunities resulting from those who run out of patience.

The Customer’s Always Right

Another basic parallel between brick-and-mortar and online customer service is the need for agree-ability. In other words, if a customer refers to products or promotions incorrectly, then make sure your team knows it’s not their priority to make corrections. Instead, they should adapt to the customer’s language, provided the misunderstanding doesn’t for example extend to differences in discounts. In other words, if a shopper makes reference to a “coupon” instead of a promo code, your chat agent should respond in kind.

Double Vision

Most website representatives have more to pay attention to than chat windows—they must often also monitor email, customer relationship management applications and more. It’s recommended to get these types of reps onto two-screen setups if at all possible. Dual monitors make it easier to keep tabs on everything without constant window-switching, upping efficiency throughout each day.

Realistic Expectations

You’ve heard the phrase or variations of it: Never enough time to get it right on the first try, but always enough time to try again. You should always take caution against overloading agents with too many simultaneous customer chats, as your ambition to increase productivity may actually work in the opposite direction if the quality of responses begins to suffer. Have your reps start small and work their volume up naturally.


In a perfect world, you’d have an available service rep for each and every customer who needed help. In the real world, it’s important to seek out efficiency without sacrificing quality. When you and your team are able to achieve that ideal balance, you’ll be sure to reap the rewards and encourage plenty of repeat business for the future.

By |2016-01-19T00:00:51-06:00January 19, 2016|


Jim Iyoob is the Chief Customer Officer for Etech Global Services. He has responsibility for Etech’s strategy, marketing, business development, IT, program implementation, operational excellence, and product development across all Etech’s existing lines of business – Etech, Etech Insights, ETS & Etech Social Media Solutions. He is passionate, driven, and an energetic business leader with a strong desire to remain ahead of the curve in outsourcing solutions and service delivery.

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