6 Online Sales Chat Practices for Effective Agent Skills
A cheat sheet for improving agent skills in sales chat
November 29 2013
Online Sales Chat Practice 1:
Train Agents for Sales Chat
Train for chat. Educate agents about the differences between chat and phone-based selling. A good telesales agent will not necessarily be a good chat sales agent.
Online Sales Chat Practice 2:
Decide on Communication Strategy
Teach agents how to construct a conversation flow that fits the needs of the customer. This includes the company’s policy regarding the use of “canned” responses versus free form.
Online Sales Chat Practice 3:
Use Appropriate Voice, Tone and Personalization
Identify and train agents on the appropriate voice and tone to support the brand, and focus on the appropriate amount of personalization.
Online Sales Chat Practice 4:
Provide Chat Technology Training
Ensure agents are trained properly on the chat technology platform itself and fully understand policies around chat-related functions such as co-browsing, document sharing, and page pushing.
Online Sales Chat Practice 5:
Ensure Agents Know your Product
Make sure agents possess significant and updated product knowledge, and understand the differences between up-sell options in order to maximize sales metrics.
Online Sales Chat Practice 6:
Apply Writing Strategies
Invest in writing skills. Agents, particularly offshore, require training on basic writing skills to ensure a consistent, positive customer experience.
What works and what doesn’t in online sales chat?
With respect to agent skills, the ability of an agent to provide correct and helpful responses is likely to be dependent on whether the agent is accessing a unified knowledge base. Chat systems and knowledge bases must be configured so that exactly the same information is available on the corporate website, from a live agent, or from an online chat session.
The most effective chat agents keep their responses short and to the point, often including a link to further explain more complex issues such as website security, shipping policies and data encryption.
In contrast, the lowest scoring online sales chat sessions feature agents that tend to be disengaged and impersonal. This is compounded by poor grammar and word choice, which not only disconnect them from their chat customers, but add unnecessary confusion to the sales process.
With respect to agent communications style, the key positive attributes include clear and concise communications to convey meaning in the absence of vocal tone and facial expression. Correct grammar and word choice consistent with the brand promise of the company is also crucial.
Online sales chat is increasingly preferred among a rapidly growing segment of online consumers because it delivers rapid, personalized and timely communications through direct interaction. To maximize its potential, however, you must apply best practices that will ensure the best customer experience.