Successfully train new chat operators in 4 steps

If your company is just getting started with live chat, you can choose to create your own team of operators. But, if your company is growing, and, with that, the number of calls, you can choose to stop outsourcing live chat and manage it yourself instead. It might be a clever choice to tackle chat yourself, but you will need well-trained personnel.

Chat operators aren’t ordinary customer-service employees. Chatting with customers demands skills that call-centre employees don’t need and that differ from those required for email-based customer contact. Generating these skills also requires a different form of training. Educating new chat operators is not difficult; you can make sure that your new employees develop into the best chat operators in just four steps.

Step 1: Product training

The first important feature for chat operators is the ability to type fast and having an understanding of the spelling and grammar of the language in which they will be helping the customer. Assuming that they possess these skills, a starting point is for them to get to know everything about your products and service. Thus, start new employees off with a good product training. This prevents them having to look up this information while chatting. Also, always have product information available on the computer for each employee.

Step 2: Communication training

Give new employees several transcripts of past chats to read through, so that new employees familiarise themselves with the desired tone and style of communication as quickly as possible. By showing examples of how you would like them to communicate, new employees will be able to immediately start learning this style.

Step 3: Chat training

Now it’s time for the chat training. This training starts with explaining how the software that the new chat operators will be using works. Show new employees how the software is used, what it is capable of doing and what kind of information can be viewed on it.

One of the most important things is to show new employees how to change their status to “not available”, so that there are no unanswered chats, but also show them how to transfer a chat to another employee. A list of shortcuts is useful to improve chatting speed.

Make sure that there is always a software manual on standby, so that all operators can consult it whenever necessary. They could also spend time reading it when communication channels aren’t busy and they have nothing else to do.

Step 4: Get to work

Finally, it’s time to get to work. First, let new operators spend some time watching an experienced employee. This will allow them to see how things go during a live chat. New operators are given a good example by seeing how experienced employees respond to situations. Once the new operator is ready, it’s time to take the plunge. Always have one or more experienced employees supervise the new operator to be there to provide advice and answer questions.

Chat manual

Each chat operator must know how to act in a variety of specific situations, such as when the chat is transferred to another medium or when they’re chatting to an angry customer. They must also know how to deal with difficult questions. Examples of old chats can help in this. Collect this kind of information in a chat manual and make sure that there is always (at least) one copy in the workspace.

After completing these steps, the new employee is ready to start working independently. How long someone requires supervision depends on the person in question and differs from case to case. At first, let new employees chat with one customer at a time. Slowly expand this until he or she is capable of handling multiple chats simultaneously.

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