Five Best Ways to Train Live Chat Agents

One of the hottest customer engagement trends so far in 2018 is an increased focus on improving the agent experience. However, there is a big difference between spending limited budget resources on trends and allocating precious resources to projects that deliver increased growth and profitability. As an artificial intelligence company that optimizes live chat, RapportBoost.AI believes brands can often attain the highest ROI by investing in their people. Below are five excellent ways to train live chat agents using a combination of cutting-edge technology and well-vetted best practices.

#1 Deploy Data-Driven Training Programstrain live chat agents

Training needs to keep up with the world outside the customer contact center, which is generating boatloads of data in record time. IBM estimates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. As if that figure wasn’t impressive enough, an increasing amount of data is generated every year thanks to growing numbers of global internet and social media users. 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone.

When it comes to an omnichannel customer engagement or inside sales center, significant data can be analyzed from every channel to generate recommendations for training and QA. An organization with phone, chat, social, and email, has four robust sources of data to analyze – not including feedback surveys and data generated by customer site visits. Artificial intelligence solutions that augment human performance like RapportBoost.AI can help organizations remove the guesswork from QA and training by generating accurate, unbiased recommendations for teams and individual agents.

AI can’t do the majority of tasks that humans do, but it can analyze exponentially more data than humans can in a fraction of the time. Customer contact centers can take advantage of this technology by integrating an artificial intelligence solution into their existing live chat agent training strategy.

#2 Update Training Topics at Frequent, Regular Intervals

Machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions can be applied to data to generate recommendations for chat teams, but it’s up to the humans within the organization – the management, chat team leaders, and individual agents – to implement those recommendations, track their success, and adjust training topics accordingly. By developing iterative training methods that keep up with changes in consumer purchasing behavior, live chat coaches can deliver consistent topical insights to agents while accurately tracking their performance.

For successful optimization, performance should be tracked at each level of the organization, such as the inside sales center overall, the particular team(s) that resides in the center, and inside chat sales agents. Then, instead of reviewing transcripts to do QA or to build a training program, management can review metrics at each level of the organization, applying this information to the training program. This approach lets managers, team leaders, and coaches properly distribute their attention, implementing additional training where needed and setting new goals for those areas that are on track to success.

Furthermore, what works in June might not work in December. It’s possible that the optimal way to speak to customers may change throughout the course of the year. RapportBoost.AI recommends analyzing data on a quarterly basis to ensure that the artificial intelligence insights used to train live chat agents is as accurate as possible. With this information, coaches can use causal inference to adapt existing programs and develop new programs using relevant analytics.

#3 Integrate Management Structure

When training customer service agents, how can you ensure that people at every level of the organization feel invested in providing a high-quality customer experience? A great way to improve the participatory environment of your customer contact center is by integrating the management structure. Try having agents give themselves a quality score that they can share with coaches on a weekly basis. Self-evaluation can be a great way to create the opportunity for constructive critique and conversations about improvement. Train live chat agents by having coaches respond to customer inquiries as well – even if it’s just for a portion of the day. This helps coaches coach better and builds a positive culture of teamwork. Finally, provide live chat agents with an in-house social channel that they can use to communicate with each other and voice concerns to coaches and managers.

#4 Personalize Training for Each Agenttrain live chat agents

With unprecedented innovation happening in the online training ecosystem, it’s no longer acceptable to create a one-size-fits-all training program. Team leaders can produce customized learning paths for each inside sales center role and individual agent.

How to go about this? It’s actually simpler than it sounds. Consider the level of experience of the customer contact agent so that you can spend less time reviewing established skills and more time fostering new ones. Carefully review the equipment and tools the customer contact or inside sales agent will need on the job, and make sure they’re comfortable with them. An agent responding to email and chat will be using different tools than an agent that is also fielding phone calls. Make sure that each contact or sales agent monitors, keyboard, headset, and mouse are set up to accommodate their role, as well as software, and access to the knowledge base. Finally, train live chat agents by customizing the curriculum based on the individual agent’s strengths and weaknesses. Analyzing data from each agent and measuring their progress toward specific conversational goals and outcomes will give chat coaches an incredibly accurate map for creating a custom training program.

#5 Make Training Interactive

Fidelity Investments recently garnered attention for its ambitious approach to interactivity: call center empathy training administered with Virtual Reality headsets. The good news is, you can train live chat agents with interactive approaches using the resources you already have on hand. Try implementing employee training using mock chats. Chat coaches can play the role of the customer, and use the knowledge they have about the individual live chat agent’s performance to target areas the agent needs to improve upon or to introduce new recommendations. Use social tools to administer advice to agents. In-house social networks and functionality provide a great platform for contacting every member of your team in a friendly, casual way to reinforce concepts on the job.

Thanks to new technologies that can generate more accurate insights than ever before, organizations can administer a human + machine approach to their customer engagement and inside sales channels while ensuring optimal performance at every level of the organization. To learn more about our live chat agent training solutions, get in touch with the team at RapportBoost.AI.

 

Tony Medrano

About Tony Medrano

Tony started his career as a technology entrepreneur out of his Stanford University dorm as co-founder and President of DoDots, the first desktop-to-mobile app platform. He built the company to 100+ employees, raised $25M in venture capital and managed all company operations, personnel and deals. He was most recently CEO of Boopsie, a mobile Platform-as-a-Service company that he grew for 4 years and successfully sold to a strategic partner in 2015. Tony has also served as Vice President of Sales / Business Development at Reply! and SmartDrive Systems. Tony has dedicated his career in technology to leading sales teams and understands the need for automation tools that help sales reps increase efficiency, close more business and increase margins. Tony received his MBA and JD from Stanford, M.A. from Columbia and B.A. from Harvard.