Customer support is changing in a big way. It’s no longer a job where you’re either on the phone or speaking with a customer face-to-face. Now, new channels like text and mobile messaging and live chat are being introduced in an effort to improve the overall customer experience. While some customer service employees are skilled across channels, others will be better on the phone vs. chat or text. Below are four skills the best customer support messaging agents should have.
1) High Texting EQ
Having a high EQ, or emotional intelligence, means that you’re an empathetic person who can see things from another person’s point of view. When face-to-face, it’s easy to tell by a customer’s tone of voice and facial expressions whether they’re happy or upset. However, when you’re texting, emotions become ambiguous.
Because there are absolutely no body language cues to read, it can be difficult for an agent to determine whether or not a customer is being sarcastic, making a joke, or being serious. If an agent misinterprets a customer’s tone and responds to a serious or urgent inquiry in a lighthearted manner, it can can cause major problems. While not as egregious, answering an upbeat text from a customer with a serious, stiff tone can also make for a bad experience. It’s imperative for an agent to be able to match their own tone to that of the customer while also keeping the brand’s image and personality in mind.
2) Good Writing (and Texting) Skills
Even though texting is an informal channel, grammar and proper spelling are still extremely important. If it’s hard for a customer to understand what an agent is telling them to do, it merely adds to the frustration caused by their original problem. Moreover, improper language is unprofessional and can negatively impact your brand’s image. You want your support team, who interacts with customers the most frequently, to represent the values of your company across any and all channels.
In addition to good language skills, agents specializing in the texting channel should be familiar with the conventions of text messaging. For example, they should know how to use quick, concise messages to get their points across, as well as when and how to use emojis. They also need to leave customers time to reply to any questions they have, because the text channel in particular is on the customer’s time.
3) Ability to Multitask
Multitasking, regardless of channel, is an absolute essential for any customer support employee. However, one of the main advantages of texting is the ability agents have to message with multiple customers at once. Unlike live chat, texting is asynchronous, which means that the customer is usually fine with a few minutes of lag time between responses, during which time the agent can work on resolving their issues and messaging with other customers. Skilled texting agents should be able to converse with several customers at once, depending on the complexity of the issues being resolved.
If the texting platform being used is seamlessly integrated into the CRM, it shouldn’t be difficult to keep track of all the open conversations and make sure no customer is left hanging. The good news is that if an agent has mastered the high speed of live chat, texting should be easy for them.
4) Ability to Nurture Leads through Text
Great customer support can (and should) be used as marketing. No matter which channel they’re working in, agents should be trained to recognize upsell opportunities. For example, if a customer writes into support asking for pricing, the agent should be savvy enough to send the customer a link to the product page with a list of reviews and testimonials in addition to simply answering their question. To keep messages brief, the agent should let the customer know they can always text back with more questions, or offer to connect them with a sales rep. Good support agents will recognize potential sales opportunities and capitalize on them.
The Final Word
In an age where customers are using their phones to make phone calls less and less, customer support agents must be skilled in text and mobile messaging channels to ensure that customers are receiving the best service possible. Every time a customer contacts your company it’s an opportunity to “wow” them, and offering the ability to get friendly, efficient support on their own time is one of the best ways to do that.
About the Author:
Reuben Yonatan is the CEO @ GetVoIP, a leading VoIP systems comparison guide that connects shoppers with relevant providers.