Customer support services are continuously developing as communication mediums we use become faster paced, more consumer-friendly and attuned to our modern-day lifestyle. As a matter of fact, SMS customer service have been found to be about eight times more effective when it comes to initiating and retaining customer engagement than voice, live chat, and email. There has also been a remarkable increase in customer preference to text over voice and other forms of communication.
If employing SMS into your customer support channels is your next agenda for adeptly meeting your customers’ demands, you need to ensure that your agents possess the right qualities and skills to ensure that your SMS chat services operate smoothly and efficiently.
So what are these fundamental sets of skills and qualities?
- Outstanding Writing Skills
Train your agents to be more adept at using positive language. Unlike voice support, SMS chat can be tricky because it does not allow the agents to use the intonation of their voices or body language to convey genuine concern to the customers. There must be a balance between sounding professional and friendly in written words without overdoing it or sounding as though your message is simply an automated response. Aside from exceptional spelling and grammar, your agents must be able to reflect expertise, clarity, and empathy in the messages they compose.
Customers are generally more satisfied when replies to their queries have a personal touch.
- Highly Knowledgeable of Your Products and Services
Your support agents should have an in-depth background of all the services that you offer. High familiarity translates well with customers since it shows that your agents are reliable and possess the expertise your end-users need to help resolve their concerns.
Aside from in-depth product knowledge, your customer support staff must also be aware of which personnel from your team is the right person to contact or reach out to especially if the customer requires an answer that is more detailed or hands-on in nature (e.g. technical concerns, payment, bills)
- Good Analysis
Customer service agents are faced with customer concerns of varying degrees of difficulty. With excellent analysis, it will allow agents to discriminate factors that lead to the customer’s concern and determine the root cause of the customer’s problem. Analytical skills also go hand-in-hand with comprehension and strategic probing. Your agents must have a good grasp of what the issue at hand and know the right questions to ask to help bring to light a viable solution.
At times, customers expect agents to explain or reiterate their understanding of the problem. This is their way of double-checking whether the agent was able to accurately figure out their concern or not. Summarizing your client’s concerns in a short yet concise manner is a must to ensure if there are any miscommunications. After summarizing, the agent must be able to provide the customer with a clear timeline of how long it will take for their problems to be resolved. Avoid bombarding clients with very technical or highfaluting terminologies.
Even when using text to communicate with customers, responding to their queries in a very casual manner is a huge no-no. Friendliness is alright, but remember to be objective and maintain the professional distance you have with your clients. Separate emotions and personal problems from work-related matters. Don’t try to drive away customers before you dig deeper into their concern as this will reflect badly on the company. Never take customers’ frustrations and anger personally, and be firm and calm at all times especially to rude and irritated customers.
- Listening Skills
Sometimes, good listening skills are better than being smart or confident because when you do lend an ear to what your customers are saying, it gives you a better understanding of their situation. It will lead to devising solutions that are more suitable and tailored to resolve the customer’s concerns. Enhancing listening skills for your support agents will make them more receptive and keen on pinpointing important details that were left out or partially disclosed by the client.
Whether a customer is friendly or irate, support agents must have the capability to adapt to varying moods of different customers. Even when the situation escalates, agents must be able to remain level-headed and assist customers as efficiently as possible. At times, there may be a need to guide customers slowly, and so your support personnel should be good at adapting to each client’s pacing.
- Creative Problem Solving
There are certain rules and protocols that must be followed when addressing customer concerns. However, there are instances where the agents must be able to think out of the box. With SMS chat, visual cues can be incorporated to make communication easier. For instance, a customer can take a picture of certain discrepancies on their bill or receipt and send it directly to the agent. This will serve as a reference to the company and agents will be able to resolve the problem more promptly.
- Time management
Smart management of time and proper delegation of responsibilities help minimize escalation of issues and save time for both your agents and customers. SMS boasts the fastest means of communication, so your agents must be able to use this attribute of SMS customer service to their advantage. From planning the solutions and setting objectives to prioritizing the step-by-step process needed to work out the problem and minimizing interruptions, everything should be timed accordingly.
- Initiative and Dedication for Self-Improvement
As the saying goes, nobody is perfect. Also, perfection can be pretty boring. When your agents devote time and effort to enhance their skills and even develop their personalities, it is a true sign of passion and love for their work. Actively participating in honing their skills gears them to face even tougher problems in the future.
Customer service representatives represent the company to the customers, thus, excellent service will likely entail good reputation for your brand.