How a Live Chat Agent Should Question Customers Correctly

Live chat

Live chat technology has been around for nearly a decade now, however not all businesses have implemented it. Those who understand the benefits of such a system started using it a long time ago but there are some who still remain unconvinced.

So, if you are planning to implement live chat support software for your enterprise, it is essential to understand the importance of having well-trained support agents. Although, live chat software is considered to be the foundation of outstanding customer support, the agents (who use this tool to build a connection with the online visitors) actually do all the magic.

Let’s take a look at how agents should communicate with customers, especially when questioning them.

Adapt to the language of the customer

The first principle that every customer support agent should follow is using the right language with the customers. Yes, every conversation should start formally, but sticking with it is not always the best approach. Remember, you are not communicating with a robot, but another human being on the other side.

Therefore, start off the conversation with a formal introduction, which is usually a pre-made piece of text. But as soon as you get a reply, start communicating without using the pre-made text. It will help the customer relax, as they will feel like they are communicating with a real person who is invested in the conversation.

Furthermore, as the conversation develops, try to identify the language level of the customer and adapt your own language to match. Avoid using professional technical terms, as it can impede the conversation flow. Some things that are easy to understand for you might not be clear for the customer.

Taking this step will allow a customer agent to easily communicate with every customer, making it easier to probe him or her with all the additional information you might need.

Learn when probing is necessary

Probing the customer with a series of questions is not always necessary. In some cases, the more questions you ask, the longer it will take to solve an issue. Therefore, it is crucial to be equipped with the basic skills of deducing a possible solution before asking for further information.

When communicating with customers, listen closely to their problems. In most cases, it will provide you with all the important information you need. However, if you attempt to solve the problem and you end up in a dead end, probing the customer is the next step.

For many customers, this causes a bit of stress, because their issue takes time to resolve, however, with the right approach, this should not become a problem.

Let’s take a look at some of the principles that live chat customer support agent should adhere to.

How to ask the questions?

Typically there are two types of situations in which you will be involved. In one, you are going to simply help out a customer by providing basic information. In the other scenario, you will work on resolving an issue that the customer is facing, either with a service or with a product. The approach you take to gather more information from the customer can differ.

In the first scenario, the flow of the conversation is much more natural, and the customer is not particularly stressed. He or she is asking for a simple piece of information, and the questions serve to ensure that you are on the same page and that you are going to provide the best information for them.

This is usually the case with online stores when customers require assistance when picking the best product for themselves. Asking questions is fairly easy, as the customer knows that it is going to help them make the right decision.

On the other hand, when a customer experiences a problem with a product or service, it is important to be straightforward and apologetic during the whole process. The reason for this lies in the fact that the customer is already agitated and less patient because they have already paid for the product or service.

Being apologetic will lower the agitation that the customer feels, whereas straightforwardness will help them understand why you are going to ask the following questions.

Therefore, before you start with probing a customer, make sure that you understand which type of position you are in. It will make your input much more effective and lead to a faster resolution of an issue.

What to ask for?

Depending on the situation, you are going to ask different types of questions.

For example, if a customer is browsing your store, he or she might need assistance with picking the right piece of clothing or shoes. If you are contacted for assistance, your should have a ready set of mixed questions – both general and precise ones.

You need to ask about the size they will be looking for, allowing you to check what you have in stock, whereas asking about what they are expecting from the outfit will allow you to pick the right piece of clothing to suggest. Combining these two types of questions will allow you to provide assistance in a short period of time and the customer will feel valued as you provide help.

On the other hand, if a customer is experiencing a problem with a service or product, your approach needs to be much more direct. The beginning step should be an explanation of why you are asking the following questions.

Afterwards, continue with asking basic information that will allow you to solve a problem in the fastest time possible. As you start receiving the right answers, it is essential to provide several different methods of solving an issue. It will offer a choice to the customer, enabling them to pick an approach that is easiest for them.

Picking this approach is the best way to create a natural correspondence between you and your customer. Also, it is an effective way of extracting information from the customers, while having a normal conversation. Make sure that you are always as polite as possible, no matter how angry a customer might be. Stay professional because the consumers are only trying to find a solution to their problem.


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Sameer Bhatia

Sameer Bhatia

Sameer Bhatia is founder & CEO of ProProfs, a leading provider of online learning tools for building, testing, and applying knowledge. ProProfs Knowledge Base Software is used to create highly-searchable online FAQ’s to improve customer service and reduce tickets. It helps centralize access to organizational files, documents and how-to articles ensuring they can be accessed across multiple devices and platforms. Sameer founded ProProfs based on the vision that knowledge should be freely available to people from all walks of life. The site hosts 1,000,000+ pieces of content in 90+ languages, and is a leading platform for online training and assessment with the world’s largest library of professional tests & quizzes. He has a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California (USC) and is an ed-tech industry veteran.