Step 4: Train your agents Follow

There are three aspects of training chat agents:

  • Ensure agents have a solid understanding of your product or service
  • Provide guidance on the proper etiquette for chatting with customers
  • Familiarize agents with Zendesk Chat

Give agents the relevant knowledge

To get new agents onboarded, make sure you have a well-organized internal knowledge base they can use to learn about your product or service. Once they have read through the KB, test them on the material. If they can't answer basic questions about your product or service, they won’t be able to help customers.

To make complex answers easier to deliver, consider creating shortcuts with product-specific information. These will allow agents to quickly answer challenging questions.

Having an internal shared knowledge base is also useful for agents to keep themselves apprised of the latest product updates.

In general, the agent knowledge base, standard text, canned messages, snippets, and URLs should be shared and integrated. Creating and maintaining individual information repositories is expensive and difficult to maintain. It also increases the risk of creating and using contradictory information which will erode the customer’s level of trust.

Teach chat etiquette

Having the relevant product knowledge is important, but chat is quite different from email or even social support. Customers won’t wait minutes, let alone hours for a response and the onus will be on the chat agent to ensure they are able to serve customers in real-time.

In general, customers perceive chat as a more personal interaction channel than say email. Customers are used to “chatting” with their friends and family over SMS – a platform where emojis and LOLs rule – so they might expect a similar tone when talking to the chat agent of a business. However, it’s never a good idea for your agents to assume this. It’s best for agents to assess each situation individually and, when in doubt, err on the side of formality.

To ensure agents are providing customers with the best possible responses, create a few generic shortcuts. For example, you can create a simple greeting shortcut that agents can use for all customers (“Hi! Welcome to Omni Wear. Is there anything I can help you with?”). Not only does this ensure that your brand voice stays consistent, less confident agents can use it to get their feet wet.

Finally, always review chat transcripts and CSAT scores. These will show if customers are happy with their experience and if your agents are able to maintain your brand voice.

Train agents on Zendesk Chat

Zendesk Chat comes with a variety of tools that can help you serve your customers more effectively.

These features aren’t particularly complicated, but to help new agents get started we’ve come up with an online course to explain how to make the most of Zendesk Chat.

The Chat Agent Essentials course lasts 45-60 minutes and is geared towards helping agents learn the basics of chatting with customers on Chat. Here are some of the topics covered in the course:

  • Getting started with Zendesk Chat (including personalization)
  • Chatting with customers
  • Using advanced features (like shortcuts and file sending)
  • Proactively starting conversations with visitors
  • Completing a chat

Ask all new agents to sign up for a Zendesk University account and take the course. It’s completely free.

Additional considerations

Before creating a training plan for your agents, here are some questions to consider:

  • How complicated are your products?
  • What is the experience level of your agents?
  • What kind of resources do agents have access to? What can they share with customers?
  • Do you normally see customers asking the same kinds of questions?
  • What is the native language of your agents? Is it the same as the majority of your customers?
  • Do you have very strict brand or similar guidelines?
  • Do your agents have experience with other chat or live support products?

Next: Step 5: Build a chat workflow

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