What are the qualities of an excellent multichannel agent?

In this article, you will learn about the essential qualities of an excellent multichannel agent and best practice. To manage all customer inquiries, iAdvize provides its customers with a full-stack conversational commerce platform. This means that a brand’s customer service team using iAdvize can support online shoppers on its website, messaging apps or social networks.

1. Be natural

A customer service agent should be able to give the right answer from a technical point of view and offer a premium service without being perceived as a robot. To make that possible, agents have to remain natural and personalise their responses. On Twitter, agents can sign their tweets with their name to show they are not chatbots when they answer using a brand’s account.

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A customer service agent should interact naturally with online shoppers. If it’s lunch time, agents shouldn’t hesitate to say “Enjoy your meal!” to the person they are supporting. If an online shopper is looking for luxury cosmetics for her wedding, agents shouldn’t hesitate to congratulate her at the beginning or at the end of their conversation.

2. Be professional 

Customer service agents also need to master common customer service practices such as greeting practices. To find the most suitable answer for a visitor’s context, agents should ask as many questions as they need to assess the online shoppers’ query and help them the best they can.

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Agents can ask for more information about the product or service the shopper is searching. This way, you’re showing interest in their issue and you can tailor your reply. Your contacts will be more willing to answer and give you details. They will also have a good memory of their interaction with the brand you represent.

3. Position yourself as a specialist  

Customer service agents always represent their brand. Therefore, they have to know their brand’s product range by heart. You need to be able to show the solution you are offering is the right one for each online shopper. You have to be able to offer the solution most adapted to their contact’s context and to justify your choices.

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Agents need to specialise in the products sold by the brand they work for but also in the touch points, they are using. For example, when you have to prioritise the answers you give based on the channel you are using, you have to always remain on the lookout when it comes to the different features of the channels you are using. For example, Facebook indicates on average, how much time brands take to answer the messages they receive on their page. Facebook even rewards the most responsive brands with a dedicated badge (see image below).

multichannel agent – responsive

 

Therefore, the social media specialist needs to consider these particularities. Messenger is a channel that is mostly used by mobile users which means it’s a touch point that enables re-engagement easily. As a result, Messenger is a social network you should prioritise. It’s at a midpoint between emails (asynchronous) and chat solutions (messaging app in real-time).

4. Be attentive  

Excellent customer service agents have to be accurate with their answers. They cannot leave room for interpretation. For example, when talking to online shoppers about their order, they should not use terms as soon, shortly but be specific by mentioning the number of days/weeks.

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It’s important to be careful about the way you are interacting with your contacts. Using exclamation marks or capital letters can be seen as aggressive whichever channel you are using!

5. Be responsive

Responsiveness is crucial in customer service. But being fast and being responsive are two different things. Do not mistake responsiveness with swiftness! It’s more important to have the time to proofread your answer before sending it to the online shopper (make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, etc.).

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Mobile users use and accept emojis and abbreviations more easily. Thus, on a channel like Messenger, agents can give concise answers while on chat solutions they will be able to give longer explanations.

6. Be skilled  

iAdvize provides their customers with a full-stack conversational commerce platform which means that the agents using our platform need to manage different channels used by their brand at the same time (Messenger, call, chat). They also have to manage their time to handle conversations from instantaneous channels such as the live chat solution and conversations from less real-time channels such as the social networks.

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Time management is key! It also means you need to manage your priorities. You have to know the characteristics of the channels you are using and act according to these different characteristics:

“It’s easier to improve your agents’ productivity by combining different touch points. For example, agents who are waiting for chat conversations will be more efficient with handling social messages in parallel during off-peak periods. It’s an ideal opportunity to also improve their performance and responsiveness with online shoppers. The quicker messages are handled, the more agents can handle several conversations at the same time. And their responsiveness often has a positive impact on  the online shopper satisfaction. Agents can improve their availability by offering an asynchronous channel like Messenger during peak periods because social media users expect less responsive answers than on channels like the chat solution or over the phone. It helps agents manage their workload by routing these interactions during off-peak periods while prioritising online shoppers who need immediate assistance,” says Matthieu Dixte, Social Media Specialist, iAdvize.

Social media users are more patient on channels that are more asynchronous. According to a survey conducted by The Social Habit, 32% social media users who contact a brand expect a response within 30 minutes and 42% within 60 minutes. The remaining 58% expect a response in a day or so on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In general, brands meet the expectations of 58% of social media users since they take, on average, 5 hours 27 mins to answer a tweet (Eptica Customer Experience Blog). When it comes to the chat solution, we recommend that the answer should happen within 30 seconds from the first message sent by the online shopper.

7. Be a chameleon 

Multichannel agents are almost like actors (who adapt to different characters they are playing):  they have to use a different strategy according to the channel they are using. Thus, they have to be able to handle all the channels where the brand is present: don’t exceed 140 characters on Twitter or use emojis on the chat solution; manage private and public messages on Twitter, Facebook or the chat solution etc.

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The advice given by your agents on social media is exposed to the public eye. They need to be extremely careful with how they communicate with customers and prospects. In reality, it is often difficult to solve a customer problem in only 140 characters, especially when it’s a technical one. With this in mind, agents should be able to identify situations when they need to direct visitors to private messages and when they need to deal with an issue publicly. To sum up, agents have to be able to adapt to any situation on any channel they use to communicate with online shoppers.

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