How to Run Test Chats Before Your Live Chat Goes Live
A straightforward how-to guide to training your live chat agents with test chats for phenomenal service before you go live.
Nobody knows your company like you do.
So how do you train your live chat agents to perform at your high standard?
Easy — marry knowledge and service in your test chats.
You’ll need to make sure:
- Agents adapt to your brand personality
- Agents understand your knowledge base
Build test chats within your brand persona and knowledge base and boom! You’re ready to go live with agents that engage leads, answer questions, and follow-up as you would. No doubt, your live chat will handle anything that comes its way with precision and ease. Period.
Step 1: Define Your Brand Persona
A brand persona is a collection of traits, attitudes, and voices in your business. Look at it like your brand’s personality as if it was a unique individual. It creates a realistic and reliable representation that your target audience can identify with.
Branding benefits not only your audience but also your live chat team. Having clear brand guidelines allows your agents to step into your shoes and holds them accountable for your standard of service. At the same time, it empowers them to align responses with the brand’s voice, no matter the question.
You may already have your brand persona. Great, you’re ahead of the game.
If not, then spend some time developing your brand persona after reading this article.
Step 2: Build Out Your Knowledge Base
A knowledge base is an internal library of company information. It contains information on products, services, company culture, operations, and support. Knowledge bases house any and all information potentially relevant to a customer, while brand personas unify voice and help with decision-making.
We’ve got the quick DL to help you develop your knowledge base.
Data Dump Everything You Have
Collect all of the relevant company information stored in Google docs, pamphlets, answers to FAQs, or even post-it notes. Throw in some examples of good and bad service from customer reviews, and then dump all the info into one big spreadsheet.
After you compile all your info, review your document. Ask yourself what’s missing, then fill in the gaps.
Step Into Your Consumer’s Shoes
Even though you did a massive data dump, you need to switch perspectives. Consumers have questions you may have never considered. You need that information in your knowledge base.
Here’s what to do — go through every single page and look at your site through the consumer’s perspective. Ask yourself these questions to build out more knowledge:
- What kinds of natural questions pop up on this page?
- What kinds of technical issues could I encounter?
- What information is missing?
- How would I look for information?
- What’s unclear on the site?
Dig deep. You want to provide solutions for as many potential questions as possible to ensure an excellent user experience.
Keep Your Knowledge Base Knowledgeable
One of the many benefits of live chat is the ability to gain real-time insight into the mindset of your customers. Using your live chat data, keep your knowledge base up to speed by making regular updates with FAQs collected from the live chat transcripts, when things change in your business, and when other relevant events or information occurs. For more intel on how to best leverage live chat data, check out, How to Turn Your Live Chat Data Into Business Intelligence.
Step 3: Create Test Questions & Scenarios
Create an ultra-thorough live chat test based on your brand persona, website, and knowledge base to administer to your agents.
Remember these best practices when creating your test chats:
You’re Taking the Role of a Consumer
Phrase all questions as if they came from your target audience. This is a great opportunity to step into the different mindsets of your actual customers in order to anticipate their potential needs.
You’re Trying to Stump Your Agents
Create questions around the smallest, tiniest (yet, consumer-relevant) details of your company. Get super-specific — even if answers aren’t in the knowledge base. The challenge gives your agents a chance to use their knowledge of the company and its persona, in addition to strategy. A great example is the question, ‘What are the holiday hours?’ While this seasonal information might not be in the knowledge base (yet), it gives agents the opportunity to solve the question themselves, using their brand resources. By anticipating and preparing agents on how to answer these kinds of questions, you empower them to problem solve and relentlessly find answers for your customers, while maintaining the integrity of your brand persona, as any company owner would.
Doing this before you go live is important as well. It allows you to identify and troubleshoot any opportunities to improve the customer service experience or fill any knowledge gaps. Through repetition, it also empowers and builds the confidence of your agent in knowing exactly how to represent your brand in the most parallel, authentic way that you would.
You’re Training Your Agents on Everything
You want agents to know everything about the company, not be the master of one area. Create a variety of questions to reflect your entire business. Emphasize your culture, operations, and support if that is what you believe your customers will inquire about, as much as products and services.
You’re Training With Scenarios, Not Only FAQs
You need your agents to know what to say and how to act in everyday conversations, as well as crazy situations.
Your test chats need to include what to do when presented with the unlikely scenario where a group of teenage boys abuses your agent, the customer does not speak English, or they are extremely upset with their service. Trust us, it happens!
These example scenarios may seem out there, but you’re better off prepared for anything rather than nothing.
The length of your test should reflect the size of your company and the knowledge base. If your products or services require more detailed knowledge or information, your test will be longer in order to accommodate. Once you have your questions and scenarios, you’re ready to test your agents. Each agent is administered the test and required to pass in order to continue with the process. At Flow, we break the test into 2-3 smaller tests, requiring each agent to pass each at 100% before advancing.
Step 4: Run Tests
After each agent passes the tests at 100%, you can now begin running test chats. Doing so is pretty straightforward — get online, run tests, and depending on the results, assess necessary training length.
Testing could take anywhere from three days to a week, depending on how confident you are that each agent knows the information and can thoroughly represent your brand. No matter the length, you’re ensuring your agents can flex their knowledge and support muscles confidently come launch day. The first day of test chats you will be able to assess how well each agent knows your brand, as this will be the first opportunity your agents will have to directly apply all of their learned information in a mock setting. The following days you will be able to focus on clarity, speed, and service as they apply the information further in continuous mock chats.
Step 5: Provide Feedback
Giving feedback to your agents is crucial to reinforce strengths and improve weaknesses.
Remember, you’re giving feedback on noticed opportunities to uplevel their service. All feedback comes from a place of love because you know your team is capable of exceptional service. It’s always an open conversation to remove barriers that prevent higher performance.
With that said, you’ll need to analyze and give feedback in:
- Knowledge base: Did the agent answer all the questions correctly?
- Response time: Did the agent respond in 40 seconds or less?
- Chat duration: Was the chat shorter than 10 minutes?
- Customer service: Did the agent actively listen and respond professionally to all scenarios?
- Customer support: Did the agent creatively problem-solve and provide solutions?
- Customer rapport: Did the agent avoid scripts and act naturally?
After each test chat, you’ll give individual feedback to focus on agent-specific goals. After, share the chat transcripts with the rest of your team. They’ll provide each other feedback, troubleshoot related issues, and learn together.
Step 6: Rinse and Repeat
Keep running test chats until you and your team are 100% confident to go live. Even if that means extending training a day. No matter what, ensure your agents can:
- Ditch the scripts and chat freestyle
- Deliver a unique and exceptional experience
- Keep their cool when a chat gets crazy
- Be human and build rapport
- Convert traffic to leads with sales strategies
Once your live chat team is up and running, your journey has just begun. There’s a ton more to learn, and many more ways you can exceed your consumer’s expectations with live chat.
Whether you’re training or outsourcing your live chat, handing your clients to the right agent requires tremendous trust. At Flow, we guarantee extensive training and test chat completion, so your agents know your business inside and out. Plus, they respond in 40 seconds or less with 90% customer satisfaction ratings. We train hard to build your trust so you can tap into a wealth of qualified leads with confidence.
Let’s talk more about building and training your live chat team.