15 live chat agent responsibilities

Live chat agents are a firm fixture in any modern contact centre. They’re a crucial part of your support frontline, assisting both existing and prospective customers through a company’s live chat channel.

But what, specifically, does that assistance entail? The role of a live chat agent is busier and more varied than you might first assume.

So, here’s an overview of the top 15 live chat agent responsibilities that comprise this important role.

1.      Answering customer queries

Starting with perhaps the most obvious— but nuanced — of the live chat agent responsibilities, agents are there to support online customers. They’re responsible for answering customer questions that come in via the website(s) they man.

Live chat agents need to be able to provide concise information to customers. Chat is all about quick responses and accessibility — so agents need to be able to answer questions effectively and efficiently.

2.      Fixing customer problems

Customers commonly use live chat to reach out with a problem. This could be to do with a faulty product, shipping issues, service complaints — all sorts. And it’s the job of the live chat agent to fix the issue.

There are many skills that go into fixing problems. For instance, live chat agents need effective questioning skills in order to understand not only the exact problem, but what resolution the customer wants.

In some cases, such as in tech support scenarios, agents also need to be able to convey complex fixes in an easy-to-follow way — and be adaptive to the customer’s knowledge and ability.

3.      Proactive engagement

With live chat, agents aren’t just responsible for answering customers as they ask questions. Rather, proactive service is part of their responsibilities too.

This means that agents should also be on the other end of chat invitations — which reach out to website visitors to offer support based on their browsing behaviour. This requires agents to be able to assist with browsing the website, filling in webforms, and so on.

4.      Co-browse with web visitors

This ties in to the next of the live chat agent responsibilities: co-browsing with web visitors. Sometimes in a live chat session, the agent might need to guide users through a tricky process. (I.e., user onboarding, or completing a complex web application.)

So, they’ll need to co-browse with the customer for a more interactive brand of support. Here, they’ll share the user’s screen and scroll, click, and type alongside them — or even take control as needed.

5.      Provide meaningful conversations via soft skills

You might think that soft skills are less important for a web-based role than they are for other, face-to-face customer service jobs. But it’s not enough to robotically answer questions in live chat.

So, another of the live chat agent responsibilities is to make the conversations they have with customers meaningful. And that requires soft skills.

Chat agents need to be able to provide the human touch and create connections between the customer and the business. A chat conversation is an opportunity to create experiences that promote brand loyalty or even advocacy.

A big part of this human touch is empathy. As such, the ability to detect customer emotions through the chat messages, and respond appropriately, is of utmost importance.

6.      Upsell and cross-sell

Live chat conversations can present opportunities for extra sales — another responsibility for the live chat agent.

Agents need to be able to recognise the opportunities to cross-sell and upsell. Then, they need the skills to get the extra product information in a message without being pushy or overly sales-y. The goal of live chat is a conversational engagement, not a sales pitch.

Striking this balance is one of the challenges that live chat agents need to be able to meet.

7.      Identify and report common pain points

Live chat agents are on the frontline of customer problems. They get direct-from-the-source knowledge of how customers use the products and services — and the problems and pain points that most commonly arise.

As such, another of the live chat agent responsibilities is to identify such major pain points. Then, they need to flag them to a liaison who will convey the information to other departments. In this way, live chat agents are part of developing and improving the products and services the business offers.

8.      Set and meet expectations

A huge part of good customer service revolves around what the customers expect. It’s the job of the agent to not only recognise and meet these expectations, but also to set them, where appropriate.

For instance, if an agent needs ten minutes to send a follow-up email with a document for the customer, they can make that the expectation. It is then imperative that they meet that deadline.

9.      Cross between alternate service channels

This leads us to the next of our main live chat agent responsibilities: crossing between service channels beyond chat.

Sometimes, chats can become part of an omnichannel interaction. That is, the live chat agent may need to escalate the chat into a call, and switch channels mid-way through an interaction. Perhaps the customer left a call-back request when chat was offline, which the agent must then pick up. Perhaps the agent needs to investigate an issue further, and get back to the customer via email. And so on.

Other times, in smaller contact centres, live chat agents may also be cross-trained to handle enquiries from all other inbound channels – not just deal with occasional spill-overs. (I.e. looking over telephone calls, emails, tickets, SMS, social media messages, etc., – as well as chat.) So, the live chat agent may even be an all-round customer service representative.

10.  Complete training

Beyond cross-training on other channels, broader customer service training is another key part of a chat agent’s job. Live chat agents commonly undergo on-the-job training. Typically, this includes technical training, policy training, soft skills training, and the like.

While the company should provide this training, it’s the responsibility of the agent to engage with the opportunity to touch up and improve their skills.

11.  Help other agents

Another of the live chat agent responsibilities is about helping team members, as well as customers. By fostering a supportive environment, customers get better service, and agents get better job satisfaction.

Agents should be willing and able to ask each other for help when needed, and to supply help when asked.

Live chat software comes with tools to help with this collaboration. For instance, WhosOn has whisper messages to allow agents to quickly ask for — and provide —help.

12.  Manage chat queues and concurrent chats

Live chat service means effective queue management and meeting the need for speed. Website visitors reaching out through chat expect fast connections and quick replies.

This means that live chat agent responsibilities include being able to effectively manage queues to meet expectations and reply to customers in a timely manner.

A skill to help with this is the ability to multitask via concurrent chats. Seasoned agents should be able to manage more than one chat at a time. (Though we recommend no more than three at once — to maintain high service quality and not cause agent burnout.)

13.  Meeting targets

This leads us to another key responsibility for chat agents: meeting targets. Chat conversations are widely monitored and reported on in the modern contact centre. So, chat agents are subject to a broad mix of targets.

This includes things like chat handling time, NPS scores, chat pickup speed, average number of chats taken, and so on. Live chat agents must meet these targets as part and parcel of the role.

14.  Live chat admin

Another part and parcel responsibility for a live chat agent is admin. Typically, admin is lighter for a chat agent than it is for a telephone agent, but there are still some routine tasks to perform following a chat interaction.

For example, tagging a chat (i.e. ‘product X help’, ‘good feedback’) for smooth accessibility and reviewing purposes. Or performing operator wrap-ups, to categorise chats for reports. Or adding a note against the customer’s CRM file with an important detail from the chat. Perhaps the agent needs to schedule a demo with a sales rep, or check a database for an update.

Either way, admin is another of the common (albeit smaller) live chat agent responsibilities to note.

15.  Contact centre compliance

Last, live chat agents must navigate the compliance challenges of the contact centre. This means accommodating regulatory requirements such as GDPR and PCI DSS, for example.

Whenever a customer signs on to a new contract, the live chat agent needs to make sure they’ve conveyed all the terms and conditions of that contract. When the customer needs to supply their data, the agent needs to ensure the customer knows their rights regarding its use. And of course, the agent should never request information that’s not allowed, or speak in a manner that breaches company policy.

So, compliance is interwoven into the role of a live chat agent, and sticking to the script is essential.

Live chat agent responsibilities

There’s more to being a live chat agent than meets the eye. It can be a challenging role to fulfil with plenty of live chat agent responsibilities to meet.

But agents aren’t left to handle these responsibilities without help. Live chat software comes with a host of features to help live chat agents succeed at every part of their role. To learn more, check out the handy agent features available inside WhosOn.

Useful links

Questioning techniques in customer service

The customer service battle: digitalisation vs the human touch

How can contact centres recover from record UK customer complaints?

Embracing the omnichannel contact centre