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Who Do You Hire For Live Chat? Hard Core Sale People or friendly Customer Service People?

As live chat grows in popularity, we need to ask what kind of person we hire as a live chat agent? Should they be soft and caring with tonnes of empathy allowing them to make customers feel heard and appreciated? Or do we need hardcore sales focused on people who can assist people in getting what they need and closing the deal. Maybe even upselling products so the customer leaves with a bigger bill and feeling well-served and happy?

Is it possible to get both? Is it possible to train a salesperson to be a customer service person and vice versa?

The first thing you need to do is decide what are you selling? Is it a complex sell where you need to build relationships and trust or is it a near commodity item that needs no explanation and price is the leading factor?

Added to that, do the sales of the product or service lean itself to add on and upselling?

Let’s take two examples for this article.

  1. A service like my live chat operators
  2. A products business like one of my clients www.transnatal.co.za

In my business, I need to convince potential buyers that my agents can be trusted and that they do in fact need 24 – 7 live chat agents. For my business, I feel that the live chat agents need to help the visitor navigate the site and research the options and then close (get them to a demo or sign up trial)

For my business, I need a sales-minded person

For the second business, Trans Natal, who have many thousands of items where people are unsure of what they need and also are unaware of what is available I need a salesperson who understands customer service and returns and repeats business.

The live chat operators need to make people register, discuss deliveries, stock availability as well as listen and understand their client’s needs in order to offer them the perfect products.

Here is the rub, depending on who you ask you will get different opinions if you ask the finance person they will want the sales-focused agent upselling and closing deals. If you ask operations they want a customer service focused person who can reduce returns and mistakes?

So I guess it all comes down to training and recruitment. If you understand you needs before you hire you may be able to improve sales and customer service levels by a considerable percentage just by recruiting the right personality and then training them to your businesses personality and needs.