Do your agents have the right skill sets for online channels?

There’s no denying customers’ growing preference for online channels. But do your agents have the right skills for integrating online inquiries such as chat, email and social media?

To be successful with online inquiries an agent has to be a skilled writer and aware of how their words might be interpreted or maybe more importantly, how they could be misinterpreted.

Scott Sachs, Vice President, Call Center Operations at Assurant Solutions, described the challenge of integrating online inquiries into an agent’s skill set.

“A person who answers a telephone may have a certain communication skill set. When you’re talking about social media or online inquiries that involve communicating via the written word, there are some different skill sets that come into play.”

Sachs explained that you have to prepare and train your agents to be aware that even with the best intentions, the written word can get you in trouble. An agent may simply be trying to answer someone’s question as clearly as possible, but inadvertently uses language that is misinterpreted. In worst-case scenarios, this can spark negative online posts that spread like wildfire through social media channels.

“There’s an awareness level these agents must have… not just about the etiquette, but how to understand and really answer the question that the customer is asking,” said Sachs.

Sachs emphasized the importance of staying with the facts.

“Identify the facts and don’t let yourself be influenced by the emotion of the issue. Don’t infer or imply things with the words, just deal with the facts of the situation, and try to resolve the issue clearly and succinctly.”


The Take Away

  • Current phone staff may not have the right written skills for handling online inquiries
  • Prepare and train your agents to be constantly aware of their words and how they could be misconstrued
  • Teach your agents to stay with the facts


About the author

John Englund

John is a copywriter at Intradiem. He has a background in print and broadcast journalism and digital marketing with emphasis on technology.

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