Chat Agent Job Description
Chat agents communicate with customers through live chat or email to answer questions, solve problems, and troubleshoot. Since they function on the front line of customer service, it’s important that chat agents be comfortable communicating directly with customers. Chat agents can work remotely or in a standard office environment, and are generally required to have customer service experience.
Chat Agent Duties and Responsibilities
To keep customers happy and successfully solve any problems that may arise, chat agents perform a range of tasks. Based on the job listings we analyzed, chat agents are expected to take on these duties and responsibilities:
Receive and Promptly Respond to Customer Queries
Whether chat agents are contacted by email or live chat, they must make a continual effort to respond to customers as quickly as possible. Once they receive a message from a customer, they must listen carefully to the customer’s question or complaint before following protocol in order to resolve the issue or answer the question.
Document Issues and Resolutions
In addition to providing real-time support, chat agents thoroughly document each customer’s question or problem as well as the resulting answer or solution. This way, chat agents can help improve their organization’s overall functionality and efficiency.
Learn About New Products and Services
In order to help customers as effectively as possible, chat agents must make an effort to remain up to date on all the products and services that their organization offers. It’s especially important for chat agents to learn about new products and services, which customers may be more likely to ask questions about.
Develop Customer Service Solutions
Since they serve as their organization’s first point of contact with its customers, chat agents may be asked to make suggestions about how their organization can improve its customer service. Thus, chat agents should keep track of general patterns when communicating with customers.
Identify Possible Website Errors
As we mentioned above, chat agents are often the first person that a customer will speak with. Because of that, chat agents are the first people within their organization who will be alerted of website errors and other technical problems. If chat agents receive multiple queries about the same issue, they must report the issue to the IT department in order to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
Chat Agent Skills and Qualifications
Chat agents are excellent communicators with a passion for customer service. Depending on the company they work for, chat agents may also be required to be knowledgeable in certain areas of specialization, such as e-commerce or software. Employers tend to favor chat agents with the following skills:
- Customer service – since chat agents work directly with customers to solve end-user issues and answer questions, it’s essential that they have strong customer service skills
- Computer literacy – by nature, chat agents perform their day-to-day tasks on a computer. They must be able to easily operate a computer, especially in terms of checking and responding to emails as well as utilizing live chat services and software
- Problem-solving skills – the ability to solve problems is just as integral to a chat agent’s work as solid communication skills. When presented with a problem, chat agents must be able to find a solution calmly and efficiently, even if the customer is impatient or disgruntled
- Organization skills – as we mentioned earlier, chat agents are responsible for recording and documenting each question or problem as well as each respective answer or solution. Because of this, chat agents should have strong organization skills and be able to effectively sort large amounts of information
- Good attitude – though it may go without saying, it’s worth noting that the most successful chat agents address customers in an upbeat and positive manner. Even when facing complex problems or difficult questions, it’s important that chat agents maintain a good attitude
Tools of the Trade
Chat agents frequently use these tools in their daily work:
- Live chat software (such as Zendesk Chat, Kayako, Front, or Nextiva)
- Email software and services (such as Outlook, MailChimp, or Gmail)
Chat Agent Education and Training
In general, chat agents are not required to have any level of college education. Instead, they’re usually required to have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. Chat agents may also be required to take a typing speed test. Although previous customer service experience is usually preferred, chat agents don’t need to undergo formal training prior to seeking employment.
Chat Agent Salary and Outlook
According to Glassdoor, chat agents earn between $9 and $16 per hour. Since chat agents are often paid minimum wage, their hourly pay is usually determined by their state’s minimum wage laws. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, customer service representative jobs (which includes chat agents) are growing at a rate of 5 percent, which is an average growth rate. This means that 136,300 customer service representative jobs will be created between 2016 and 2026.
If you want to become a chat agent, take a look at this list of resources that we put together to help you reach that goal:
Extra Mile: 500 Customer Service Tips for Success – this book contains a whopping 500 customer service tips designed to help customer service representatives like chat agents “attract, satisfy, and retain even the most difficult customer”
Customer Service Professionals – this LinkedIn group boasts more than 100,000 members and is an ideal place for customer service professionals to network and discuss a variety of topics
Communication Workers of America – this union was created especially for communications workers like chat agents across a variety of industries. Members enjoy benefits such as scholarship programs, discounts, and access to training
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