"Your most important customer is the one you have in front
of you right now."
Lauderbaugh & Associates
e-Customer Service Question
by JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
"How Can We Ensure That Our Online
Customer Service Agents Impart A
Warm and Friendly Tone In Their
Text-based Chat with Online
Shoppers and Visitors?"
Customer Support Management Magazine Reader
By JJ Lauderbaugh, CPCM
Select your best agents who have great telephone communication skills, positive caring
attitudes, excellent product knowledge and problem-solving skills to perform text-based
chats with customers.
These agents are usually seasoned representatives who have made a commitment to serve
customers in an assertive, personable, respectful and empathetic manner. They would
automatically pick up the customer's sense of urgency or lack of it, and match the
customers pace in the chat.
Supervisors and managers should be consistently spot checking net-rep's chat messages.
They should walk around the call center and observe the agents' body language. A frowning,
tense and irritated agent could be sending "zinger" chat messages that are
lacking warmth and friendliness. A quick monitoring or observation of the text chat will
indicate unwarranted concern, or a strong need for training. Also notice if the mirror
that is used to reflect the rep's smile is placed near the monitor for self-monitoring or
if it has been abandoned.
Reps should be taught how to keep a neutral, caring attitude under all conditions. They
need to know how to get rid of their own emotional "buttons" that are ready to
be pushed. They should avoid "pushing back" and "fueling" a tense
situation with the wrong words and phrases. Learning how to use proven neutralizing words
and phrases can also help control the text chat for a win-win.
They should avoid using all CAPS as this is the same as shouting in text chat. Remind them
to avoid short cuts such as, "RU" for "are you" and written symbols
that reveal feelings such as the smiley faces, even if customers use them.
They must also have fast, accurate keyboarding skills, excellent spelling and grammar, and
written composition skills. These skills are even more important in writing emails than
text chat as they are usually longer communications requiring more structure.
Text chatting is a written and analytical medium. All responses must be quick, short and
easily understood, with specific detailed information. Vague, abstract instructions
confuse the receiver and cause frustration. When the customer becomes confused or
frustrated, patience and empathy must be obvious in the way the agent composes the chat
The interpretation of the message is dependent on the attitude and personal experience of
the receiver, so management needs to create a neutral, personable, warm and friendly
standard for all text-chat net-reps. With these guidelines set in training, which includes
text chat roll playing to give them practical experience, supervisors need only to
regularly spot monitor and observe agents to ensure that shoppers and visitors are
receiving a warm and friendly tone in the text-based chats from their organization.
For free handout on e-Customer Service:
Call 800 500-9656 in the U.S.A. or
1997 - 2012
JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
JJ Lauderbaugh is an international speaker, trainer and
who specializes in customer service management.
JJ may be reached at:
Phone (408) 445-1590