Using live chat to power remote customer service

There’s more to customer service than answering questions. While availability and accessibility are cornerstones of a solid customer support function, you also need a mix of technology tools to perform the job efficiently.

Effective customer service, then, means connecting with customers and having the resources to solve their problems. Which is often easier said than done. Particularly when it comes to remote work.

Today, more and more teams are looking to transition to remote working. Over the last five years, in fact, remote working grew 44%, and over the previous 10 years it grew 91%. (Only accelerated, of course, by recent COVID-19 issues.) In this rapid transition, finding ways to power quality remote customer service is a key challenge. Here’s how live chat can help.

Real-time connections

Creating great experiences is more than being able to answer a call or reel off a response. It’s being able to solve a customer’s problems, cater to their needs, and nurture a genuine human connection.

For new remote customer service teams, this might seem tricky to achieve. Not only are you cut off from the customer, you’re cut off from your usual work environment. So, you have less cues than you typically would, and likely less resources at your disposal too. (Perhaps why remote workers are more likely to be dissatisfied with their daily activities.)

Enter live chat software. Live chat connects customer-facing teams with both the customer and with colleagues – with a host of tools to make the job feel smoother and easier. So, what are we talking about specifically?


First, and most obviously, the very format of live chat is patently suited to remote customer service. Its online nature means that there’s no need to sit in a busy call centre or expensive office to use it. All your team needs to run live chat software is an internet-connected device.

You might be at home, for example, with a work-issued laptop that has a chat client installed on the desktop. You might be working remotely on a more sudden basis, without access to your company workstation. In this case, you can still access chat via a browser-based web client. Or you might be on the go – in which case a live chat app will power remote customer service chats.

Either way, live chat is an easily accessible tool no matter where – or when – you happen to be working.

Powering human service, remotely

Beyond its accessibility, live chat software helps power human customer service. Service, that is, that feels friendly, personalised, and supportive.

So, for remote customer service teams, chat gets the job done better than other channels. It provides a level of efficiency beyond that of the telephone, a level of warmth beyond that of the email, and a level of clever features that exceed both.

Useful features for human service
  • CRM integration

Remote agents can personalise the service they provide using CRM integration. For example, they can see the customer’s chat history and key data. And, as an added boon, automatic CRM integration means that your systems will be kept up to date even while agents are off-premises.

  • Video chat

In some cases, supporting remote work means finding ways to do things you’d normally do in-person remotely. For example, some remote workers might need to talk face to face with a customer. Live chat software has these situations covered with video chat. Via video chat, you can power face-to-face conversations, consultations or catch-ups online. All creating that humanised service.

  • Remote desktop control

Other remote workers might need to see a customer’s computer screen or even take control of it entirely to fix a problem. Live chat software enables this remotely too, with follow page and remote desktop control. So, you can chat to customers while resolving their issues directly. It doesn’t get more humanised than that.

Powering remote teamwork

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes teamwork to create efficient, effective customer service. It’s important to encourage a friendly, positive camaraderie between agents. This is especially true when your team works remotely.

Teamwork means sharing knowledge. It means supporting each other and making positive social connections with colleagues. It can boost moods and make for happier team members. And happy agents make for happy customers.

In an office, teamwork is second nature. If you’re stuck, you ask the person next to you. If you’re frustrated, you pause for a supportive chat at the water cooler. Live chat can help your remote team replicate this.

Even when the team isn’t in the same building, they can support each other through handy chat features.

Chat features for remote teamwork

Remote customer service workers can see who else on their team is online. From there, live chat software comes with features that promote collaboration. So, remote customer service teams can ask for help and offer support to each other.

  • Internal chat

Internal chat lets agents talk to each other. They could use this to have a general conversation. Or they might use it to let off steam and talk through a tricky interaction they’ve had, for instance. This helps to boost the sense of social connection, and by extension, the sense of being part of a team.

  • Agent tagging

With ‘@’ tagging, agents can tag a team member — or a supervisor — into a chat when they need a quick answer. In turn, this results in a more helpful and consistent service experience for the customer.

  • Whisper messages

With whisper messages, team members can ‘whisper’ helpful information to agents that have asked for help. This means that your remote customer service team can share knowledge and help fix problems faster.

Managing remote customer service

Along with teamwork comes the need for effective management. You need to make sure each team member is performing well, that no one is unknowingly working on the same task as another. You might need to make sure everyone has seen an announcement or message.

In an office, you can do this in person, seeing who’s in, asking if anyone needs help, and verbally making announcements. But remote work can make it hard to keep track of your service agents.

This is yet another area where live chat software powers and supports remote customer service work. How? With a host of handy management features.

Useful features for remote management
  • Agent activity logs

Keep track of your team. Live chat software can give you a handy overview of how each of your remote customer service agents is performing overall. Agent activity logs give you a daily record of activity. For instance, the agent status throughout the day. It also provides an overview of performance indicators like sentiment analysis scores.

  • Broadcast messages

You might have an important announcement to share, a warning about a service outage, or an update on a company issue. Telling your entire remote customer service could mean a lot of time-consuming phone calls. But with live chat software broadcast messages, you need only hit send once, and every agent will get your message simultaneously.

  • Availability schedules

From within your chat client, you can assign fixed rotas, define work periods and keep track of who should be logged in and when. So, you can make sure that your remote team’s time is effectively managed to cover the volume of chats you need to take.

Remote customer service

Customer service is more than answering customers. It’s having the tools, teamwork, and management to be there for your customers, create real connections, and solve their problems.

Live chat software is a way for customers to contact you. It’s also rich in features that support the behind-the-scenes workings of great customer service. And it’ll work no matter where your team is.

Power up your remote customer service teams today, with a free trial of WhosOn.

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