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Improving your typing speed is one of the more productive things you can do when working in online customer service.
Most of your work revolves around contacting existing or potential customers either via email, live chat or social media. All those channels are based around typing, and the faster you can type, the more customers you can help.
If you’re not sure what your typing speed is or how you can improve it, this article will help you answer these questions.
Take the Typing Speed Test and see how you can practice to become an even faster typist. It can help you in your daily life, in your office job or during your live chat shift (if you don't have a live chat app, you can test ours for 14 days).
Why typing speed is important
It’s safe to say that all customers like fast answers. Unless someone is really bored, we usually like to handle customer service matters as quickly as possible. However, do you know how big of an impact a fast response time can have on a business?
According to a report from Forrester, 77 percent of customers believe that valuing their time is one of the most important things a business can do. This means that whenever a customer feels that they are being neglected, they will think that the company at fault is taking the business they bring in for granted.
If that’s the case, it’s no surprise that around 55 percent of US adults will leave an online purchase if they can’t get an answer quickly. So even if you know the answer and would eventually provide it, half of your customers won’t wait for it.
We did a bit of data digging ourselves when preparing our Customer Service Report. When looking at the response time data, we noticed a clear correlation between short response times and high customer satisfaction.
Take a look yourself:
Companies that stay below the average resposne time of one minute score much better customer satisfaction results.
To put it simply, fast response times lead to happy customers who buy more.
Your typing speed is crucial here. The faster you type, the faster the response will be. Even if you don’t have an immediate answer, you can at least acknowledge the customer question with a quick reply to let them know that you’re working on it.
But that’s not all. If you are able to provide faster answers, you’ll also be able to handle more cases, both per hour and at at time. This will allow you to avoid a situation where there’s a growing queue of customers waiting for an answer just because you can’t type fast enough.
Typing speed will help you rise the quality of contact (faster answers) and the quantity of cases you are able to handle (more chats/emails).
Taking the typing speed test
As you can see, you can’t really go wrong with improving your typing speed. Before you can start learning how to type faster, your first need to know what you are working with.
You can take our Typing Speed Test to find out how fast you can type.
During the test, you’ll have one minute to type in a set of words. After the test, you will see the following stats:
- Words/minute (WPM): The number of correctly typed in words. This is the most basic metric there is when it comes to typing speed.
- Chars/minutes (CPM): How many characters you’re able to type in per minute. Since the lengths of words can affect your WPM, it may be a good idea to look at CPM instead. For example, you can have a 70+ WMP metric while typing in a lot of short/simple words and get the same CPM as a person with 55 WPM that is typing a lot of long/difficult words.
- Accuracy: The final metric that shows how many errors you made. Each mistake will bring this number down a bit. Accuracy is important because it’s one thing to provide fast answer and another to provide fast answers your customers understand. You can have 100+ WMP and still do poorly if your replies are full of typos and don’t make sense.
After taking the typing speed test, you can also see how well you did when compared to others. With nearly 75,000 tests taken, this should give you a pretty good estimate where do you place among other typists.
In general, 35-40 WPM is how fast an average person can type. If you can go type faster than that, you should be able to deal with typing in a customer service setting.
Typing anywhere between 60-75 WMP puts you on a professional level. This is how much an average professional typist can churn out.
If you’re pushing more than 90 WPM, you’re clearly some kind of a typing god and you should be able contact multiple customers at a time without breaking a sweat.
Typing speed practice
How do you get better at typing? The same as with any other thing in life – practice, practice, practice. Typing speed is one of the things you can’t really ‘hack’ or take shortcuts when trying to improve it. If you don’t practice, you won’t get faster.
Typing practice is all about developing proper muscle memory. Your goal is to touch-type – type without looking at the keyboard. With proper finger placement, each finger is responsible for a different set of keys.
You can train your typing using one of the free apps available online. Some examples of such apps are:
Pick the one that you like the most and try to put 15-20 minutes of typing training each day. It’s important that you don’t try to ‘force’ it. The 15-20 minutes of daily practice may seem like not that much effort, but when you give the training a try, you’ll see why.
Even a short training session can tire out your fingers. Take it slow and focus on consistency and accuracy instead of speed. The speed will come over time and you want to focus on creating good habits first.
After a while, go back to the Typing Speed Test and see how much progress you you’ve made.
Typing speed test challenge
How fast you can get after you start practicing? When designing the Typing Speed Test, we set the upper part of the scale at 90 WPM. However, during the testing period, we found a few typing speed demons in our company that were able to consistently type more than 90 words per minute.
Can you beat that score? Take the typing speed test and show us that the scale should be much bigger!
Keyboard layout graphic courtesy of Cy21 via Creative Commons.