7 Important Call Center Skills For Agents
- Contact Center
- BY Eddie
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Call center agents are a little bit like superheroes. They have to solve problems, deal with difficult people, and still do their job correctly. There are some vital call center skills for agents that need to be learned to do that. Call Center Skills We all know the importance of inbound call centers when it
Call center agents are a little bit like superheroes. They have to solve problems, deal with difficult people, and still do their job correctly. There are some vital call center skills for agents that need to be learned to do that.
Call Center Skills
We all know the importance of inbound call centers when it comes to customer service. They are the places that everyone calls when they have a problem with anything from computer software to vacuum cleaners. One thing that all of the call centers around the world have in common, however, is that customers want resolutions on the first call.
The initial contact of a call center agent is the most crucial element of any call centers, and how the agent handles those contacts is vital to your business.
source: Adobe Spark
In this article, we are going to take a look through some of the essential call center skills for agents to make the process of a call go as well as possible:
- Knowledge of the product.
- Attention to detail.
- Effective communication.
However, telling you what they need to have is no good without going into them in a little bit more detail:
Extensive Knowledge of The Product
To be able to answer dozens of calls in one day accurately can easily mean that you have to cover hundreds of different issues or questions. Therefore, an agent has to have an extensive knowledge of the product or service that they are selling. Not only do they need the knowledge of the product, they also need to understand the company and their principles, too.
Remember that the first agent is likely, and hopefully, the only person that the caller will need to talk to to get their issues resolved. Only having to speak to one person often makes you feel understood, valued, and confident in the product and service. Remember, retention of customers is equally as important acquisition of new.
Attention To Detail
It doesn’t matter how much you know about the service or product that you are selling if you do not pay close attention. As a call center agent, customer service is your job. However, what service is the customer going to get if you are not listening to them well enough and miss vital information?
At best, you are going to be scored lower on that call because you missed a point on the scorecard. However, at worst, you are going to miss a piece of information. And that could mean the difference between a resolution and an escalation.
One thing that you do need to remember, though, is that it is not just attention to detail on the phone that is important. You may have a caller who is going to ring you back about an issue. That means that you may need to take notes about the call and problem, and how it may get resolved. That could get very messy. For example, if you have ten calls in a day, and six of those are going to call you back tomorrow, you may get confused with information that you note.
Therefore, you must have excellent attention to detail on your desk, notes, and recordings too. Attention to detail often gets overlooked as being “nit-picky.” But it could mean the difference between OK customer service and excellent service.
Effective communication is another point that is sometimes not looked into as much as it should be. Yes, we all know that you need to have a voice that people can understand, but that is not all there is to it.
You, as an agent, will be talking to a plethora of people from all walks of life, all with different accents and ways of saying things. You will need to be able to communicate with everyone in a way that they can understand you. Also, so that you can show them you know what you mean, without sounding unfriendly. That can be a challenging task for a lot of people.
If you are not clear, concise, and helpful at the same time, you may give the customer a solution to their problem, but they may not realize it. That can lead to an unhappy customer, and worse, you could lose them, and anyone they tell about the service, all together.
As I said earlier in the article, you are likely to come across a lot of different issues, from technical problems to demanding customers. Some call centers even take calls for various companies all in one day. That can become very frustrating and confusing. While you always have the option to call your supervisor, that is not something that they will like if it happens on every call that you take.
Of course, that does not mean that you should shy away from seeking help when you need it. What it does mean, though, is to ensure that you really need it before you ask for it. When you are on the frontline of a call center, that can be a tricky line to see. Therefore, you will need to be able to be very versatile in your approach to customers, their requirements, and their issues.
One other thing that overlooked often is that customers’ attitudes can change very quickly. They can start a call charming and polite, and switch to an inappropriate and rude manner in an instant. It is you that needs to be able to alter your tone appropriately at the same speed to counteract the change without becoming rude yourself.
As I have just spoken about versatility, and the requirement to be able to change your attitude when it is needed, empathy is just as important. There certainly is a time that you need to assert yourself in a situation. However, more often than not, you need to be compassionate to your customer’s issues.
Customers can become very upset and agitated in an instant, or worse still; they can start the call that way. You need to be able to understand that they have an issue that could be significantly affecting them and their daily lives. For example, some people need the internet for work. If their service is not working for any length of time, they have customers who are becoming frustrated with them, they then take it out on you.
You will need to be able to see that as an issue, and not turn straight into a defensive mode. Compassion will let you see that the problem that the customer has is very personal to them, but their attitude is not personal towards you. Explaining to0 a customer that you understand, and drawing from your own experiences will help.
Things get tough in a call center. That is certainly not a secret. Retaining your composure will help in both of the previous two sections, and is one of the essential call center skills. One of the crucial skills for call center agents is composure or patience. Although I have spoken about compassion, which includes tolerance, poise is something different.
For example, if you have just finished a phone call with an angry customer, you can not go into the next call with the same mentality. You need to remain composed and have a positive attitude when you answer the phone. And that is likely to happen only seconds after you end the previous call. Positivity will breed positivity. If you start a call in a bad mood because of the customer before, you will not help yourself in the next call. And that is likely to carry on all day.
Try to be friendly to all customers when you answer the call, and only change your attitude if the situation really needs it.
A smile in a face to face conversation is evident and will go a long way in customer relations. However, that is near impossible on the phone. Although some people can hear a smile, not everyone can. That is where enthusiasm and positivity helps you a lot.
Being able to answer the phone with the same positivity is one of the most critical call center skills that someone can have. Doing that will give your customers the feeling of reassurance and the ability to correct issues. If you answer the phone in a bad mood, it is only going to start badly. Remember, all of the sections above are added together into a positive attitude, and that is one of the best call center skills you can have.
There is a lot to be said for a call center agent, and their attitude is one of them. They will probably have a lot of tough times, but there are more rewarding times than difficult. You need to be able to have the essential skills for call center agents in mind every single call. If you remember these skills and attributes, you will go a long way in a call center. Remember, calls are not personal until you make them personal.