22. June 2018 Blog

Improve your agent skills in 5 easy steps

Call center agent

Many companies have been placing more and more focus on boosting customer satisfaction. However, customer expectations on the quality of services have also been growing. Customer satisfaction influences loyalty and overall satisfaction with the company, its products, and its services.

The quality of services provided by a company is closely linked to call center agents. Agents’ skills, behavior, creativity, problem-solving skills, responses to questions – all these factors have a strong impact on the caller’s overall experience. Call centers are increasingly abandoning strict rules and allowing agents a certain degree of autonomy when handling calls. This means that agents have a freer hand to solve customers’ queries.

The reason is simple – agents who are given the autonomy to solve customer issues and requests provide better service and more efficient customer support. Personalized information makes customers happier about the overall quality of service. Furthermore, thanks to the real-time customer card which pops up even before the call is answered, agents can see all interactions between the customer and your company (history of calls, chats, tickets, orders, etc.).

Improving agent skills is the first step towards their independence. But how to achieve it? Here are five steps that will help you start building the best team ever.

1. Hire agents who can solve problems independently and efficiently

The top priority for any call center is to create a team of agents who are capable of solving customer issues and queries efficiently and autonomously. Hiring agents who have the potential is the basic foundation to build on.

It all starts with an interview during which you can check the agent’s skills. Give the candidate a fictitious script and ask him how he would solve the problem step by step. Listen carefully to his analysis and solution of the problem. Don’t try to guide him, give him space for independent thinking.

Agent skills and qualifications related to problem-solving can also be analyzed based on references from previous managers and employers. Agents who have already faced a complex problem are more experienced, more independent, and more successful. Which is exactly what you need. 

2. Hire agents with the right personality who can work independently

The candidate’s personality is crucial when determining whether he is right for the job. Build your team with candidates who are open to new, autonomous processes and experiences, who like to learn new things and use creativity to solve problems.

Of course, certain ground rules are still needed. Nevertheless, you should allow your agents a certain degree of independence from the very start. Assess their creativity, flexibility, skills, and abilities. This will result in successfully solved problems. Allow agents to stand out from the crowd of ordinary call center agents.

3. Provide trainings to enhance agent skills

Do you want to improve agents’ skills and thus allow them to solve problems faster and better? Provide them with practical training.  

Set up a role-play – one of the agents will be the client and another one will be the agent. Give them a realistic script. After the exercise is over, listen to the recording together and compare their solutions with other colleagues. By seeing different approaches to the same problem, you will expand the agents’ horizons and allow them to find efficient solutions even when things get tough.

Remember that the more your agents learn, the more efficient their solutions will be and the sooner they become autonomous. A good manager should involve agents in the decision-making process when solving more complex issues. You should look at individual steps together and show the agent how an experienced problem-solver should act. 

4. Monitor your agents to improve services

Don’t let newly-hired agents start without your support. Use the possibility to be a silent advisor and help them handle critical parts of the call.

To make sure that the skills of your agents are improving and that customer queries are solved in a more efficient and successful way, keep monitoring their calls. If you discover any unnecessary mistakes, you can mention them during the next training.

5. Provide agents with constructive feedback

Feedback is one of the most important tools to improve the team’s work in any industry, including call centers. Feedback should be based on relevant data which you can obtain with the Call Recording feature. It’s not enough to say “you’re doing it wrong”. You need to show objective data and demonstrate what was wrong and why.

If you want to build the best possible team of agents, you need to guide them through the learning process with efficient feedback.

Managers who look for options to improve the problem-solving process within their team and provide better customer support should start with these five steps. Smart business phone system enables them to simplify their work and provide them a tool to make their work even more efficient.