21. September 2018 Blog

What skills should a contact center agent have?

What skills should a contact center agent have?

Businesses focusing on customer satisfaction know that they need to spend more time, effort and resources on boosting customer support quality. This results in the expansion of customer base, boost of sales and thereby increase of profits. Do you want to you what steps will guide you to such results?

These 8 tips lead to a more efficient and better communication between agents and clients. By applying these techniques to your training program, you will improve the quality of services and enhance customer satisfaction.

Agents are the face of your company, so give them as much time as they need :)

1) Greeting customers

Answering the phone and greeting the customer creates first impressions which set the tone for the rest of the interaction. An agent who answer the phone in an unsuitable manner (e.g. by unintelligible mumble or insufficient presentation of the company) seem unprofessional and incompetent. 

Teach your agents what to say when answering the phone to leave good impression and start the conversation in the right way. For example: "Hello Jack. You have reached CloudTalk. How can I help you today?" 

This is directly linked to appropriate call center etiquette principles. Excellent interaction from start to finish is key to success.

2) Building relationship with the customer

Building relationships with customers is a long-term process consisting from each interaction that the customer has with your company. A few simple steps can help speed up the process of establishing and strengthening the connection between the client and the company.

This means that each conversation with a customer should be personalized and should satisfy the caller’s needs. The customer must know that you are there for him and that you are happy to help. This is what you should teach your agents. You can also give various benefits to loyal clients, i.e. discounts or gift vouchers.

3) Active listening skills

Active listening is one of the key skills that have significant impact on customer satisfaction with your call center’s services. Why? Because the client wants to feel acknowledged and understood. But that’s not all – it’s not just about the client’s feelings, but mainly about solving their problem or query :)

But what does it actually mean to listen actively?

  • Don’t interrupt the customer unless it’s necessary.
  • Give them your full attention.
  • Write down important notes.
  • Ask clarifying questions, if necessary.

During active listening trainings, you can use recorded phone calls  to demonstrate good and bad examples. 

4) Summarize the main points  

In order to successfully solve the customer’s request or issue, agents should always make sure that they understood what the customer said. Teach your agents to summarize the main points of the customer’s problem or complaint. This will also demonstrate that they were listening actively and attentively and facilitated mutual understanding.

5) Personalized services

Regional and global leaders strive to provide customer-centric services. By offering personalized communication and relevant information, the customer’s rating of the quality of your service will improve.

With a call center software, agents can see detailed information about each caller displayed in one place – name, company and history of past interactions synced with all integrated tools:

  • history of calls, including recordings
  • history of interactions via email, live chat and social networks
  • history of helpdesk tickets
  • history of e-shop orders, etc.

With detailed customer information, agents are able to personalize their approach and meet the needs of customers more effectively.

6) Agent autonomy

Efficient customer interaction is based on various trainings. Call center agents also have scripts for successful interaction. Nevertheless, agents should have a certain degree of autonomy and space to follow their intuition. Why? Because more autonomous agents are more capable of responding to customers’ needs by being flexible, responsive and more personal. 

7) Phrases to avoid

Clients don’t want to hear negative answers. Sometimes it is inevitable to say No, but agents can use a more suitable alternative instead. Here’s a few simple examples of word softeners that you can integrate into your agent trainings:

  • No. → Can I offer you this instead?
  • I don’t know.  → Just a second, let me look into that.
  • That’s not my job. → May I transfer you to a colleague who can better help you? I will give him all the information so you don’t have to repeat it yourself. 
  • It’s your fault.  → I understand why you are frustrated. Let’s find a solution together. 
  • Calm down.  → We are very sorry. I am going to do my best to solve your problem as quickly as possible, let me call you back in a few minutes.

Using also these phrases will help agents handle angry customers and avoid turning a happy customer into an angry one  :)