Call center agents are on the front lines of modern customer service. Tasked with the important job of keeping callers satisfied, these professionals must be prepared for anything. The ability to think on your feet certainly comes in handy in this line of work, but improvisation isn’t the only skill you’ll need to keep customers smiling. Here are six of the most in-demand customer service skills call center agents should have:
A Positive Attitude
Maintaining a positive demeanor is paramount in the call center world. It doesn’t take much imagination to think of how many irate callers an agent has to deal with over the course of a month, a week, and sometimes even a single shift. Successful call center agents keep a positive attitude, because they are aware that upset callers aren’t actually mad at them. They don’t take things personally, and they even have a knack for de-escalating tense conversations with their positivity. A chipper outlook is also beneficial for creating great customer experiences for callers who aren’t worked up at all. Think back to the last time you spoke with a call center representative and hung up the phone in a better mood simply because the person you talked to was upbeat. The power of a positive attitude is not to be underestimated.
Empathy goes hand-in-hand with a positive attitude. While it’s easy to turn on a smile, empathy challenges call center agents to put themselves in their caller’s shoes. Whether settling a payment dispute, extending a freebie, or patiently explaining a kink in the system, call center agents must always work from a place of understanding. Of all the necessary customer service skills, empathy is the one that will keep callers coming back for more.
Ever have a conversation with someone you know isn’t listening? It can be maddening. Their detached “uh huh”s and unfeeling responses can make you feel like you don’t matter. This is the last feeling you’d ever want to give your callers, which is why it’s so important for call center agents to master the art of active listening. This customer service skill challenges employees to engage with the caller as they explain. Rather than simply waiting around for their turn to speak, call center agents must actively hear out the questions and concerns of the caller, validating their words and offering solutions only after they fully understand the issue.
Call center agents must work quickly and effectively to resolve problems and keep customers satisfied. Working at your own pace is nice, but when a caller is waiting on you to find a solution, dawdling just isn’t appropriate. Thankfully, there are a number of resources, tools and strategies at the disposal of modern call center workers. CRM databases make it easier than ever to work quickly and solve issues without putting callers on hold. This customer service skill is more important than ever, but it’s also one of the easiest skills to master in the technological era.
Modern customer service looks a lot different from how it did five or ten years ago. Given how quickly technology is evolving, call center agents must be incredibly versatile in their daily work. There’s always some new software to try, call center equipment to become familiar with, and a new challenge to overcome. Additionally, policies and procedures that call center agents must abide by are continuously evolving. By maintaining a versatile skill set, call center agents can easily stay afloat in this ever-changing sphere.
Readiness to Go Above and Beyond
The sign of a truly effective call center agent is their willingness to go beyond expectations. By delivering results that will delight callers, agents may inspire them to become lifelong customers. Going the extra mile looks different for different industries, but there’s a universal satisfaction that comes with accomplishing what you called to accomplish. An offer of free shipping, courtesy vouchers, and other surprises are all nice gestures, but quickly providing a fulfilling customer experience is often head and shoulders above what callers are used to. When frustrating automated menus, long wait times, and getting passed from department to department has become the norm, it’s easier than ever to provide outstanding customer service by efficiently taking care of everything the caller is inquiring about.
To deliver truly meaningful customer experiences, call center agents must constantly develop their customer service skills. While these six are a great start, they’re far from the only skills required for success. Ongoing training can help call center agents develop their skill set and inspire meaningful conversations and problem solving solutions. At MAP Communications, we’re proud to provide extensive training for our call center agents from the moment they’re hired and throughout their careers. This level of training means all our clients and their callers are treated to the very best customer experiences possible.
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