Before delving further into the ways of being an efficient call center agent, let us first make sense of our prior understanding of call center agents.
WHAT ARE CALL CENTER AGENTS?
We have known call center agents as people that always wear corporate attires with headsets on their ears in front of the screen. However, in the back of our minds, call center agents are beyond that. Call center agents are actually workers who spend most of their time calling and answering potential customers. Those who answer a variety of calls for both incoming and outcoming calls from different customers. They also handle account inquiries, complaints from customers, and other support issues. Specifically, call center agents are committed to:
1. Inbound and outbound call management
2. Go after deferring communication scripts while speaking to the customer.
3. Customer Engagement
4. Pinpoint customer needs, answer their queries, and problem solving
5. Sell and boost products and services
6. Inform customers to inform and build interest in the product
7. Enhance performance to achieve more goals
The forested commitments of call center agents can only and only be attainable through possessing the following skills or character traits:
1. Knowledge Retentiveness
The aim of an agent is to deliver the best possible client service. They must be able to acquire and memorize a significant amount of knowledge about your firm in order to accomplish this. They should know the ins and outs of your product or service and be on board with your brand's ideology by the time they get up and running. When a call center agent is unable to fix an issue, they should know to who to send the call. They should be able to recall answers to frequently asked problems and troubleshoot with ease as time goes on. If your candidates don't look to be the kind to acquire and retain information fast, hiring them could be a mistake.
Working as a call center agent might be tedious at times. Day after day, agents are asked the same questions and receive the same complaints. The risk is that agents will develop complacent as a result of this. Agents that fall into this category are more likely to assume they understand client difficulties without requesting clarification and to respond with a scripted response. Unfortunately, this catastrophic recipe is all too common. In reality, customers claim that agents only respond to their questions 50% of the time. Make sure your representatives stand out from the crowd by asking consumers if their concerns have been fixed to their satisfaction before hanging up. Also, if a candidate's resume contains inaccuracies, it will be flagged during the recruiting process.
Agents that operate in a crowded call center need to be extremely organized. They must be able to multitask (for example, checking the knowledge base, updating the CRM, and taking notes in your helpdesk) while still attending to the demands of the customer. Staying organized will help them reduce errors during this process, allowing them to complete after-call work more efficiently and effectively handle customer demands. Hire employees who have a track record of being organized and have met all application process requirements (i.e., arriving on time for meetings, submitting necessary paperwork, etc.) to ensure your call center agents are organized. Make sure they have the tools they need once they've joined the team (for example, call center software that connects with other systems).
Your company's frontline is made up of agents. If they create a warm and welcoming picture, your consumers will rave about their encounters. Agents should be able to retain a pleasant attitude and a grin on their faces on a day-to-day basis. When hiring, make sure your agents are capable of going the extra mile while maintaining a pleasant demeanor. Once you've hired your staff, make sure you foster a culture that promotes camaraderie and prevents burnout. Your customers will thank you for it.
5. Focused under Pressure
A good call center representative isn't easily fazed. Due to a large amount of frustrated callers agents contact on a daily basis, some would claim that this is one of the most difficult jobs to sustain. When someone is yelling at them on the phone or when they have a chatty Cathy on the other end of the line who won't let them get a word in edgewise, a smart agent will remain calm. Keeping their calm in all of these scenarios and not allowing the frustrated callers to affect them personally can get any call center worker a long way in the business. Ask them how they deal with pressure throughout the hiring process, and check-in with their prior employers to determine if what they say is true.
In a busy call center, call center agents not only manage dozens of calls every day, but also interface with consumers who have difficult personalities. Hire agents that can go with the flow to ensure your agents are flexible enough to fulfill the needs of your diversified customer base. They must be able to deal with chatty customers one minute and furious customers the next. They should be able to roll with the punches and easily brush aside the bad stuff (after providing a solution, of course). Additionally, some of your agents may be required to work unusual hours, such as holidays, nights, and weekends. When you're looking for new agents, keep this in mind.
7. Skilled in Communication
Although this is self-evident, it is nevertheless worth emphasizing. Because a call center agent's duty is to communicate with customers, they must be excellent communicators. However, communicating may not always include speaking. Effective communication also involves listening to the caller, digesting the information, and conveying a solution quickly and effectively. The agent should speak clearly, using basic vocabulary. If they can communicate effectively, this will bode well for the quality of your service. In fact, seventy-eight percent of consumers say that a competent service agent is the most important part of a happy customer experience. You simply can’t have competence without clear communication skills.
Agents of fine standards should be quick and efficient. They should be able to work swiftly without losing quality. This affects your bottom line since the more callers each agent can manage, the fewer agents you'll need to keep your contact center running efficiently. It's also crucial to the people who call. They don't want to wait for a live representative (after all, 75 percent think it takes too long to reach a live agent). They want to speak with someone as soon as possible. A quick-thinking call center representative can improve your entire team's average speed to answer and service level, resulting in happier customers.
Finally, an effective agent must be inventive. He or she should be able to come up with practical solutions to any issues that arise. It's critical that they're creative since it will enable them to answer callers' needs in the most cost-effective manner feasible for both the firm and the client. Customer satisfaction may also improve as a result of this. 70% of the time, when agents successfully handle an issue, the consumer will return and do business with the company again. It can be difficult to locate truly successful call center agents. When you're looking for someone to hire, it helps to know what makes a good one. Also, just because some of your present call center agents don't have all of the necessary abilities, doesn't imply they can't succeed.
There are also possible shortcomings in the call center, given the very fact that call center jobs are one of those that are immensely demanding. In order to immediately address arising tendencies, call center agents must take note of the dos and don'ts of call center agents.
Do's for Call Center Agents
1. Be adept at the company's products and services
When agents are well-versed with the product's features and specs, they can solve a query or sell a product with minimal effort. This establishes credibility, builds trust, and creates a lasting impression on the prospect. Furthermore, it enhances the agent's confidence and allows them to sell more by crossing their ability line.
2. Give High Regard to the identity of the Customer
It irritates them to have to ask for a customer's information every time they contact. To avoid this, teach your representatives how to use customer service software. This tool aids staff in promptly and effectively responding to consumer inquiries, hence boosting the company's customer service procedures. This helps customers save time while also increasing agent productivity and efficiency. It also assists clients with quick bookkeeping and precise financial reporting. According to Crimson Consulting Group, 50% of call center agents have been using CRM for more than a year and have a good degree of CRM knowledge. Two-thirds of survey participants said they are "self-sufficient" or "help others with CRM."
3. Interact with customers as it is a two-way communication process
The agent's primary responsibility is to communicate; first and foremost, they should allow clients to speak freely. The agent should carefully listen and speak only after the other person has finished speaking. Second, they must be able to communicate effectively.
4. Prioritize the customer over the selling
Rather than pressuring customers to buy the company's product, an agent's full focus should be on the customer's needs and interests. They should concentrate more on comprehending the needs of the prospects and empathizing with their predicament. Customers will have more trust in you as a result of this, and they will be more likely to form a relationship with you. This way, if they have a problem, they will immediately look for you.
5. End-to-end Transparency
Even if the call center agent's position does not require them to continue beyond the initial call resolution, they should be eager to remedy the problem as soon as possible. They need to figure out what's causing the problem so that customers don't have to deal with it again. Even if they avoid being transferred from person to person, it has a significant impact on the customer's experience.
6. Learn from successful Call Center Agents
Getting advice from someone who is successful is one of the most effective strategies to improve your own performance. Listen in on calls with a successful call center representative to see how they manage their calls and communicate with customers. Then, infuse their methods into your own consumer interactions. By following other footsteps you can add extra efficiency in your work.
Don'ts for Call Center Agents
1. Don't lose your patience
The more composed the agents remain, the more successful they become. Their daily lives bring them into contact with people of various temperaments. When making outbound calls, a few prospects can be bothersome; they can be disrespectful and slam the phone. Customers vent their frustrations about their grievances even during inbound calls. This demoralizes the rep’s spirit because they cannot respond in the same manner, but if the client abuses – then the caller has a duty to report it to the seniors. Whatever the reason, do not upset a client because they might not need anything today but might require it later in the future. If they have a bad experience with you, they will never make a purchase.
2. Do not depend on the script
Every contact center agent needs a script. Unless altered, value proportions, product information, and FAQs should be jotted down and highlighted on their papers. Reps should provide accurate information to prospects because they will not forgive misleading information later. But at the same time, avoid narrating every bit of the script, it sounds robotic on the agent’s end. Keeping the sheet for reference is advisable.
3. Don't keep the customer's call for a long time
Customers become irritated when they are kept on hold. They despise hearing the voice on the other end of the line say, "Your call is on wait." Please be patient while we get help." Instead, it is recommended that you continue to speak with the customer while looking for information. The agent's top priority is to obtain positive feedback from the attendee, which can only be accomplished by offering them undivided attention.
4. Don't be spoon-fed by your supervisors
It is sometimes unavoidable for agents to request that consumers seek the aid of a supervisor. It's tempting to save everyone's time by passing them directly up the chain of command, but this should be avoided for three reasons:
a. Supervisors lose faith and miss out on opportunities to advance their careers.
b. Customers will believe that agents are unaware and uninformed and that they are offering false excuses, therefore they will not call again.
c. You will never be able to give definitive answers.
If the client requests for manager’s help, then of course you should entertain them. But in a well-run call center, your answer and your supervisor’s answer should be exactly the same.
5. Don't ever admit that you have no idea
Another comment that can entirely destroy a customer's trust in you is this one. Nobody expects you to have all the answers, but you should be confident in your ability to find the ones you don't. Otherwise, the client's call experience will be unpleasant. According to a YouGov survey, 76 percent of customers claimed that "just one bad contact center experience is likely to cause them to move their business elsewhere." According to a recent Zendesk poll, 35% of customers ceased doing business with a firm after a bad encounter. Agents in call centers must develop the necessary substance in them to propel them forward. They need to become the complete package. They work hard, exceed expectations, and do more than asked to achieve high-quality consistent results. A little direction can lead them to work extremely well with both customers and employees. Ameyo has recently launched a Remote Agent Solution for the contact center agents who are working from home. The solution provides the complete call functionalities click-to-dial, hold, mute.