We all know that good customer service is an essential part of any thriving business. But what exactly makes for a good call center agent? Great agents have several traits in common:
Being a people person. This is arguably the most important trait of any good call center agent. A good agent enjoys helping people, doesn’t mind heavy interaction with the public on a daily basis, and knows how to resolve conflicts with tact and without getting hotheaded. Your customers will catch on quickly if the are speaking to someone who finds customer service to be a chore. A positive attitude makes a big difference in helping to provide a great experience for your customers.
Specialized knowledge. Call center agents should be extremely familiar with your business philosophies, your products and/or services, and your company’s specific procedures in order to best assist your customer base. This is also the one trait that you can teach to your agents, so it’s very important that you take the time to equip your call center agents with the information they need.
Active listening skills. Listening is more than half the job of any good call center agent. Good agents are able to read between the lines of what their customers are saying in order to best meet their needs. If your customers feel misunderstood, they quickly get frustrated, so exceptionally good listening skills are critical.
Flexibility. Customers quickly become annoyed at call center agents that sound like robots. Great agents are able to adapt to many different scenarios, and can gracefully go off-script to provide a more personalized experience. A rigid agent will come across as nervous or incompetent.
Problem solving abilities. Much of customer service involves problem solving, and talented call center agents can think of a variety of solutions and utilize all the resources at their disposal to solve a customer’s problem. Time is money, and it benefits your business and your customers equally to be able to mitigate any issues quickly and efficiently.
Ability to keep cool. Sometimes, agitated customers can agitate agents assisting them, and it’s very important that a call center agent is able to maintain a level head when a customer is upset. The ability of an agent to calm down an angry customer can often completely transform their experience from negative to positive.
Multilingualism. While not absolutely essential, bilingual agents can absolutely open up your customer base. The ability to quickly communicate with all types of customers can be a real asset.
Industry experience. For specialized businesses, such as IT, it can be helpful to hire agents with previous experience in your field. Agents may be better able to describe what your business does when they’ve done it themselves.
Being a good call center agent is definitely an art, and hiring agents with the above qualities is critical to providing a good call center experience for your customers.