Call centers are essential to customer service, and nearly every business has one to handle their customer needs. At the frontline of call centers are agents who play a critical role in customer support. Despite the availability of chatbots, messaging systems, and email, 74 percent of U.S. customers still choose to contact customer service on the phone. 

Although quality voip call center software is essential to the job, an agent must also rely on natural or acquired skills to deliver solid customer service. In fact, 55 percent of consumers are willing to shell out more money for a guaranteed positive experience. Here are four core skills contact center agents need in order to deliver these repeat positive interactions, plus advice on how to improve your weaknesses. 

Clear communication skills

The most vital skill for a customer service representative is communication. Effective communication means understanding what the caller is trying to express and then responding in a way that makes sense to the customer. This task can be difficult, especially when troubleshooting technology, but a good representative will be able to overcome most communication challenges. 

Although some people seem gifted with clear expression, communication is actually a skill that comes with practice. Working with a diverse customer base helps agents quickly build strength in communication. Good call center managers prioritize training and include role playing as a part of learning before agents interact with live customers. 

The ability to remain positive

An unfortunate reality is that customer service reps encounter a lot of negativity. They often deal with callers when they’re feeling frustrated, upset, or even tearful. Remaining positive with a difficult customer can be challenging, but it’s non negotiable for good contact center representatives. It’s even more important when you factor in that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to makeup for a negative one in a customer’s eyes. 

Positivity during rough times has much to do with personality, but if you’re not a natural positive person, it’s possible to change with a mindset shift and effort. To begin, smile, even if you’re speaking on the phone. The tone of a smile can be heard in voices, so even if you don’t feel peppy, smile to liven your tone. 

Patience under pressure

Patience ties in with positivity. Remaining calm can seem impossible when interacting with an angry or confused customer, but what distinguishes superb call agents from the average ones is the ability to treat even the most taxing callers with respect. Companies lose millions from customers switching to competitors after a bad call, so stay diligent with this skill. 

Perhaps one of the most important skills to have, patience can be hard to train if it doesn’t come naturally. Although, it requires effort, it can be done with various strategies including deep breathing. 

While dealing with an angry caller, focus on slowing down breathing and reminding yourself that the customer isn’t attacking you personally. If the situation gets particularly bad and you’re at risk of losing control, place the customer on a brief hold while you cool down. 

Creativity in thought

Stellar contact center agents create viable solutions to tough problems. They have a creative fix in their back pocket for grumpy customers, sluggish troubleshooting, and missing products.

Gaining knowledge and expanding creativity synergize with one another. The more you learn, the easier it becomes to envision a wide range of solutions to tackle a problem. As you are given different problems, you’ll start to get familiar with common ones and ways to solve them. After mastering the basics, you can then progress to thinking outside the box when the situation calls for it. 

While not all of these skills come naturally to everyone, it is possible to learn and grow. Taking the time to refine these skills helps you become a stronger call center representative and an overall better communicator.

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Are You Underestimating the Power of Search Engines?

Many businesses simply aren’t using search engine optimization… well, optimally! This seems to stem from a lack of understanding from how important search engines are when it comes to driving traffic to your website. Even some of the ones that do understand the importance don’t quite understand how exactly that traffic is going to be generated.

How a search engine doesn’t work

Many people think that search engines are a ubiquitous, ultra-dynamic technology. The likes of Google know exactly when a new website is created and adds it to some database. If a user enters the right term, that website will be among the search results, probably not too far from the front page.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite a simple as that. It’s true that companies like DuckDuckGo can return results from pretty much anywhere on the World Wide Web. But these companies don’t return comprehensive or neutral results.

The selectivity of search engines

Thousands of websites are being created every day. As a result, search engines have to show a degree of selectivity when it comes to the results of a searcher’s inquiry.

When you search for something, you’re not getting unfiltered results from a neutral source. Filters are in place that prevent business owners who are using unethical SEO tactics from appearing in search results.

There have been many times in which disputes between a website and a search engine have culminated in throttled search results. Remember the dispute between Genius and Google? This was the result of unhealthy SEO.

Understanding searcher psychology

When someone wants to find something, they’re going to use the search term they feel is most appropriate. Many companies assume that there can only be a limited number of obvious search terms that would lead to their company. But a user doesn’t always use the inquiries or search terms you might expect. Not everyone visits Google knowing exactly what they’re looking for!

You also need to understand that your average searcher is not going to look beyond the first two or three pages of search results. They’re likely to use one of the first few results or change their search term.

Getting to grips with the numbers

As you can see, the world of search engines is a complex one. It makes the workload of really good SEO absolutely tremendous. Understanding how the various algorithms of sites and psyches of users is no small task. It’s why many companies choose to use SEO consulting. It’s also why many companies simply don’t bother with SEO at all.

But when you see the numbers, your mind should be changed. The average number of Google searches per month hovers around the figure of six billion. And make no mistake: it’s search engines that are the most common gateway to any given business. It’s not television advertising or social media marketing. (Not that you should be ignoring the latter!) It’s organic search results.

You cannot afford to underestimate the power of search engines when it comes to your digital marketing. Don’t put your company at risk by ignoring it!

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