The customer support team is often the most direct point of contact between a business and its clients. In other words, the customers can define and judge a business by the way they are treated on the phone. Most businesses look to gain recognition for their outstanding customer service, which speaks volumes of the importance of this aspect in business development. Thinking of the experience we have had with our call centre agents, we drew a list of 7 skills every customer service agent needs to excel in their job.
It’s a universal truth among phone answering agents that they have to deal with a veritable motley crew of people every day. You never know how angry the next caller might be so it’s important to stay cool at all times during the working day. Remaining patient is key to efficient customer service delivery because it enables the agent to rationalise and handle issues methodically.
2. Emotional intelligence
Being emotionally intelligent embraces patience but also involves the ability to react adequately to different situations, without being affected by the customer’s behaviour. The real value of emotional intelligence lies in the knowledge how to approach every call. Once a receptionist needs to be emphatic, and at other times strictly professional. Sometimes they can let a joke away, sometimes they can’t. Emotional intelligence is about staying in control during calls. You have to know not to take anything too personal, and focus your attention on how to best resolve a problem and please the customer.
3. Good listening skills
We mean really good listening + comprehension skills. A call centre agent has to be able to listen hard what they are being told but what is more important – they need to stay concentrated at all times and quickly understand what is expected from them.
4. Willingness to learn
You can’t really get too far if you don’t have the desire to constantly improve your existing skills, develop new, and learn more about your industry. This is a perfectly valid rule for call centre agents. It is necessary to make conclusions from previous conversations, analyse what has worked and what hasn’t with different types of people, and work to improve your overall phone performance. Similarly, it is recommended to keep up with the developments going on at the company you are working for. We will say more about it in the next point.
5. Know your company
It is absolutely essential to have an in-depth understanding of how the company works, what products are being developed and marketed and if there are any promotions coming up soon? It is also important to know every product or service down to the very last detail. You don’t want to be caught being unable to offer quality support because you haven’t shown enough diligence to learn all that is to be learned in the business.
6. Time management
In busy companies where calls flow incessantly, you have to learn to serve the callers quickly and not waste too much time on irrelevant chit-chat. The key is to remain professional without sounding as if you can’t wait to get rid of the caller. It is okay to show empathy and engage with a problem but you should know where to stop and move the call towards an end that doesn’t look abrupt.
Admittedly it’s a bit tricky to strike the right balance between being tenacious and trying to manage your time efficiently. Sometimes it is worth going the extra mile by clearly showing the caller that you want to dedicate more time to their call. Depending on the nature of the call and if you sense that the caller could be persuaded to spend money on your service, then you should give this extra ounce of effort to serve them at your best.
You may also like
- 10 tips for answering phone calls professionally
- Common phone answering mistakes and how to avoid them
- 10 tips to calm an irate caller
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