Maybe you’re a seasoned veteran in the call center, but you’re looking to impress a new manager or wow your customers before an upcoming survey blast. Maybe you’re unwrapping your first headset and you want to start off on the right foot with your boss and your customers.
Whatever your motivation, here are some quality tips for call center agents that will make your boss glad he hired you and your customers glad they called.
The Three C’s: Courtesy, Confidence, and Competence
Possessing and portraying these three traits will go a long way toward delivering quality service that makes your boss and your customers happy. Let’s take a look at how each one plays out in the call center.
People like to be treated with respect, and courtesy is one way to convey a respectful tone.
- Use a friendly and courteous greeting.
- Ask customers how they wish to be addressed (Mr., Ms., etc.).
- Speak with a smile (even if they can’t see it, customers can ‘hear’ a smile in your tone of voice).
- Always wait until a customer is finished speaking before beginning to reply. Respond empathetically to your customer’s concerns.
And no matter how difficult a customer may be, never show any signs of annoyance or anger while resolving their service or product issues.
People appreciate confidence in others. It puts others at ease to see you at ease. This goes for your boss, your customers, and others in your professional or social circles. Speak clearly and decisively when addressing others. Be affable by letting your appropriate sense of humor and personality show.
Be agreeable and cooperative, but don’t be afraid to speak your mind assuredly and respectfully when the situation demands. Do not confuse confidence with arrogance; arrogance puts up walls and shuts others out, whereas confidence invites others to connect and be confident, too.
One frustration that customers often experience when they contact a call center is the agent being unable to help them. And what’s even worse than an incompetent service agent is one who conceals their lack of knowledge behind rote responses and blanket solutions that leave the customer no closer to a resolution.
If you feel you do not possess the knowledge to help customers with complex issues, reach out to your manager for additional training or materials. When you encounter a customer issue that is beyond your scope, kindly transfer them to an agent who can help them.
The three C’s-- courtesy, confidence, and competence-- are at the core of what makes an effective customer service agent. Your boss and your customers alike will notice and appreciate a person who demonstrates these traits with particular lustre.
And speaking of lustre, the word ‘pearl’ can be used to remember another set of quality tips for call center agents which-- along with the three C’s-- can set you apart from others as a particularly valuable asset to a call center.
PEARL: Quality Tips for Call Center Agents
Before approaching your manager with any issue, ask yourself, “can I solve this on my own?” If the answer is yes, refrain from burdening your boss with the problem. Solve it for yourself. Depending on the severity of the issue, it may sometimes be necessary to bring a problem to the attention of your manager, but be sure to do so with a solution in hand.
Be a problem solver whenever possible rather than passing the buck to your boss’s desk.
To be enterprising is to show initiative, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness. In short, it means being a ‘go-getter’. Bosses will love the self-sufficiency and leadership qualities inherent in this type of worker, and your customers will appreciate the robust service they receive from an agent with this trait.
Although following protocol is often a non-negotiable, there are times you will be faced with a unique and complex customer issue that requires you to think on your feet for an optimal solution. Know your company’s options in terms of resolutions, workarounds, and offerings.
When a customer presents you with new information halfway through a call, adapt.
Remember that you are called on to a be a specialist in customer care, which means providing more novel and nuanced solutions than a website or automated system can offer.
Call centers nowadays are equipped with technology that puts a wealth of information right at agent’s fingertips.
- Review customer information as you begin a call to avoid repeating questions they’ve already answered.
- Seek additional information, training, or help when needed.
Don’t just muddle through the calls and other customer interactions as best you can, hoping for the best. Don’t wait for someone to tell you that your information or skills are inadequate; Rather, willingly and eagerly harness the power of the resources available to you.
Be a better listener. Whether it’s your boss or a customer speaking, listen actively and accurately.
Give body language or verbal cues that show your engagement with the speaker. Take notes as needed.
Take the time to absorb and appreciate what is being said before you start mentally preparing your response. In a world where everybody talks, the ability to listen well can set you apart from the herd.
Being a high quality customer service agent isn’t rocket science, but it does require a degree of tenacity and engagement to stand out from the crowd. Be the agent you as a boss would want to hire, or the agent that you as a customer would want to encounter on the phone. A little focus can go a long way in impressing your boss and customers alike.