A contact center can have all the latest software and top-of-the-line technology, but none of that matters if you don't have the right agents.
A customer's experience with a call center can often be the determining factor when deciding whether to continue doing business with a company.
This is why hiring quality agents is so essential to meeting your customer's needs and exceeding their expectations.
What makes a good call center agent?
Keep these eight important qualities of a call center agent in mind during your hiring process to ensure a smooth call center experience for both your agents and your customers.
1. Creative problem-solving
A call center agent will deal with a variety of challenges every day. However, there is not always a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore call centers are moving away from word-for-word scripts and are adapting to a more flexible model.
By being able to create a solution, agents can ensure a positive customer experience that will resolve the issue in an efficient and timely manner.
Being an agent is hard. Having to endure unhappy and sometimes rude customers can exasperate. That's why one of the most important characteristics of a call center agent is the ability to empathize. Agents who can develop a strong rapport with a customer and make them feel like someone is listening and understanding their problem will go a long way in developing strong brand loyalty.
If customers feel don't feel validated, they won't have a positive experience and will probably take their business elsewhere.
Working in a busy call center requires excellent organization skills. One quality of a good call center agent needs to able to juggle multiple tasks at once. Whether it is checking the CRM, updating records or taking notes, agents need to complete all these tasks quickly and accurately.
4. Effective communication skills
Effective communication is essential to the call center experience. It touches on every single aspect of the job and is a necessary skill in becoming a successful agent. Call center agents need to use clear language, proper etiquette and be able to convey instructions in a way that customers understand the first time around.
But communication doesn't end at speaking. Highly skilled communicators also need to be active listeners and can digest information and quickly convey a solution.
To foster communication skills in the workplace, use role-playing scenarios when training or interviewing to see how agents might listen, respond and resolve a typical problem in the call center environment.
5. Calm under pressure
One reason call centers have such a high staff turnover rate is burnout. Agents who aren't able to deal with the daily influx of frustrated callers end up demotivated and hating their jobs.
A skilled strength of a call center agent comes when they can handle the pressure when customers vent, and diffuse the situation by keeping their cool when a caller yells at them over the phone.
Make sure you hire someone that is emotionally stable and reliable to deal with the call center environment.
6. Good memory
To provide high-quality support, call center agents need to memorize an extensive amount of information. In the fast-paced call center environment, there is not enough time for agents to look up answers to common questions.
After the training period, quality employees should be able to recall answers to frequently asked questions easily and troubleshoot without hesitation. Plus, customers will trust agents more if they can answer confidently and quickly and will be less frustrated if they aren't always being put on hold.
Dealing with people daily is never easy. With the high number of irate customers that phone every day, it's important to have employees not take it personally. Therefore optimism is one of the most important qualities of a call center agent.
Call center agents who can remain positive with a frustrated customer can help add to a positive experience by making the client feel validated and heard rather than rushed and unimportant.
8. Team player
While fielding incoming calls is a solitary task, successful call center agents still need to work in a team. Agents should enjoy teamwork and demonstrate qualities like assertiveness and sociability. These kinds of agents can help to affect the atmosphere in the call center by boosting overall performance and morale.
With more than 85 percent of companies with quality customer service outperforming their competitors, it is more important to have the right people serving your various channels.
Keep these eight important qualities of a call center agent in mind during your next round of interviews to ensure you only hire the best of the best.