Picking up the phone and making or receiving a call may seem like nothing more than an ordinary activity to some, but for professional call centre agents, it is an art. Believe it or not, there are certain qualities that an agent must cultivate and develop if they wish to be successful in their role. We highlight the habits and qualities that every call centre agent should have to be successful.
1. Knowledge retention
It can sometimes be all too easy to let your mind wander as a caller monotonously drones on, but neglecting to retain information could just as swiftly come back to bite you when a complaint, concern or query is not effectively dealt with due to information being lost in translation. Retaining information shows that you genuinely care about the customer, so do your best to demonstrate this by repeating information back to the caller, or by taking notes.
2. Attention to detail
Many call centre agents grow complacent about their work, thinking their set script is enough to carry them through a call. The danger with this is that they then tend to assume that they fully understand the customer’s query, without listening attentively to unique and specific details.
This could then result in an agent hastily offering a generic response to the customer that ultimately fails to reach the heart of the matter. Do your best to attentively listen and try to lighten up the conversation with some humorous story or anecdote. This will open up the channel of creative and riveting communication, thus making you more inclined to listen and engage.
Busy call centres often require agents to multi-task and this in turn demands a tremendous amount of organisation. Many agents will have to check the database, update the CRM and take notes at the helpdesk, all whilst dealing with a caller’s queries or complaints. You need to be able to effectively streamline your daily tasks by prioritising urgent matters over those that can be dealt with later. Keep a diary or weekly planner of all your tasks to be completed, ensuring that you tackle difficult assignments first.
Call centre agents interact with a wide range of personalities on a daily basis. One moment they may be delighted to receive a call from a very friendly and talkative individual, only to cringe at the aggressive tone and colourful language of an angry caller at the next. For this reason, call centre agents need to be flexible enough to handle the variety of calls that may come their way. Working hours may also require flexibility and call centre agents must sometimes be prepared to work until late in the evening, or on certain weekends.
5. Calm and friendly manner
This goes without saying. A friendly agent enables callers to feel at ease and these same customers will definitely remember the warm and welcoming recipient who asked them about their day, offered a compliment on their patience, or made them laugh. A successful call centre agent also knows how to remain calm at all times, even when they have an angry caller on the line.
6. Speed and efficiency
An agent should be able to work swiftly without sacrificing the quality of their work. Don’t leave a phone ringing, or procrastinate on returning a call, because this will cause customers to become frustrated and resent you for your time wasting. Aim to deal with tasks as soon as they come your way, ensuring slightly more difficult or unpleasant assignments are completed first.
Problem-solving often requires a little creativity. A good agent will be able to find creative solutions to problems that are unique to each customer. Earlier on we highlighted the importance of paying attention to detail, and this is absolutely vital if you wish to be a creative problem-fixer. Listening to the fine details of each caller’s story or claim will enable you to find personalised solutions to each individual’s query or grievance.
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