Call Centers are often the first point of contact for customers/clients. How the first call is handled can make or break a relationship between your business and the customer. For this reason, it is essential to have the best call center agents possible to be the front men.
You don’t need to be blind to understand that you can tell a lot from the way a person speaks. Think about your relationships with people, some virtual, other’s on the phone, quite a lot these days through the internet – the way we communicate is changing but one thing that isn’t is that we are still human and respond to human interaction.
I don’t know about you, but one of my pet hates is calling a business to then get some automated message, which sends me all around the houses until I want to run screaming in desperation: “God, I just want to talk to a REAL person.”
And if you want to make the most of this real person then read on to find out the best attributes to look for in a call center agent.
Essential Qualities of a Call Center Agent
What you want is to create a vision for the person making the call that that the call center agent on the other end of the line is a helpful, knowledgeable, professional, interested, problem solver, with initiative. What assists with the creation of this vision, is energy. I don’t mean to go all hippy on you here but really, it can be felt. I guess in more professional terms you would say this energy is transpired as an OUTGOING PERSONALITY – A shy call center agent isn’t really going to cut the mustard. No. They need to be friendly and energetic. That’s a good start. And remember: “First Point Of Contact” – The start is essential.
A good Call Center Agent should actually enjoying, talking, meeting new people and generally be PEOPLE ORİENTATED – it should be a skill – a natural one to be interested in and focused on interacting with people.
Depending on the nature of the call, the call center agent may be required to provide information, act like a spiders web and direct the caller to another operative to handle that type of query, or to in some cases get an ear bashing. A call Center agent ultimately needs to be a GREAT COMMUNICATOR and part of being a great communicator is to be a GOOD LISTENER.
It can be very off putting if you feel like you are not being listened to or if you have to repeat yourself or if you are interrupted. A call center agent should allow time for the customer to speak and to then respond to their query.
Call Center agents should have an ability to converse with and build a relationship with anybody. Therefore understanding people and the DIVERSITY OF INDIVIDUALS is key. It is a real skill to be able to relate with many different types of people, but it is this very quality that a great call center agent will possess.
It kind of goes without saying in this world nowadays that COMPUTER LITERACY is also an essential attribute a call center agent should have. Most people, even my grandmother is pretty computer literate. However, beyond Skype and Facebook she’s kind of lost. Computer skills are important but the for the most part they are a skill that can be taught and learnt by many people – not everybody but many people.
The more interpersonal attributes mentioned are more difficult to teach. So, for any business that want to set up a call center, finding call center agents with these natural interpersonal skills is fundamental for the success of the business.
The global interconnectedness evident in economy, polities and cultural relations means that we are now living in a world that is a global market. Your product or industry could and perhaps should be attractive to people from around the world. And if you want to communicate with people from around the world then there needs to be a common language. English it is and has been since time, however, there are many people who cannot speak English or have a poor command of English. Thus, a call center agent who has a command of a number of languages is a great asset. Depending on who your customers are, some call center agents are required to be fluent in another language too. Therefore being a MULTLINGUAL call center agent is advantageous.
So there you have it. Whether you are running your own call center or outsourcing this segment of your business and putting it in the hands of another call center, then there are some essential attributes that a call center agent should have. When interviewing (if your own business) then you can find these fun, personality, hardworking communicators. If it is not your own call center don’t be afraid to ask what their process is for employing call center agent.
The first point of contact can make or break a relationship. It’s worth the investment to pick and choose your call center agents well.
In a nutshell they should be excellent communicators, great listeners, possess excellent telephone manners, have the ability to deal with and relate to a diverse number of people, be people orientated, computer literate and have an outgoing personality. Being multilingual is a bonus unless your business requires it as an essential skill.