Your Call Centre agents are representing your company’s brand every time they have a conversation with a customer. Call Centre agents should listen carefully to the customer and resolves the customer’s problem upon the first contact. This creates customers who become raving Fans and loyal to your brand. The other side of the coin is, when the agent does not help the customer to the standards you have set, this can create a negative perception of your company and the brand.
Teleforge has been involved in serving so many call centres, and through experience, we have seen the agent qualities that differentiate one call centre from another:
Do your Call Centre agents know exactly what it is that your company sells or the services it offers? Your Call Centre agent must almost know this as well as the Call Centre Manager themselves. The Call Centres that invest in training and especially endless role-playing with their agents are incredibly successful at this — you cannot send your soldiers to battle without intense preparation, well unless you are prepared to lose the fight. If they are prepared, they will have confidence, if they have confidence they will perform better and will enjoy doing so.
Let’s face it, being a Call Centre Agent is like pulling teeth; it is challenging, and the pressure is always on to perform. Instilling a positive attitude in them will assist them with their daily work. The first place to start is what we have said above; well trained, well-prepared agents are confident and generally more positive. What we also saw in the best call centres was that the agents had all the tools they need to do their job well. Their computers were fairly new and updated to perform at its best, they had excellent quality headsets, they had decent size screens, they had enough, and they had very comfortable chairs. This sounds trivial, but these call centres had the lowest staff turnover compared to the call centres where these items were not addressed. Having the right tools will also give them confidence that will result in a more content and happier agent. There’s a reason why the Navy Seals are seen as the world’s best special operators, they are well trained for every scenario, and their weapons are highly advanced.
They Seek To Understand First
A customer is phoning your business because they need your assistance. All Call Centre agents need to have excellent listening skills. People are not born with this skill, even highly educated people struggle with this. Jim Collins wrote in his book “Good to Great” that the great companies and leaders have this ability to seek to understand before they seek to be understood. When we walk into the “great” call centres we see a different atmosphere; we see a different look on the agent’s faces; a glimpse of real interest and engagement. This doesn’t just happen in these call centres, it is achieved through repetitive training and mentoring. If some CEO’s struggle to get this right, how do you think your agents will just get it. It is inherently a culture that has to be developed… and that takes time and lost of effort. The call centres that pay this price are the ones that outperform their competition.
If you are doing the above point well, then this should happen automatically. It is vital that your customer feels understood and valued. If agents are really interested in customers and really apply the “seek to understand” principle, they tend to display a sense of empathy. Empathy is nothing more than the ability to put yourself in your customer’s shoes, even you are an on the receiving end of a very dissatisfied customer. The call centre agents that are able to this, are the ones that you can trust your brand with. Like the previous two points, most adults can’t do even this. We have seen that if the call centre manager and owners have that inherent ability, Jim Collins talked about, we tend to notice that it reflects in the behaviour of the agents. What are we saying: As goes the leader, so goes the people.
All Call Centre agents require the ability to multi-task. While they are on a call, they need to be able to insert the necessary data into the CRM, or communicate with teammate should they need their support. They need to perform all these tasks while ensuring the customer is happy. Technology plays a significant role here. The call centre technology should allow the agent to have access to their superiors while talking to a customer. The customer conversations, whether it be on email, social media, or telephonically should be available from the CRM. If this is not the case, please make contact with us if you require some assistance to get this in place.