The outbreak of COVID-19 put tons of pressure on the customer service industry. Call centers are continuing to face a surge of calls from customers who have urgent and unprecedented needs. A call center agent must be well-trained, patient and prepared to take on the new challenges.
While many businesses turned to self-service tools and digital channels to combat a spike in incoming call volumes, many also have scaled their workforces by hiring more contact center agents or training existing team members who were previously handling other duties on how to temporarily put on a call center agent hat.
Here are some steps on how to nail your at-home call center agent duties.
Fine-tune your sales skills
The best customer service agents have some solid sales skills. When customers call in to cancel memberships, do you have what it takes to try and retain their business? Can you easily remember and understand promotional sales and recalls? Agents should have the ability to deal with tough questions or objections when these things come up. Like all things, practice makes perfect. Bend an ear of one of the salespeople on your team to get inside advice.
Talking on the phone with customers is just one small part of being a call center agent. While having these important customer interactions, you also must be able to seamlessly navigate multiple systems, while entering important information and helping customers create profiles. The longer it takes you to get into the swing of multi-tasking, the less likely it is that you’ll satisfy demanding program goals.
Practice deep listening
Always listening carefully and asking clarifying questions to better resolve customer problems shows you’re focused and responsive. Customers aren’t always able to express themselves with enough clarity to thoroughly explain their concerns or questions. Having the ability to read between the lines and to walk someone through an issue step-by-step is a critical part of deep listening.
Maintain a results-driven approach
Are you fully aware of the role you play in achieving business goals? Apart from providing exceptional customer service, are you also supposed to help boost sales, resolve customer issues on the first contact or collect feedback? If you aren’t sure what your part is in the big picture, get clarity from your manager so you can prove your value as an agent by meeting or exceeding the expected results.
Learn the etiquette
If your understanding of what to say and what not to say is a little shaky, you likely aren’t prepared to deliver the effortless customer experience your organization is striving for. Introducing yourself and the company, using appropriate tone of voice and pace while handling interactions and maintaining proper hold and transfer procedures are all part of keeping the customer service experience professional. Be sure to make sure you have the specifics down by requesting them from your supervisor.
Be an excellent applicant of feedback
Consistently self-monitor your performance and adjust accordingly. When you get feedback on your performance, be sure to apply it and to look for additional growth opportunities. Learning or knowledge gaps can be filled using additional training, tutorials, attending virtual events and by getting supplementary coaching from both your managers and team members. Remember, asking for extra assistance doesn’t make you look incompetent, it proves that you care about the business and your job.
You know what you’re responsible for and how your performance will be measured. Make sure you hold yourself accountable to prove yourself as someone who can balance the responsibilities and freedoms that come with a remote position. Luckily, conversation intelligence platforms like Tethr can help your organization offer each call center agent a personalized training program based on actionable insight from the calls. Tethr’s technology works to combine what’s going on in real time with historical data for context to lead you and your team members to better meet goals.
As customer expectations for service increase, call centers must hire those who can handle difficult customer interactions in any environment.