10 Call Center Customer Service Skills Every Agent Needs to Have

March 18, 2021
Call center customer service skills are crucial for your contact center's reputation and success.

Incredible customer service is the backbone of any call center. Agents deal with customers every day. So, they need to have the most crucial skills to handle their issues well. What exactly makes a call center agent good at customer service? And is there anything managers and supervisors can do to help? Let’s find out.

Top 10 Customer Service Skills of the Best Call Center Agents

Every call center is different when it comes to the rules. There are countless ways agents can handle cases and please the customer. However, these 10 crucial skills are universal when it comes to call center agents. If your agents have these traits, or if you can help develop them, you’re on the right track.

1. Friendly Tone

This call center agent skill is very underrated. Yet, it’s also one of the most crucial ones. The quality of the call depends on the tone of the representative. You could say that the tone is the message. And if the tone is right, the message means good customer service.

The best practice for an agent to achieve the best tone is to think of the customer as a family member. This way, even if they say “no” to a customer, they’ll still provide first-class service.

No one’s born with this skill. 

Managers and supervisors need to teach reps how to handle calls with the right tone.

2. Patience

Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to call center customer service. Customers are often frustrated when they call. Handling these emotions is the agent’s job. But if they’re patient with the customer, they can do more than just solve the issue at hand. They can also provide incredible customer service.

3. Timeliness

The timeliness of an agent doesn’t just benefit the customer. It also helps the call center run efficiently. Taking calls on time, switching between channels, and solving issues rapidly reflects well on an agent.

4. Efficiency

Although timeliness is crucial, it goes hand-in-hand with efficiency. Quick responses without the result don’t get the customer far. A call center agent needs to complete tasks quickly and efficiently. That’s the best way to please the customer in most instances.

5. Knowledge About Services

Understanding the product or the service the call center covers is crucial for every agent. Without this knowledge, they can’t help the customer in time. Not to mention that the average handle time increases with every second an agent needs to look up instructions.

The only way to gain this skill is to have the managers and supervisors teach it. It’s not the agent’s responsibility to acquire this knowledge. But, it’s their job to use it.

6. Positivity

Having a positive attitude can help every call center agent in various ways. Being positive on a call makes the tone and the customer service incredible. And being positive about the call can help with the mental health of the representative.

A positive work environment goes a long way in giving the agents this attitude. Managers and supervisors are equally responsible for the mood of their employees.

7. Empathy

Everybody has their personal issues. The customer that calls in angry and frustrated isn’t upset at the agent. They’re upset at the product, service, or something else in their lives. 

A little bit of empathy and understanding from the agent can go a long way in helping the customer find a solution.

8. Creativity

Not every call is the same. Every call center employee encounters strange or unique problems. And cookie-cutter instructions don’t always help. If they can solve the problem with a little bit of creativity, there’s no need to run for the supervisor.

The supervisor’s grateful, the customer’s happy (hopefully), and the agent’s proud of the success.

9. Organization

Being kind on call isn’t the only job requirement in a call center. There’s post-call administration too. If an agent is well-organized, this shouldn’t be a problem.

10. Willingness to Go The Extra Mile

Ultimately, the customer’s happiness depends on how well the rep solved the problem. Sometimes, the agent needs to do something outside their scope to make that happen. 

Whether it’s googling a unique issue, or asking a favor from the supervisor, going that extra mile matters. And the customer will be grateful for it.

How to Help Your Call Center Agents Enhance Their Customer Service

The skills a call center agent has don’t just come naturally. It’s the responsibility of the managers and supervisors to teach them these qualities. If you’re a call center leader reading this, here are some tips to help your agents enhance their customer service skills.

Utilize Software and Technology

The most important thing to keep in mind if you want to have better customer service is to monitor everything. Know how your calls go, specifically the number of successes and failures.

If you truly want to have a world-class call center, you need technology to do this. The best contact centers have advanced speech analytics that trend conversations. That’s how you can truly tell which agents create the best customer experience.

However, most call centers don’t have this technology. Despite being relatively inexpensive. Downloading software like this is the most cost-effective way to enhance customer service. The only thing this will cost you is the time it takes to implement.

Educate With a Purpose

As a call center manager, you’re responsible for customer service quality. When you get a new agent, educate them on the importance of all the skills above. They need to understand how their behavior and tone influence the caller.

Break the Call Down

Monitoring the quality of the calls isn’t the same as understanding the data. To truly get what’s happening with each call, it’s helpful to break the structure down. This educates the agent and you at the same time.

Evaluate what the strengths and weaknesses of your agents are at these points of the call:

  • Opening/Greeting
  • Verification
  • Issue handling
  • Resolution
  • Call to action
  • Upsell/Cross-sell
  • Close

Give Instant Feedback About Performance

This step isn’t easy, but it’s the one that yields the most results. Monitor the calls, understand their structure and inform the agents on the floor immediately. This can help them focus on improving their weaknesses instantly.

Develop a system where you listen to all reps in a certain period. Pull any rep that fails the minimal level of satisfaction on a call. Then, retrain them on the specific areas that have the opportunity. This needs to happen in a positive way.

They’re also then re-monitored within a half-hour of going back on the phones. This is very important. Don’t wait days to tell the agent how they’re doing after retraining. 

Give them feedback quickly to learn quickly. It’s a lot more work but it is very worth it. 

Don’t be lazy.

Motivate Call Center Agents to Enhance Customer Service Quality

Being a call center agent isn’t easy. As a manager or supervisor, it’s your job to create a positive and productive work environment. And the best way to do that is to be motivating.

Call center games are excellent for this. They keep agents on their toes, let them have fun, and motivate them at the same time. Try a couple of these at your call center to create a more positive work environment.

The Call Center That Puts Customer Service First

Proper customer service is crucial to the success of your call center. Without well-trained, kind, and productive employees, your approval ratings will suffer. And if you don’t work on correcting the work environment of your contact center, the lack of customer satisfaction will shut you down.

At Expivia USA, we know how important it is to keep your customers happy. That’s why we developed the best processes and techniques to help our agents succeed. As a result, their skills are the backbone of our success.

Reach out to us to learn more about the work we do, and how we can help you!

3 thoughts on “10 Call Center Customer Service Skills Every Agent Needs to Have”

  1. Pingback: How to Engage Your Employees in a Call Center | Expivia

  2. Pingback: Digital Customer Service: Is Social Media the New Call Center? | Expivia

  3. Pingback: What Does AI Really Mean for Your Contact Center? | Expivia

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