To have a complete understanding of what you need to focus on in your call center organization to improve the quality of your training, you need to know the truth about what call center agents have to manage on a daily basis. Those who think of call center employees as low-skill labor have never worked in a call center. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s a demanding line of work, where success lies in a combination of skills.
In the current highly competitive economy, successful organizations have recognized that clear customer communication can make them stand out from the crowd. For this reason, there has been increasing investment in call center staff and their training.
Now, if you’re a manager of a call center or part of a team tasked to develop training for call center staff, you are probably already aware of the basic do’s and don’ts of call center training.
The Basics of Call Center Training
Whether your call center person is a salesperson or a customer support team member, one of their primary responsibilities will be finding solutions to problems, and doing so on the spot. Let’s examine some scenarios for known agent roles:
A sales agent should be able to
(a) determine what needs a customer has and what problems they’re trying to solve (from the often incomplete, information provided)
(b) determine which of your products solves the customer’s problems
(c) convince the customer to buy or at least evaluate said products.
This is a complex process that combines problem identification, problem-solving, and persuasion skills.
Similarly, a support agent should be able to address any issues the customer might have with the products or services that they’ve bought from your company. Beyond solving the customer’s actual problems, this also requires them to know how to handle customers with irrational demands, and how to defuse delicate situations (whether the product is or isn’t at fault).
Some Skills to Address in Your Call Center Training
This is where empathy plays a big role in your training. The customer is always right. Unfortunately, some customers’ demands might also be difficult to decipher, or beyond what’s to be reasonably expected from your company. Which is what makes empathy—the ability to step in the customer’s shoes—one of the most important call center agent skills for an effective call center employee.
A call center support agent must be compassionate enough to soothe a worried or angry customer and to be patient enough to guide customers successfully in solving their problems. Similarly, a sales agent should be able to sense and address a customer’s needs and to be able to infer more about the customer’s worries and concerns than what the customer explicitly shares.
Among the call center agent skills required for your agents to perform the above tasks well, they’ll need both a full working knowledge of your products and services and a good grasp of common problem-solving skills. These should include both “canned” responses to common call center situations, and techniques for identifying problems, improvising, and coming up with solutions on the spot.
Whether they’re working in sales or support, your call center agents should know your product line inside out. They should be able to answer any common customer questions without having to consult a manual and to have a good grasp of more advanced features of your product or service. This includes both your current product line and any older products that you might still be providing support for.
Working as a call center agent can be demanding. Keeping up with the details from a single customer’s support case can be challenging—multiply that by the tens of customers that an agent will be dealing with on each day, and the pressure can be daunting. Your call center agents should be able to efficiently keep track of customer requests, issues, and complaints, and know how to best leverage any available resources to address them.
They should also be able to follow a support ticket or sales pitch, not just through the course of a single call, but over many days, weeks, and even months of talking to the same customer. Trying to tackle these responsibilities in an unstructured and ad-hoc manner can only result in sub-par results, if not in failure. This makes good organizational skills (including problem-mapping, task delegation, resource utilization, note-taking, time management, prioritizing and so on) crucial for an effective call center agent.
This is just the summary of what call center agents need to handle on an everyday basis.
Is your call center organization aware? Are you training your agents in the best possible way and addressing the most important skills they should learn?
Contact us and get a FREE consultation. Find out today to find out how we can help your call center organization.