Most customers consider it a pain to contact a call center. First of all, it takes quite a bit of time to reach the concerned person, since you have to select the right options. Moreover, things like call transfers and call waiting can add up to your frustration and waste your precious minutes. To top it all if the call center representative you get to talk to, doesn’t possess good communication skills, it could take a long time just getting your point across. If a contact center understands these problems, it might be in a better position to serve the customers.
Not all customer service representatives are bad in a call center. However, it is still considered as an unpleasant task to call a contact center because of four major problems:
#1. Language Barriers: Often customers will have to communicate with agents who cannot speak good English. Or even if they do, it might be difficult to understand because of their accent. Communication is the main thing in contact centers and they need to understand this before hiring people. Apart from language fluency, they should also consider accent evaluation as a criterion while hiring employees.
#2. Being kept on hold: Time is the most precious thing in the life of today’s customers. No customer would like to be kept on hold for a long time. Call centers should ensure that a call is transferred to the concerned person immediately. One more option is to go for virtual hold wherein the customer can hang up and the representative will call him back, as soon as he/she is free.
#3. Call transfer: Customers usually want their queries addressed by the person who receives their calls. Some of them just can’t accept call transfers. As far as possible contact centers should train their employees to deal with standard queries. They can also organize their employees into universal agents and specialized agents. If the customer has a specialized query, his call has to be attended by a specialized agent through the options that he/she selects.
#4. Repeating information: Often the customers will have to repeat the information every time their call gets transferred to a new agent. This can be quite frustrating for anyone. Call centers have to go for IVR solutions through which customer information can be collected and accessed by their agents. Sometimes when call transfers are unavoidable, IVR solutions can help the agents of a contact center to attend to the customers in a better way.
Call centers do need to take time to train their employees and invest in solutions that will help them handle customer engagement in a better manner. There are a lot of things they need to check for in their employees before hiring them:
· Personality: A call center agent needs to have a pleasing personality. A smile on the face while talking to a customer can make a whole lot of difference.
· Attitude: Polite attitude is a must in Call centers. At no point should a customer care representative be rude to any of the customers, irrespective of how he/she is treated.
· Tone of Voice: A warm and friendly voice can bring a smile on the caller’s face, which is what call centers need to keep in mind while hiring employees.
· Communication skills: An agent needs to have good communication skills. He/she needs to know what to speak and how to put things across to a customer.
· Listening abilities: Unless a representative listens to customers, he/she will not be able to understand their queries or concerns, which is why listening abilities are important
· Language fluency: Agents who are too slow in communication or those who are not fluent in the language they are supposed to communicate in cannot be assets to contact centers.
· Accent, if any: Even with excellent language fluency and communication skills, an agent may not be understood well by the customers if he happens to have a heavy accent. This is something that needs to be evaluated at the time of hiring.
· Willingness to help: Attending to the customers’ queries and seeing to it that they are satisfied is the main function of a customer care representative. He/she has to possess a willingness to help.
· Patience: Work at call centers involves receiving lots of phone calls, listening to the same kind of complaints and attending to them. If a representative doesn’t have the patience to do all this, he/she just cannot fit into call centers.