The scariest scenario of being a part of anything (be it a TV series, a new policy, or perhaps working in an organization – say your precious contact center) is- NOT KNOWING! Not knowing the what, the when, and the how of things.
If you think you have the best ‘on-the-floor’ resources, and they act like they don’t know what their responsibilities are, when is the right time to pitch products to a customer, and when to pass? And most importantly, how things proceed in an orderly fashion in a contact center? Then, it is now time for you to start worrying about the quality of service which is being provided to your beloved customers.
So, how would you ensure that your call center agents are not a bunch of ‘know nothingers’ a.k.a Jon Snow?
- Check their Knowledge Retention Skills
If they ask the same questions over and over again, without being able to quickly grasp your brand’s philosophy and day-to-day working, it could mean they lack complete know how of the functionalities of your product. It is their duty to provide the best quality of service to all customers. Moreover, to do so, it is imperative to have a strong knowledge base and as the time progresses, agents should be able to learn and memorize key aspects of the product/service, they are dealing with. As it is often said, a product’s value can always be known when it is talked about ‘in its absence’.
- Do they Build up or Try to have a Two-Way Communication?
Two-way communication is the first and the foremost step an agent must incorporate in their daily tactics, while answering calls. This is perhaps the most important trait for a call center agent to posses. If they cannot gain the caller’s trust, there’s a very good chance that there would be lesser probability of ‘first call resolution’. Building a two-way communication involves listening to the caller, using basic vocabulary and citing the facts correctly, without any false hopes and promises. An agent just cannot have competence without effective communication skills.
- Check if they Say ‘Nothing’
On frequent occasions, surprise-monitor their calls and give them quality feedback. If they know that there can be a surprise-call barging, it would keep them alert at all times. During any call monitoring, make sure that there is no ‘dead air’ on the calls. They asked a question, the customer responded and now it could take them a minute or two to process that information. During this time, encourage them to have a healthy conversation and keep the customer informed on what’s happening and what is going to be the next step to take their query ahead. Saying ‘nothing’ would only irritate the customer and yield poor quality feedback from the customer.
- Check for Accuracy and Attention to Detail
Many a time, the customer calls because they have a problem. There’s a very good chance that as soon as you answer, he will bombard you with a lot of information and query in one go. Instead of asking call center agents to repeat everything, make quick notes or try to gather as much as you can accurately to save his time and effort. Agents must understand that it is imperative for the customer to feel that the call is handled professionally and accurate information is given to him.
- Check their Ability to Deal with Difficult People
More often than not, customers will call you after facing some challenges, which he has not been able to sort on his own. There will be scenarios when they are frustrated and could be yelling at you, even when apparently it’s not your fault. The best practice to be followed in such cases is to empathize with their problems. If you fail to do so, they will get increasingly upset and the call will turn out to be a disaster. Also, if you think that an escalation is needed for some reason, to another department or your supervisor, make sure it is a warm transfer. Notify them that you will explain the situation to the other team and they won’t have to repeat themselves.
These tips constitute a very small part of all the traits to look for in a call center agent. But, these are the prerequisites. If your agents aren’t fulfilling these virtues, they know nothing! If you think we have missed out on some important parameters for judging call center reps, let us know in your comments below.