10 Essential Customer Service Skills For Call Agents
Call centre agents are on the front lines of customer service, appointed with the demanding duty of pleasing and appeasing customers. With countless scenarios which may arise during a customer service exchange, it is vital that agents be versatile and equipped with a strong skill set in order to handle the complexity of the task. Below are the top ten customer service skills which agents should all posses in order deliver the best service possible to their clients.
A large proportion of customers trying to make contact are bound to be frustrated, so patience is undeniably a virtue for call agents. Call agents should allow customers to take their time and explain their situation in full before interjecting. It is very important as a call agent to be patient and listen to what is being said, even if you think it is taking far longer than it needs to.
2. Clear communication
It is important for agents to be able to strike a balance between giving thorough answers, using professional vocabulary, and coming across as conversational and approachable simultaneously. Although it may seem tricky at first, agents should aim to keep exchanges concise and relevant and resist the temptation to overdo small talk. Whilst customers do need that human touch, it is important that they also value their time.
3. In-depth knowledge about the product/services
It is essential that call agents thoroughly know and understand the products and services they represent in order to be able to discuss them at great length. Prior to being exposed to customers, agents must receive thorough training to better understand what their company offers. It is important to regularly update call agents on important events such as product recalls and promotional sales in order to ensure they are prepared for customers to discuss such issues on a call.
4. Good listener
If a customer chooses to explain a situation in great detail, call agents need to be willing to listen – no matter long how that may take. Furthermore, customers may not necessarily accept solutions that agents offer or have further questions about them – attentive listening in these scenarios is critical as it shows respect for the customer’s opinions and will allow agents to offer the best solution.
Throughout customer service exchanges, agents need to be organised at all times in order to deliver a professional and timely service. This means they need to be able to efficiently multitask, navigating between different windows one a CRM database, whilst simultaneously talking to the client.
One of the most essential customer service skills is the ability to adapt to changing situations. One call may be completely different from the next, so agents need a readiness to go with the flow and adapt to what might be waiting on the other end of the line.
7. Positive attitude
No matter how angry, annoyed or upset a customer is, agents must always maintain a positive attitude. The use of positive language which reflects confidence in finding a suitable solution for clients will reassure them and encourage then to remain loyal to the brand, even after encountering issues.
It is important that call agents remember that the clients on the other end of the line are human beings just like them. Whether they are frustrated, angry or upset, agents should aim to put themselves in the client’s shoes and understand how they might be feeling and what solution they would want if it were them with the issue.
Timeliness is a critical skill to hold when working in customer service. Agents should be swift in their responses to customer inquiries and should always be prepared to switch to another channel if a case needs greater attention.
10. Willingness to go the extra mile
Clients appreciate good service, but they love a gesture which shows the genuine appreciation for their business. Call agents who go the extra mile are often able to win over customers. Such gestures might be as simple as expediting a delivery free of charge to rectify a prior dispatch error. Or offering a courtesy discount voucher as an apology for a previous issue, or even just to say thank you for being a customer.