Call centers, just like other industries, require well-trained employees.
It’s a must for newly hired employees to be provided with adequate training given the skills they’re required to master. If managers skip new employee training, it can lead to them repeating mistakes, which can be detrimental to their growth and the company’s progression and reputation.
By undergoing thorough training and proper management, call center agents can render excellent services to clients. It also means building good chemistry with their team and the people they’ll work with.
Essential Call Center Agent Skills
Working for a call center entails being consistently sharp and having the flexibility to widen skill sets. Here are seven essential call center agent skills to master during training:
1. Having consistent organizational skills
In any field of work, organizational skills allow employees to plot out daily tasks with ease and structure. They can develop greater attention to detail when working on projects, enabling them to produce high-quality work outputs.
The life of a call center agent can be hectic. Whether handling multiple customers or dealing with ineffective team members, multitasking is an inevitable part of the job. Forming consistent organizational skills is key to managing the workload well.
The littlest things matter in the long run. From tracking down all customer requests and issues to finding solutions to time management, these skills are vital to how effectively your employees can handle the daily pressures of being a call center agent.
2. Practicing empathy with others
It pays to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Understanding their wants and needs can help strengthen your relationships with them, which, over time, creates more trust and confidence. However, some customers can be difficult to deal with due to unreasonable demands or impatience.
Responding angrily to irritated customers won’t alleviate the tension in these situations. Although it can be hard to avoid giving in to personal feelings, reminding your employees to continue exercising patience and empathy is the best way to minimize friction and get to the root of your customer’s problems.
Your job is to understand what’s bothering your customers and provide recommendations to solve them and eliminate their frustrations. Using intuition is another good way to deal with troubled customers, which can help anticipate potential problems.
3. Sharpening communication skills
Sharp communication skills are a major component of a call center agent. Your employees will be tasked to deal with multiple customers daily and note various inquiries.
Communicating effectively with customers doesn’t just involve practicing empathy. It also means knowing how to relay information most clearly and effectively as possible. Moreover, part of having sharp communication skills is maintaining a clear line of communication with your customers, even though they can be unclear.
4. Being a collaborative member
As they say, teamwork makes the dream work. An effective call center agent works well with teammates.
Your employees can’t handle all the work alone, nor can their teammates. Through being a collaborative member, good character isn’t just demonstrated; they also have to prove they’re a reliable team player and are willing to assist when needed.
5. Developing strong problem-solving skills
Regardless of your role in a call center (e.g., customer support team member, salesperson), problem-solving skills should be part of your arsenal. One of your primary responsibilities is finding solutions that immediately address the customer’s problems or concerns.
For a sales agent, determining the customer’s needs and problems is the first step. From there, your employees also need to find out which of your products best solves your customer’s issues, and persuade the customer to study and purchase those recommended products.
For a support agent, problem-solving applies but goes beyond merely addressing your customer’s problems. Functioning as a support agent requires the appropriate skills to deal with angry or difficult customers and properly diffuse tension if the situation escalates.
6. Working at the right speed
Call centers in the Philippines constantly receive calls from customers. With the number of people calling by the hour, it’s critical to be punctual in answering and addressing as many concerns as possible. The longer agents take to handle one customer, the higher your risk of angering customers and causing them to avoid contacting you in the future.
The last thing you’d want to receive are complaints from customers about how slow and inefficient your call center is, which is why it’s crucial to work at the right speed, as this affects both customer satisfaction and your call center’s cost efficiency.
7. Knowing your products and services by heart
Technical and soft skills aren’t the only things your employees need to master as call center agents. Whether their focus is on sales or providing customer support, employees must know all the products and services by heart, as their knowledge determines how well they can persuade your customers to purchase them.
From product types to service fees, your employees should be able to answer questions about these in detail, especially if the questions are frequently asked. As for complicated queries, by dividing information into your products and services among other call center agents, you’ll get an effective strategy for handling difficult customer concerns to avoid getting overwhelmed.
Best Practices for Call Center Training
Onboarding can be tedious and nerve-wracking for newly hired employees, followed by an adjustment period. To make onboarding a productive and smooth process, consider creating a set of training guidelines for them to follow.
As a business owner, you should have a set of training guidelines that clarifies all the work processes your newly hired employees must be familiar with. These guidelines are also meant to walk employees through how to form positive experiences for customers when engaging with them.
Here are nine call center training practices you should implement:
1. Acquaint all staff with the business
Working at a call center isn’t just about ensuring that new employees master their assigned roles. Your employees also represent your call center, so you must make it a point for them to understand how your company works in terms of business and operations.
They also should be informed about your core values, mission and vision, company culture, and business goals. Your agents would then be equipped with the knowledge and confidence to handle customers in a way that aligns well with your company’s values.
2. Explore the implementations of customized training
No one thinks the same. Adjusting to how each new employee learns and processes information is critical to their becoming familiar with their roles in the most effective way possible.
Knowing the approaches to take determines how well your newly onboarded employees will progress throughout their training and careers. Do they learn better through video training? Are they more comfortable holding one-on-one sessions?
3. Incorporate video training
Video training is an engaging way to educate new employees. Videos allow them to learn about your company’s work processes and their roles at their own pace, plus they can review their lessons as much as they need to since this video training is easily accessible.
4. Train agents to establish customer relationships
One way to measure how new employees perform is by monitoring how they develop customer relationships. Before that, they must be trained to understand various aspects of establishing customer relationships, such as customer lifetime value, the effects of negative interactions with them, retention, loyalty, and many more.
Acquiring a good grasp on these aspects can help your newly onboarded employees improve their listening skills and achieve consistent customer satisfaction.
5. Teach your agents about call center etiquette excellence
Knowing what to say and what not to say to customers is critical in forming healthy and positive relationships with them. You can teach call center etiquette guidelines through customized training or a mentor-mentee relationship with a more experienced call center agent.
The more new employees are taught, the better their understanding of dealing with all types of customers in various situations.
6. Teach your agents about call handling best practices
When training new employees in call handling best practices, you should provide clear examples of appropriate greetings and transfer techniques during customer conversations. That way, they’re given a specific format to follow from the beginning to the end of customer calls.
To better understand how these calls are handled, it would be a good idea to make them listen to recordings of previous calls that they can analyze and learn from. Doing this also helps them become more prepared to handle a wide range of calls and callers.
7. Hold individual call center training sessions with your agents
It takes time for new employees to become fully familiar with and proficient in their roles. Holding individual training sessions with them can give you an idea of their learning gaps and other areas they need to improve.
It’s also helpful to know how much your onboarded employees have learned about their roles, such as the products and services they need to promote, their complexity, training protocols, and management strategies.
8. Emphasize practical call center agent training
The best way to learn is through experience. Adopting job shadowing and role-playing practices are good ways to help new employees get settled and develop their skills.
9. Evaluate their progress
Evaluate how far your new employees have come since their first day. Assessing what’s working and isn’t working should motivate them to adjust their approach.
Another way to assist new employees in improving their performance is to provide them with extra tools that can give them direction in refining their approach and overall interactions with callers.
Enhancing Your Call Center Training for Better Customer Experiences
Call centers can be overwhelming places to be in. Companies need to provide free training for their call centers that includes the latest training trends for newly hired employees to follow. Doing this can help them learn efficiently and master their skills well.