Customer service agents have a tough job. So tough that the industry has a 30-40% turnover rate. From taking calls that are not always happy to juggling multiple tasks, customer service is a complicated and nuanced task. What are seven things amazing agents do differently that help them rise to the top of their field and win customers for life?
Top customer service agents possess some skills that enable them to navigate the often tumultuous atmosphere of the call center. Briefly, they are:
- Communication skills
- Knowledge of your products and services
Here we explore seven things top customer service agents do every day that make working in the call center look like a piece of cake.
1. Communicate clearly
Being able to hold a conversation is the most fundamental skill an agent must possess. Agents taking that skill one step further by making sure communication is clear and concise makes the job much more manageable.
Clear communication is being able to understand what your customers are saying and respond in a way that makes sense to them. It enables agents to get it right the first time around. Agents communicate clearly by:
- Asking clarification questions
- Putting technical jargon into everyday terms
- Being upfront about the process and how long it will take
Clear communication means agents can work more efficiently. Tickets are resolved in less time and processes are streamlined.
2. Practice empathy
Agents with empathy understand what your customers are feeling. Instead of having a negative reaction when a customer is upset, an agent that practices empathy feels compassion toward them.
Empathy makes customers feel respected, understood, and supported. At the same time, agents benefit from empathy by being able to understand where their customers are coming from and not take misdirected anger to heart.
Agents with empathy strive to resolve customer issues as if they were their own. They resolve tickets with tenacity and are more focused on problem solving.
During a single conversation, agents are often doing more than just talking to customers.
On top of tending to customer’s needs agent have to:
- Check knowledge
- Update CRM
- Take notes
- Moderate emotion
Top customer service agents can carry on all of these tasks simultaneously. Staying organized helps to reduce the possibility of errors. They understand that leveraging software can keep their actions and thoughts organized in a busy call center.
4. Model the organizational image
From your website to your call center, your customers should be met with a consistent image. Each experience your customer has had factored into their opinion of your organization.
It is your agents’ responsibility to make sure that your customers’ experiences are in line with your service goals. Top customer service agents have a clear understanding of the image your organization wants to achieve. It shines through in every conversation they have.
Successfully projecting your organization’s goal image means that agents have internalized what it is you expect of them. This makes their job easier. They no longer have to think about each and whether or not it’s correct.
5. Remain calm
Being a call center agent takes patience. The tone of conversations in the call center runs the gamut from perfectly pleasant to horrifying. Managing technical issues can be frustrating and when something isn’t working the way it should, tensions can arise. Agents that can keep their cool in each situation find themselves at the top of their field.
Humans respond to the energy those around them are putting off. In an attempt to connect on a deeper level, we mirror each other. This extends to actions, phrases, and even attitudes.
Agents can use mirroring to their advantage in the call center. During a tense conversation, agents that remain calm can project that demeanor onto their conversation partner. This zen-like attitude allows them to better diffuse situations and make sure issues are resolved no matter what.
6. Move swiftly from task to task
A busy call center demands that agents move from one customer to the next rapidly. During an inbound volume surge agents might transition to the next call without pause. Agents that move quickly between calls can serve more customers. This translates to shorter queue time and higher customer satisfaction.
But it’s not just moving swiftly between tasks. Top customer service agents do so without sacrificing the quality of their work.
7. Think creatively
While some tasks in the call center have an almost robot-like repetitive quality, others require out-of-the-box thinking. Tasks like this are what keeps agents engaged and motivated.
Creative problem solving is a win-win situation. Customers are impressed when agents find solutions to problems that seemingly had none and agents get a boost of positive energy from the effort and outcome.
You can encourage creative problem solving among your agents by giving them more autonomy and authority over what actions they can take to keep customers satisfied. Give your agents a freer rein and you will see out-of-the-box thinking flourish and customer satisfaction increase.
How can managers help? Continuous coaching
The good news about these actions is that they can be cultivated in agents. Managers can coach agents with the help of analytics tools infused with artificial intelligence and objective performance data. They can draw on stats taken from speech analytics and call monitoring to create tailored training for each agent. Other methods beneficial to coaching contact center agents are:
- Roleplay through scenarios that demonstrate empathy
- Product and service familiarization training
- Gamification of key performance indicators associated with these actions
- Real-time suggestions during live customer conversations
Top customer service agents possess skills that make their jobs less stressful and easier to do. This often translates to being able to provide great customer service at a low emotional and effort cost.
Modern call centers are equipped with technology designed to improve areas that are known to be problematic. Agents can combine this technology with their skills to create a smoother, more manageable process for both them and your customers.