No matter how strong your processes and best practices, your contact center will suffer if it is not staffed with effective call center agents. This doesn’t just apply to the hiring process. In order to hold your agents to this high standard, you’ll need to engage in ongoing education and the continued application of emerging call center agent practices. This won’t merely create more effective call center agents—it will have real bottom-line impact on your business as a whole.
Here are a few of the top qualities to look for from call center agents:
- Effective Organization – In a multichannel contact center, agents are tasked with communicating directly with customers, managing CRM databases, and communicating with other departments to reach solutions. This requires a great deal of focus and organization to be made successful. One way to determine this quality in prospective agents is to look at their actions during the application process: did they meet deadlines, arrive on-time, and submit proper information? This is will give you an idea of whether they’ll be up to the multi-tasking needed in a modern contact center.
- Learning Ability – Customer service agents don’t merely need to know how to deal with customers—they need to know your products or services as well. Beyond this, ongoing education is crucial. You need customer service agents who are able to quickly learn about new products and services, as well as emerging best practices. Be sure that prospective agents are eager to learn new information and effective at putting it into practice.
- Focus – It can be easy for customer service agents to fall into a routine once they have become acclimated to a new work environment. Customers ask similar questions, after all, which makes it tempting to deliver the same answer every time. That’s not the way to deliver exceptional customer service. Instead of hiring agents who give canned responses, look for candidates who actively engage in conversation and focus on what’s being said. This skill will prove to indispensable in the career of any customer service agent.
- Flexibility – Every customer service interaction is different, requiring customer service agents to react on the fly to changing customer needs and even difficult service interactions. Failing to hire customer service agents who are flexible will put your business at a strong disadvantage.
- Positive Demeanor – Of course, one of the key components of an effective customer service interactions is a positive tone from your agents. Sincerity and friendliness are hard qualities to quantify, but they have a world-changing effect on the efficacy of your call centers. If you can deliver a positive experience to customers, even when their issues are not easily resolved, you’ll instill a great degree of loyalty in them.
There are many qualities to look for when hiring a customer service agent, but these six are a great place to start. In the context of a multichannel customer service center, the need for quality customer service agents is more important than ever.
Stratus Contact Solutions is a leading US-based provider of multichannel contact center solutions including call centers, social media, live chat and email.
In his position as COO, Bryan is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company’s contact centers, customer relations and client acquisitions. Gross has 30 years of extensive customer contact center industry experience, on both the client and agency sides of the business. Prior to joining Stratus, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Global Interactive Services, LLC, where he was responsible for operating the company and it’s strategic direction. He has a proven track record for building successful operations at such companies as TCIM Services, ACS (XEROX), Center Partners, Teletech, Sprint and MCI.