We know what goes into making a great contact center solution. But do you know what goes into making a great contact center agent? Sundeep Gursahani, Senior Manager, PISPL, has over 12 years’ experience, working in the contact center industry. In the following blog, he shares with us the top 4 skills he looks out for in a good contact center agent & his top training tips:
What are the top four skills a customer support representative should have?
Enthusiasm and energy.
Is your candidate really a people’s person? Someone who will enjoy and like working with people and solving their problems? Sundeep pegs passion and energy as the most important criteria for selecting your agents. He says, “It is imperative an agent is enthusiastic about his profile. He needs to passionate about helping people. Without this passion, or without this energy, they are not going to have an impact on your KRA’s. It is important to find these enthusiastic people”
1. Great Communication Skills
The second skill is obvious. It is to have great communication skills. But, what qualities determine good communication skills? Sundeep elaborates “In order to be good communicators, your candidates primarily need to be good listeners and patient speakers. Additionally, they should be persuasive and also have good problem-solving skills. All these skills work together to make a great communication skills package.”
Sundeep’s third touchstone is the agent’s knowledge base. “Your agents need to be well informed about the product or service being offered. They need to be on top of what’s happening with the organization. To comprehend what the customer is asking this, they need to fully understand what it is they are selling, be it a product or a service. This will be part of their training, but it is important for them to keep updating themselves. If they feel they lack knowledge, they need to approach the trainer or the team leader and proactively ask questions.”
Today’s Customer Support Representative needs to be comfortable with technology. Says Sundeep, “Computer savvy is an outdated term. Today the kind of technology any contact center deploys is not just to log or record calls. It’s more than that. The kind of software that we use (lets us) measure and record all specifications of a contact center up to the CSAT– so it is important for the agent to use this effectively. During the interview process, have some checks to ascertain that you’re employing the right kind of person. See their use of technical terminology, or experience with different software, such as different telephony software, dialers, etc.
Top two tips for training your call center agents.
Churn ratios in contact centers vary from 10-18%. This means that you constantly have to train new agents. Sundeep recommends batches of 15-20, and elaborates on his tips for contact center managers or trainers to train them:
Make them Comfortable.
The top tip for the trainer or manager is to firstly make their new employees comfortable. Consider the fact that it is the trainer who is the first person the agent first meets when he/she is onboarded. To them, the trainer represents the organization. So it is important for the trainer to embed your company culture into your new recruit.
Group Discussions are a great way to get to know the trainees. Moreover, it helps understand their strengths or weakness. Knowing this will help the trainer or contact center manager to work more effectively with them during the training duration.
Lead from the front. If you expect your team to manage calls, chats, or emails give them a real-time feel of things. For instance, you can use the conventional way of listening to recordings in a group and then discussing them. During the discussion, you help them identify the opportunities and brainstorm on how the conversation could be improved.
Simulations are another great way to train. Not only will it show your trainees how to handle a call or a chat, but it will also help you command their respect. And that important for good leadership.
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