We know what goes into making a great contact center solution. But 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. 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 4 SKILLS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN AN AGENT?
- 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; ( if they are only coming in to make some quick money; buy a new phone and then just push) they are not going to have an impact on your KRA’s. It is important to find these enthusiastic people”
- Great Communication Skills
The second skill is the obvious. That is having great communication skills. So what makes for great communication skills? Sundeep elaborates “They have to be primarily good listeners and patient speakers. They should be persuasive with Logical problem-solving skills. All of this put together makes a great communication skills package.
- Knowledge base
Sundeep’s third touchstone is the agent’s knowledge base. “they need to be well informed about the product /service. They need to be on top of what’s happening with the organization. They have to really, completely understand what the customer is asking. And to comprehend this, they need to really understand what it is they are selling, be it a product or a service. This will be part of the customer service training, but it is important for them to keep updating themselves. If they feel they need to know something, they need to approach the trainer or the team leader and proactively ask questions.”
- Technology Awareness
Todays Customer Support Agent 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 Says Sundeep, “Computer savvy is an outdated term.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 specs of a contact center up to the CSAT– so it is important for the agent to use this effectively. They should be able to capitalize on this. During the interview process, you might want to have a few more 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 2 TRAINING TIPS
Churn ratios is 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/manager is to firstly make them comfortable. The trainer is the first person an agent meets when he /she is on boarded. And the trainer also represents the organization. It is important for the trainer to have that culture embedded in him/her.
GROUP DISCUSSIONS are a great way he/she gets to know the trainees. And also understand the strength or weakness of each one of them. And this will help the trainer or contact center manager to work with them during the training duration.
- DEMONSTRATE. Lead from the front. If they are expected to manage call/chats /emails etc, give them a real time feeling on how things are going to be. The conventional way is to make them listen to recordings: discuss the call, identify the opportunities, ask what could have been improved.
SIMULATIONS are another great way to train. But demonstrating how to handle a call or a chat will not just give trainees a feel of what they must do. But also help to command respect from them.
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Guest Author: Sandeep Gursahani, Senior Manager PISPL
Parekh Integratated Services Private Limited