Just unboxed that new solution for your call center? Fantastic, but who are your agents? What is their experience and skill set?
If your call center is run like a sweatshop staffed by agents with little experience and training, you will likely have a call center with an exceptionally high turn over rate and less than stellar customer satisfaction. Too many companies think that just by investing in some new software system or tool, their current employees will be magically imbued with greater insight into their job and somehow be more productive.
What is often overlooked in what can be a grueling working environment is that having an experienced work force that is knowledgeable on current systems and workflow is an exceptionally valuable resource. But what makes an exceptional call agent, if its not just the tools they have access to? In short, experience, soft skills, and training.
An experienced call agent is one that knows the company, process, and product or service inside and out. They are able to quickly and amicably resolve issues before issues become “critical.” They also have the experience to know when to escalate calls and proactive ways to remediate potential issues. Battletested agents are always better in tune with how the company operates and the demands of the job, meaning they are more resilient to burn out and can even help reduce tension in your call center environment. Experience is crucial to call center success, and in an environment where turn over can be a problem, having an experienced team member has positive effects throughout your entire call center.
In addition to experience, soft skills are a vital factor in creating the perfect call center agent. While more nebulous than experience and training, soft skills are just as crucial. Having an agent with empathy means that they are better able to relate to clients, resolve issues, and keep a potentially grumpy client calm and satisfied. Confidence and decisiveness are also highly desirable traits to have in agents. Helping to resolve issues quickly and in a reassuring way leaves clients with the feeling they are in good hands, instead of being assisted by someone lost at sea.
Training – we saved the best for last. This is a factor that is often neglected by management and relies more on the agents desire to self-educate and the overall cohesion of existing teams to solve issues. Even with new and exceptionally powerful tools available, if the agent is not competent on the new system, there will be no beneficial result for either the agent or the center. Most centers will train briefly during onboarding or when a new system comes in, with no additional follow-up. This is a massive oversight and leaves agents with the potential to be “super-users” on new frameworks stuck in a rut. Additionally, the lack of agent feedback and supplemental and ingoing training means that progress and growth can be a bit stunted
It’s worth remembering that call centers are run by people and diligence, not just technology and software. So if you’re looking for ideal call center agents make sure that you invest in those who are experienced, skilled, and trained, so that when you couple your center with that shiny new solution, you get the return on your investment, instead of a potential mutiny of dissatisfied agents.