The Importance of Improving Your Call Center Representatives’ Skills
Why are call center representatives important?
What role do call center representatives play in the success of a business? They play the largest role. In fact, we named our company after the role that our dedicated and blended agents perform, they are your Frontline! Some companies handle their communications internally, while others depend on full-time or part-time outsourced call center agents to retain customers, set appointments, upsell products, and perform other vital functions, such as performing surveys or taking payments securely.
No matter where your organization falls on this spectrum, you can improve your reputation and success by training dedicated agents and empowering them with the best possible technology and skills. It is also important to teach them industry best practices to better enhance their agent experience. Improving contact center agents skills can attract higher caliber talent to further increase the client experience, decrease management problems, and even increase profit. Training yields both short- and long-term returns on investment for your company and employees– if done correctly. Let’s dive into how you can empower your agents to be the best possible asset to your team.
What skills do call center representatives need to be successful?
A few months ago, we would have said the most important call center representative skill was the ability to multitask, and the second was to control the tone or flow of each contact to meet KPIs.
But now, listening is the most important skill a representative needs. While SMS and email are gaining traction, the majority of people reaching out for customer care or tech support still prefer a phone call.
A representative has to listen to learn who is calling, why they are calling, and what they really want. To sell, a dedicated agent must first listen to understand the customer’s needs. Good listening means the representative can guide the call in such a way that the caller feels validated.
Many employees spend up to 80% of their time communicating. About 45% of that time is spent listening but not necessarily listening well. Instead, employees’ brains anticipate, formulate ideas, and craft responses. That’s why time should be spent teaching customer care support reps how to really listen.
Customers want to be heard. If your representative is able to listen and resolve each caller’s issue, it’s rewarding for the caller and validation of the support agent’s skills.
Our reality shifted this year. The pandemic flipped everything on its head and then some. Both representatives and callers are under unusual stress. In the best of times, when a dissatisfied caller can hide behind a phone, the worst side of his or her personality can sometimes come out. Add in the additional stress from the pandemic, and your representatives have to practice listening more than ever, along with empathy and quick problem-solving skills.
What ways can you assist in improving your call center representative’s skills?
Training should start from the moment an employee is hired. With an improved onboarding process, you will be able to show employees you have specific goals for improving their skills throughout their employment. Keep them engaged both in their daily work and larger developmental goals to help them feel motivated, confident, and successful.
Specific skills you train them on include:
- Responsiveness: Reps should learn how to consistently follow through on their promises and get back to both customers and account owners on a schedule. Make your customers feel valued!
- Recovery: Employees should know (and use) several techniques for de-stressing and relaxing between calls, which can help them perform at their best in each call.
- First Call Resolution: Make sure contact center representatives know every product and issue deeply enough to solve customers’ challenges in one call.
- Software Utilization: Switching between disconnected browser windows leads to mistakes. Get call center software that makes each call as simple and efficient as possible—and train employees to use it well.
- Core Values Implementation: Ensure employees understand your core values and use them in their daily work.
Create a habit of meeting with your contact center agents on a regular schedule, whether it’s every day or once per week. Give them specific metrics to work toward, then coach them to achieve their individual goals. Provide more training as needed, and celebrate each success.
What are the benefits of investing the time in improving your call center representatives’ skills?
Does ongoing skills training sound like too much work? Do you want to be sure it will be worth it? Here are five advantages it can bring you:
- Loyalty: Your employees will feel that you care about their development and success, making them more likely to stay at your company and talk positively about you.
- Reputation: Very well-trained reps get noticed, both by customers and by potential employees. That can end up in positive online reviews, improving your reputation.
- Adaptability: With a good training program, your employees and company can adapt more quickly to any changes in the economy or market.
- Motivation: When you reward employees for attending training and going to conferences, you can create a culture of continuous learning, which can increase employees’ drive to succeed.
- Talent: Training can lead to an internal pipeline of skilled employees who are ready to be promoted or to move laterally to other roles. They can become your future.
The smarter your employees are, the more they can solve problems, bring you innovative ideas, and impress your customers. So, train them well in your products, history, processes, and more. Show that you care about their individual success.
Contact Frontline Group for Call Center Outsourcing
In your company, it may not be appropriate to train call center customer service representatives or buy related technology. You may want to outsource this function to a firm that already has well-trained reps and the latest contact center hardware and software. You could instead focus on your next big product idea, not on hiring technical support representation.
If you want an outsourced call center that grows as you grow, request a free quote from Frontline Group. We can create a custom call center solution, provide blended agents and tech support agents, train your remote employees . . . and reduce your stress. Contact us today.