Success in the contact center begins with the hiring process. When you bring in customer service agents who naturally have these five qualities, your customers are more likely to have positive experiences that strengthen brand reputation, engagement and loyalty. Hiring managers can use specific techniques to gauge a candidate’s emotional intelligence skills while ongoing training programs help call center employees further fine-tune their competences.
Accurately documenting an issue ensures that customer service agents are able to resolve issues and companies have the necessary information to fix common problems. Detail-oriented is one of those key buzzwords that all jobseekers insert into their resumes. Scrutinize application packages for typos to determine if they actually do pay attention to the details. You can also assess a candidate’s abilities by asking them to describe a situation where their attention to detail was critical to a project’s success.
Compassion and Empathy
A customer service agent’s willingness to emotionally connect with each customer determines how effective they will be at their job. Customers want to know that they are speaking to someone who really cares about their issues and who has a sincere desire to address their needs. When agents add this personal touch to the conversation, they create moments for meaningful interactions, which is the foundation for building trust. Customers are then happier with the results even if the outcomes are not what they were hoping for. To discover if you are talking to a real “people person,” ask open-ended questions like “Who do you admire and why?” or “What traits do you value in coworkers?” Listen carefully for attributes that inspire and encourage others and for their ability to relate to others.
Customers should always connect with someone who is polite, upbeat and positive. They want to talk with someone who speaks clearly and isn’t rushed. Effective communicators also ask questions to clarify points or gain more information. When interviewing potential employees, pay attention to their follow-up questions. This inquisitiveness indicates their ability to be fully present in the conversation and ask smart, probing questions that reveal the real issues. Contact center training programs should also concentrate on helping customer service agents strengthen their questioning techniques. Asking “How did this start?” and “Is there anything else that I can do to help?” demonstrates to customers that they are important.
Teams that excel at gathering information drive productive call centers. True resolution is only achieved when agents tap into the underlying issue that prompted the call. Proactively look for warning signs during the interview. Such as candidates who monopolize the conversation, constantly interrupt or guess what you are trying to say. They will do the same thing to customers, which not only intensifies frustrations but also leads to wrong conclusions. Build an active listening exercise into the interview process to assess the potential employee’s skills at pulling out key points, taking in emotional cues and concentrating on what the customer is actually saying.
Customers typically reach out to the contact center to resolve an issue they are frustrated about. They may be rushed, rude or agitated. It is the job of contact center agents to diffuse tense situations by remaining calm, courteous and objective in the face of conflict. You can test a candidate’s patience and tolerance for pressure in several ways. These include interrupting them, asking obvious questions or giving them a timed task. Hiring managers should also look at the length of employment history. They can also ask candidates to share a story about a frustrating situation that had a positive outcome.