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What Makes a Good Customer Service Agent

As you may be aware, competent call center customer service agents are hard to find. And it’s no wonder, as dealing with the needs of customers can be a daunting task. In order to be the best customer service agent, they must have the right personality, skills, and adequate training. Because customer service directly impacts revenue and how your company is perceived, building the best customer support team should be a top priority.

This article will cover the traits you should be looking for when hiring new customer service agents. It will also cover those that you should emphasize when training your team. 

Patience with the Customer

Perhaps the primary trait you should foster with every customer service agent in your company is patience. Being able to handle the pace of each customer’s unique situation can lead to a positive customer service experience. This is especially important when callers may be irate, confused, or unknowledgeable. Those at your inbound call center should know that each customer simply wants their problems solved in the most efficient way possible. Unclear issues should be explained in a level-headed manner without assuming that a customer’s negativity is in any way a personal attack. To develop patience, part of every customer service agent’s call center duties should be focused on resolving problems with empathy. 

Clear Communication

Part of being a good customer service agent is clearly communicating what callers are trying to get across and responding in ways that ultimately make sense to each caller. This includes company protocol, grasping the issue at the heart of the call, and troubleshooting technical aspects beyond their grasp. This is especially important for tech-heavy industries, where simple definitions and explanations can be used without delving into jargon and complexity. However, when the occasion calls for it, your customer service agents should be able to explain more advanced concepts that are understandable for all levels of comprehension. 

what make a good customer service agent?
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A Positive Attitude

Moods are infectious. Therefore, having your customer service agents focus on projecting a positive outlook and looking on the bright side is paramount to success. This can be difficult when customer service agents encounter constant negativity, especially when customers despair at their problem, or maybe at their wit’s end. First, part of call center duties should include the ability to uplift callers and gradually shift their thinking as inquiries are solved. Try to see part of the job description as being a well-spring of positive emotions. For instance, you may want to train your agents to take callers on a journey towards happiness; at first, a caller may be upset, but as the problem nears resolution, a positive outcome can be reached – even better and more efficiently than a caller realizes. In a fast-paced world where callers may feel that it is them vs. the world, encountering a positive, smiling voice on the other end of the phone can be a breath of fresh air. This is something that reflects well on your company’s public image. 

Be Creative with Your Solutions

Customer service agents should be trained and rewarded for using their creativity when it comes to problem-solving. Being able to provide customers with uniquely tailored solutions to their problems and understanding the frame of mind that they present requires the ability to think beyond standard procedures. Encourage your customer service agents to come up with their own ways of troubleshooting problems. For instance, if a customer continually has problems with their billing, a customer service agent can suggest ways that fit how the caller prefers to do business. This, of course, requires that your customer service agents have a deep knowledge of your business, as the more you know, the easier it is to see a wider range of options for any given obstacle. When these dilemmas present themselves, agents can devise solutions that may call for out-of-the-box thinking when particular issues arise. 

10 Things You Should Never Say During a Customer Service Call

Working in customer service can be very rewarding, but it can also be very demanding. Most customer service agents must deal with angry customers daily. Customer service representatives must be able to take these unhappy people and turn them into satisfied and loyal customers. During a customer service call, this is no easy feat when a person enters the conversation angry or upset.

When someone is already upset, it is easy for problems to snowball. One wrong word from a customer service agent could mean the loss of a customer forever. However, customer service call agents cannot just placate customers; they do have problems to solve, and some issues cannot be resolved. Customer service agents should be able to walk a fine line between being stern and being friendly. All words that are exchanged over a customer service line carry weight. If you are a customer service agent or are training agents for your business, be careful to avoid these common verbal slip-ups that may ruin a customer’s experience.

  1. I can’t help you with that
    Sometimes a customer service call agent has to follow a specific protocol, and some things will be outside of their jurisdiction. When you realize that you cannot help the person over the phone, it is best to forward them to a more senior person on the team or management. The answer should never be that they can’t be helped.
  2. That’s just our policy
    Telling your customers that you can’t help them is terrible, but not giving them a reason for why you can’t help them is even worse. Saying, “sorry, that’s our policy” is basically you shrugging your shoulders at them and tossing their inquiries away. It isn’t an acceptable answer to an angry or confused customer. This customer is only interested in the problem being resolved. To be that short with a customer gives the impression that your company doesn’t care about its customers.
  3. Unfortunately, no
    No is negative; it does not matter how its phrased. Saying, unfortunately, might make you think that you are mitigating the severity of the word, no, but you are not. Do not lead with a negative when speaking to an angry customer. If you are unable to help them in the way that they want you to, use a different phrase such as, “here’s what we can do for you.”
  4. Interrupting a rant
    If you are a customer service representative, you have probably had to sit through a rant or two in your time. The critical thing to remember when dealing with an angry customer is to let them get it all out. When they come up for air, that is when you can start talking to them. Never interrupt and never tell a customer they are unreasonable, even if they are.
  5. Never Say During a Customer Service Call
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    I don’t know
    A call center agent should always have an answer to a customer’s issues. Answering with I don’t know is unacceptable and should never be uttered by an agent. Customers call companies and speak to representatives because they want to be helped, and an incompetent agent cannot help them.

  6. Give me a second
    A second is a vague measurement of time that should not be given on the phone. If you are looking into something for a customer, it’s better to be honest about how long they will be waiting for you to look things up.
  7. Actually, it’s this
    Don’t even bother correcting a customer on a name or pronunciation or anything. It will be taken as condescending, and you will put the customer off or make them feel embarrassed.
  8. I’m sorry
    Don’t get me wrong, it is important to apologize to upset customers, but it is best to avoid it if you don’t mean it. It won’t carry the same significance if you actually do not care and are just repeating this overused phrase.
  9. I have to put you on hold
    A customer does not want to be placed on hold, and this should be avoided at all costs. However, sometimes it is unavoidable, and in those cases, you must ask the customer if it is okay that you put them on hold and be sure to explain your reasons for doing so.
  10. I don’t see your account information here
    Never announce this to the person that you are helping on the other line. More than likely you are missing their name in the database or you input the wrong information. Humans make errors, and you should never assume that the customer called you by mistake. It certainly happens, but until you’ve exhausted every possible way to find their information, they do not need to hear this phrase uttered.