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3 soft skills mandates for customer service agents

Most of the outsourcing companies are believing this myth that if the call center metrics and numbers are giving a favourable figure then the employees are heading in the right direction. Little do they realise that metrics and statistics aren’t capable of measuring the personality and other soft skills of employees. Surely FCR and other similar metrics are important, however, there exist other things which are equally important, if not more. Agent’s ability to relate with callers, their capability to bring value to the interaction with callers, etc. are also important determinants of customer service.

Outsourcing call centers are considering KPI and CRM systems as the backbone of contact centres. But it is vital to understand here that soft skills of the agents are the governing body and act like the brain of the system. Hence, it is vital to keep a balance between the brain and spine of a contact center. There are no two questions about it that soft skills are a valuable aspect of the entire contact centre but the difficulty arises in defining them clearly.

The Difficult Task of Measuring Soft Skills

Most of the hard skills, like entering data, can be learned on the job through a defined training program. However, the main difficulty arises in acquiring soft skills, these are a more challenging aspect for the call center outsourcing companies than any other. As contact centers aren’t able to do much, in regard to measuring these skills, by default the ability to provide exceptional customer service relies heavily on the skills available previously with agents.
There are a host of various soft skills which an efficient call centre agent must possess. But there are a few which hold more importance than others. Three of such skills are mentioned below.

Adaptability and Flexibility

Outsourcing call centers offer one of the most stressful work environments across businesses. Various kinds of unpleasant situations may arise at any given point of time because of the high levels of interactions happening with customers. If at such a situation an agent becomes agitated, it would end up giving a very negative impression to the caller. Thanks to the existence of digital mediums, one dissatisfied customer can create a ripple effect of disappointment among other existing and prospective buyers through word of mouth. Due to this, it becomes even more important to maintain composure as it helps in dealing with difficult situations in a better manner. Practicing patience and being positive isn’t just helpful in maintaining focus but is also beneficial in creating favourable customer experiences.

Emotional Intelligence

As a part of the human behaviour, the more familiar an agent sounds, the more a customer would be able to build a rapport. Human interaction is the foundation of call center outsourcing companies. Not everything is communicated by words. There are a few things which an agent, representing outsourcing call centers, has to understand. It is vital for an agent to not only focus on the words of the customer, but to pay equal attention on the tone, pitch and style of the speech. These are the things which are able to give much more valuable insights into customers’ personalities than words ever possibly could.

A high level of intelligence, both EI and IQ are a great combination of skills to look for in call center agents. The ability to decipher emotional information is a tricky yet an important one. It helps a call center agent in thinking and behaving in the correct manner so that the customer is appropriately taken care of. In addition to the speech and other related attributes of the same, it is extremely important for an agent to possess empathy as it helps in gauging the feeling of the other party.

Active Listening

Most of the people listen to reply. Active listening is concerned with listening in a manner which provides a better understanding of the entire situation. Repeating what the customer is saying is an easy, yet an effective, way of active listening. It is surely not an easy habit to inculcate but an extra effort can help in addressing customer concerns in a better manner.
Aforementioned three skills are beneficial in ensuring that effective outsourcing call centers agents are able to match up their pace with that of customers. Good soft skills can empower agents in better management of calls and building a stronger connection with their customers thereby, creating an impeccable experience for customers.

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