7 Important Skills Every Inbound Call Center Agent Should Have

September 14th, 2017 Written by: Molly Masterson

When you have a problem with a product or service, who do you call? (Hint: It’s not Ghostbusters.) More often than not, it’s the company’s customer service call center.

These inbound call centers are crucial to the customer service process—and call center agents are on the frontlines. After all, you’re the first person customers turn to to get their questions answered and their problems solved. And 63% of customers agree that resolving an issue quickly or at first contact is the most important element of a good customer experience.

To provide excellent customer service and impress bosses both present and future, we believe there are seven skills you need to possess as an inbound call center agent.

1. Deep Knowledge of a Company’s Products or Services

To field dozens of phone calls a day means fielding dozens of topics as well. Agents need to have a vast and deep understanding of their company’s inner workings, products, and services if they’re to be trusted to accurately represent the company in their conversations. As a result, if you want to thrive as a call center agent you need to have deep company knowledge. This not only helps you feel more confident in the answers and solutions you’re offering, but also increasing the likelihood of a positive experience for customers—which is really what your job is all about.

2. Attention to Detail and Organization

As a call center agent, it’s critical that you listen carefully to customers so you can provide them with accurate and satisfying answers. With that in mind, you need to have great attention to detail and pick up on the things the customer is and isn’t saying. Furthermore, you need to be well organized so you can record and track a conversation with a customer. This often means taking notes or accessing your company’s CRM database while you’re on the phone with customers.

3. Clear and Effective Communication

Call center agents who spend 99% of their day communicating need to have superior written and verbal communication skills. You also need to find a balance between being approachable and being a credible source of information. This means toeing the line between being conversational, yet professional. The ability to clearly and effectively communicate your company’s policies, services, and next steps is the foundation for the entire call experience. Without clear communication, the customer will be left confused and may even think a resolution was never reached.

4. Adaptability

From technical issues to strange customer demands, every service call is different. To ensure the customer experience doesn’t suffer from unexpected circumstances, you need to be ready to handle anything that’s thrown your way. Plus, phone conversations happen in real-time, so being able to adapt to the conversation as it happens is a critical skill for you to have as an agent.

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5. Empathy

Customers go to call center agents with their problems and will frequently vent their frustrations without hesitation. While it might not be something you can immediately fix, simply understanding where customers are coming from can make an enormous difference. If you can acknowledge customer concerns and offer your respect, a customer may leave satisfied even if you couldn’t solve their specific problem.

6. Patience

It’s no secret that as a call center agent, you can endure a lot of abuse from upset customers. Having the patience for customers to air their grievances and address their concerns is the difference between a good call center agent and a great one. You cannot take customer issues personally. Instead, you need to listen patiently and respond calmly in order to diffuse situations and leave customers with a good impression.

7. Positive Attitude

Just like a smile can go a long way during in-person meetings, the same could be said for a positive attitude. Phones will ring off the hook, but being able to answer each call with the same amount of enthusiasm and positivity will create a good experience for every customer who crosses your path. In addition, call center agents are the voice of the company so projecting a friendly tone and using positive language will help reassure customers that a solution will be reached.

Looking for Work as a Call Center Agent?

Think you have what it takes to be a call center agent? Search for call center job openings near you. If you already snagged a job interview, prep yourself for the hard-hitting questions with these commonly asked call center interview questions.

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