Communications specialist, IT technician, product expert, negotiator, conflict consultant, data analyst. These are just some of the hats that contact center agents are required to wear these days. They’re also asked to be empathetic, expert communicators, immediate problem-solvers, extensively knowledgeable and patient. Changing customer demands, increased digitization and sky-high customer expectations mean that more is asked of and more is required of contact center agents.
Though digitization has led to an increase in automation, a human touch is still very welcome when it comes to engaging, personalized customer experiences. Not only do real human engagement and interaction serve to provide that crucial competitive advantage, which so many businesses are struggling to secure these days, but an all-round excellent customer experience leads to higher customer satisfaction and enhanced customer advocacy rates, both of which are a must in this digital age.
It’s not unusual for a contact center role to be someone’s first job, and it’s very rare to find seasoned professionals for whom contact center work is their chosen career. A diversity of skills is required to do the job well, but this job is often a springboard to other jobs in industries that recognize what a multi-faceted role it is.
So, what are these skills and how can employers help their employees optimize their skill-sets and feel empowered and engaged, all the while encouraging them to stay within the industry?
- Strong communicator
Contact center employees must be skilled communicators. Customers today make contact through phone, email, letters, social media, web forms and webchat, looking for that true omnichannel experience. Call center agents must listen to and empathize with customer issues or complaints, trying to understand where concerns are coming from and then acknowledging these concerns in the appropriate way. By doing this, the customer may be satisfied even if their particular issue isn’t resolved immediately.
- Customer-first mentality
Above all, a good contact center agent puts the customer first. He/she never assumes to know exactly what it is the customer wants to discuss or how that customer might want their issue to be resolved. In a similar vein, it’s important to know that one size does not fit all when it comes to finding a solution for a customer, and contact center agents need to recognize those differences. A tailored, well-thought-out response is vital, with the needs of the customer front-and-center when trying to find a resolution that’s the best outcome for all involved.
A great deal of information can be gleaned from customer interactions and this all needs to be captured accurately and efficiently. It’s only by having access to this information that a business has any hope of optimizing the customer experience at every interaction.
For a call center agent to be successful, the individual must have access to the right information at the right time. This could be a customer’s data, a record of that customer’s journey to date, or even an intuitive workflow process that leads contact center agents to the best course of action for that particular customer scenario. Additionally, customer feedback mechanisms that report back to the business enable employees to review their performance and make any necessary changes in the future.
We’re all dealing with more data than ever before, something contact center agents know all too well. This is where the right technology comes in to play. A complaints management system empowers contact center agents to meet their full potential, giving them access to comprehensive information and insight, while facilitating the necessary workflows and decision-making tools that result in optimum outcomes for both the customer and the business. It’s only with the right tools in place that contact center agents can live up to their potential and grow their skillset, giving them the ways and means to provide customer-centric service in an industry where a good customer experience is the key to sustainable business growth.
For more information on how Aptean Respond can boost the skills of your contact center team, reach out to us today.