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Head of the Class: Essential Qualities of the Most Successful Agents

Call center agents are without a doubt the heart and soul of any successful contact center. State-of-the-art equipment and software pale in comparison to the value of keeping agents happy and productive. After all, call center agents are the face of the company and play a vital role in the overall customer experience. While there’s certainly no “one-size-fits-all” umbrella that every agent will fit under, there are a few standout qualities that are usually a good indication of whether or not an agent will be successful. So, before running to make that investment in the latest technology, focus your efforts instead on attracting (and keeping) the best talent in seat.

Head of the class

Interest in All Facets of the Job

As with any job, truly successful employees are those who are motivated and driven to perform at a high level. Going through the same motions day in and day out isn’t enough to separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. Within the call center industry especially, look to hire agents that demonstrate the following:

  • Technical Knowledge: A solid understanding for the industry as well as baseline resolution skills
  • Ability to Multi-Task: Must thrive in a hectic environment and be able to jump from one issue to another quickly
  • Pleasant Phone Etiquette: Ability to engage with customers in a pleasant manner, and be able to hold a fluid conversation
  • Ability to Stay Calm, Cool and Collected: Ability to remain calm and resourceful in any situation, regardless of how difficult or stressful the circumstances might be

Attention to Details

With all the hustle and bustle that is to be expected in a contact center, it’s important for agents to stay focused on the task at hand. While it might be easy to become distracted by a nearby conversation, agents need to remember to stay present and “in the moment,” focused on delivering the best possible service to each and every customer on the receiving end.

Solution-Oriented Thinkers

While the job description might include an ability to follow protocol, resolve issues and provide pleasant service to customers, the most successful agents look to go above and beyond. They don’t shy away from unusual or difficult issues, but instead rise to the occasion and search for a resolution themselves or direct their customers to the appropriate personnel who can provide an answer. More experienced agents usually carry a higher level of confidence in themselves and their abilities along with the industry as a whole. Managers should look to bring on board seasoned agents as well as instill a level of confidence in newer employees, training them to feel comfortable “thinking outside the box.”

Ability to Listen and Put the Customer First

Safe to say we’ve all been on the receiving end at some point where a customer service representative seems more interested in reading a script to us over the phone rather than listening and working to resolve our issue. Customer service engagements are a two-way street – it’s as important (if not more) for an agent to sit back and listen intently to a customer and their concerns before suggesting a course of action. While agents are faced with a lot of the same questions day in and day out, customers want to feel catered to and confident that their support representative is hearing their issue and is knowledgeable in the subject matter.

As important as it is for contact centers to look for the right talent, it’s equally as critical that they choose to invest in their employees. It’s easy to get caught up in a routine and look at our jobs as just that – work. But it goes a long way for employees to feel rewarded for going that extra mile and fulfilling duties above their job description. Fun incentive programs are an easy way to not only motivate and build team collaboration, but also make employees feel rewarded for a job well done.

In addition, contact centers should take ownership and look for ways to equip their agents with the necessary tools to fulfill their roles to the best of their ability. Agents are generally happiest when they feel confident that they are supported and given the means to fulfill their roles appropriately.

In summary, call center agents are the heartbeat of any successful contact center. It’s critical for companies to look for qualities in candidates that will likely breed success, but also look internally for ways to motivate employees and make the job as rewarding as possible.