Working in a call centre or contact center requires discipline and good communication skills. As a customer service representative, you will need to respond to complaints and questions about your business. A call centre is quite a hectic work environment, so the better you refine your skills, the better you will cope.
Work on your computer skills.
Take a course if necessary, either online or maybe at a VHS. Practice typing and navigation on the computer and learn to type as you speak.
- Call center agents need to be able to react quickly and identify important information.
- If you are generally familiar with computer navigation, you will also learn how to use new software more quickly.
- There are free programs and video tutorials that can help you polish up your computer skills.
Be on time.
Best come a little early every day. Plan enough time to get to work so you still have time to tune in to work when you arrive. Take your breaks when they are scheduled.
- In most call centers, you need to log into the system before you can start.
- Listen to traffic radio before you set off. If there are problems on your route, you have to leave earlier.
Learn from your supervisor.
Ask them for advice on how best to master certain situations and improve yourself overall. If possible, talk to them during breaks when they seem too busy during working hours, or try to catch them just before or after work.
- Your supervisor probably also started at some point in your job. So he knows your position inside out and knows how hard it can be sometimes.
Stay up to date about your company.
Memorize as much information about your company as possible and check your intranet and website regularly. Don’t neglect your e-mail box either, because important internal memos are sent there from time to time.
- You should know all the details about the products and services your company sells.
- Self-confident call center agents are usually more successful at their job.
Keep a positive attitude.
Do your job with enthusiasm. Come to work optimistically every day and remember to maintain that optimism even in difficult situations. Have at least one yellow item on your table, if you may, and carry small positive sayings with you – for example, write them on small pieces of paper and put them in your wallet or stick them on your table as post-it items.
- The yellow colour has been proven to create a psychologically optimistic mood.
- Just use yellow Post-Its, pens or paperclips.
- An example of a good saying is: “I can consciously control how I want to feel and I choose to stay optimistic.
Further develop your communication skills.
Speak slowly and clearly. Think briefly about what you want to say before you actually say it. Remember that conversations could be monitored or recorded.
- If English is not your native language and clients sometimes have difficulty understanding you, consider a language course. You can do this either at a VHS, for example, or online. Some online courses are even free.
Stay friendly at all times and never become negative, condescending or argumentative, no matter what the customer says to you. Stick to the formal tone and keep a friendly tone in your voice.
- Say things like “please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome” and “I’m sorry to hear that”.
Go ahead and deal with angry customers.
Never take statements from customers personally and don’t tell them to calm down. Such customers first and foremost need empathy and a solution to their problem. Take a minute after the phone call and breathe a sigh of relief if you can, put your smile back on and dedicate yourself to the next caller.
- One of the most important qualities of a good call center agent is to stay calm even under pressure.
- Use for example “We appreciate your feedback”, “I will do my best to help you” and similar phrases and use the customer’s name as often as possible.
- For the customer, you represent the company on the phone and he equates you with the company. Someone who is angry with your employer will not always treat you respectfully.
Avoid excessive conversations.
Ask questions that the customer only has to answer with yes or no and quickly bring the conversation back to the actual topic when it drifts away. Avoid personal topics or comments about the weather, unless you need to gain time because something needs to load into your system.
- If you’re off work and a call isn’t ready, say, “That sounds like a case for my colleague.”
Make a good impression.
Pay attention to details and don’t think that you know the customer’s problem before he tells you. Don’t hang up until the customer is as satisfied as you can make him at that moment.
- Many callers complain that call center agents do not properly address their problems and sometimes give inappropriate answers.
- Show the customer that you have understood their concerns by summarising them briefly.
Pass the call on if necessary.
Find out which calls you should forward to your supervisor or manager. Ask your supervisor under what conditions you should forward a call to whom. If you can’t solve a customer’s problem, you should admit that and inform the customer friendly that you will put him through to a colleague.
- For example, if a customer explicitly requests a refund and you are not allowed to arrange it, you must pass it on to a supervisor.
- Instead of saying “I’m not responsible for this” you should always formulate it positively and say “[colleague or department] will be happy to help you”.