Most companies nowadays have customer service centres for helping with client queries and issues. Since it isn’t possible for company CEOs and managers to deal with them on such a large scale, these agents represent the company on their behalf. This means your company’s reputation is in the hands of your customer service agents, and if they don’t perform well on a call, the customer will poorly review the company.
Keeping this in mind, it is imperative that all your agents are well trained and skilled in the art of customer satisfaction. To be able to gauge this, here are some important skills that every customer service agent should possess.
Communication is key for customer service agents when it comes to solving client issues and doubts. It is important to listen to the customer and fully understand what their issues are. Understanding their problem will help you solve it and further help not to repeat it.
Agents need to be able to communicate openly and explain company products and policies in an understanding manner. Be empathetic to the customer’s needs instead of being stand-offish and believing that the company is always right. Being attentive will also help in understanding the underlying issues, which the customer may not be outright saying.
To be able to be proactive and solve issues, you can speak a little slower in order to give yourself time to think your next words through. Overall, the customer should leave the conversation feeling that they were heard, understood and helped.
A customer service agent needs to handle a lot in terms of multiple client calls, finding solutions for problems, logging in customer data and issues, etc. This is why being organised is of the essence. Being organised means being able to prioritise the tasks based on their importance and then handling them efficiently without out wasting time or missing out.
Creating a task calendar and sticking to it can greatly help streamline tasks. It will help you plan accordingly and meet your deadlines, without forgetting to complete any task.
Working quickly and efficiently
Due to the multi-tasking nature of the job, customer service agents need to work quickly to be able to efficiently help customers. When on a client call, not only do they need to go through past customer data, deal with issues but also listen attentively to the customer without missing a word. This means being laser focused and fast at navigating through situations.
Understanding of the product/ service
If you yourself don’t understand the product or service you are promoting there is a low chance you’ll be able to explain it to customers. The most important rule of being a good customer service agent is understanding the product inside out and knowing it like the back of your hand. Without this it will be difficult to identify and understand the problems the customer is having, much less solve them.
Proper and thorough training before you start as a customer service agent is necessary. Inputs from experienced agents and important issues faced should be covered. There should also be continual training so that agents can update their knowledge on the products and services regularly.
Patience and positivity
Even if the customer is speaking rudely, it is important to maintain your calm and be patient in order to serve their problems better. Many times, agents face customers who are angry about a broken product they got delivered or bad service they received, but you need to speak to them in a professional and patient manner instead of getting defensive.
Maintain a friendly and positive outlook while trying to understand and solve the customer’s problems. Even if you have to deliver some bad news, tweak your vocabulary in order to make it sound more positive. For instance, if a product the customer is enquiring about is out of stock, tell them it will be restocked in a week instead of outright saying it isn’t available.
Being able to adapt to any situation
Customer service agents speak to a variety of people on a daily basis, which means they need to adapt to different situations. This job is far from a routine one, and agents need to be able to improvise and think quickly on their feet.
While using scripts can be of great help, don’t get in the habit of blindly following them. Use them as a guiding factor and don’t be afraid to improvise if the conversation takes an unexpected turn. Improvisation will also come from a complete understanding of your products and services, so make sure you are always updated with required information.
Desire to learn and improve
Overall, a customer service agent needs to want to improve in order to better solve customer queries. Learning from past mistakes and understanding how to handle them better is the first step to becoming a great customer service agent. Try not to get stuck in the ‘I know everything’ rut and instead try and expand your knowledge and training to serve the customers better.
Every customer service agent matters in the company, and as discussed above, each agent’s actions reflect on the company. Use the above skills to determine whether your customer service agents are up to the mark and fit the bill or not. Make sure to conduct regular training and improve problem solving skills efficiently.