While recent years have seen a steady reversal of the overseas outsourcing of call center work, companies still face the same basic quandary. How do they hire the right kind of person for call center work? It’s an innately stressful job with widespread burnout and massive turnover as the norm. So, what important qualities should every call center agent have that will allow them to perform well and not quit after six months?
A solid call center agent needs to be efficient with each call. That means they ask the right questions to pin down the exact product or service, as well as the exact problem. It also means they understand the limits of their capacity to help. Good call center agents escalate the problem as soon as they reach the limits of their authority.
Takeaway: Efficiency is crucial, but it’s partially a learned skill. Each job has best practices that improve efficiency and it takes time to integrate them into routine practice.
It’s a sad truth that most people who call customer service aren’t calling to shower praise on the company. In fact, they’re likely calling because something has gone wrong with either a product or service. That means the customer is already frustrated or angry. If they customer sat on hold for a long time, which increasingly means more than a few minutes, they can prove downright hostile.
A good call center agent must remain calm in the face of frustration, anger, and even vitriol. The agent’s ability to weather strong emotions and deliver a solution can often mean the difference between a loyal customer and a lost customer.
Takeaway: Screen applicants for calm and ask prior employers is the person is steady under pressure.
A Good Memory
Granted, nobody starts out on day one knowing everything about every product or service your company offers. Call center agents who excel, however, are the ones who quickly memorize all the information about your most popular products or services. This lets them address customer questions faster, which improves efficiency and helps keep customers happy.
Takeaway: You don’t want already impatient customers growing even more impatient while your call center reps look up core information.
Making Good Picks
Nothing will ever cure the turnover rate in call centers entirely because stress wears people out. You can, however, slow your turnover rate and deliver better customer service by screening for the right traits. You want candidates who stay on an even keel, even under pressure. They should possess reasonably good memories for memorizing product and service information. They should show some aptitude for efficiency. Call center agents with this combo of traits should last longer and do better.
Struggling to keep your call center fully staffed with the right kind of agents? Contact Joynus and let us help you screen for the right kind of candidates.