As the article title suggests, this short read is about the top 10 soft skills for call centers. You might think enough! It’s such an overdone topic, and it surely is. But we are here to refresh your memory on that and add some personal touch to the popular subject.
What are soft skills?
These are fluffy mushy jingles that keep the world of customer service successfully moving towards their goals, satisfactory performance, and even KPIs. Okay, let’s be a little more serious and have a look at the adult definition of soft skills:
'Soft skills are people's abilities to communicate with each other and work well together' - Cambridge Dictionary
But if we dig deeper, soft skills are there for you when difficult customer issues take place, especially those that cannot be easily resolved. When a development team needs a few days to debug the glitches in the system, when the analysts take their time to find the data gap, or when the marketing team’s promo code is not working. We’ve all been there. And the skills that save you in such situations are compassion, active listening, clear communication, and more.
We’ve interviewed more than 50 customer support managers and supervisors and selected the top 10 crucial call center soft skills that you definitely should look for if recruiting or training call center agents.
1. Good communication skills: it’s not only the ability to speak and listen effectively, but it’s also a skill to provide free from ambiguity or misunderstanding information. If agents and customers can't understand each other, it'll be difficult to get any issues solved.
2. Patience, also often called self-control: dealing with dissatisfied and frustrated customers can be challenging, and it requires a great deal of patience. It is also important in the call center industry because of the high volume of calls that agents receive on a daily basis. Agents can become easily impatient with customers if they are constantly on the phone and dealing with tough inquiries.
3. Empathy, meaning being able to understand and share the feelings of other people. If agents can empathize with customers, they can provide higher-quality support and de-escalate complicated client requests. Additionally, empathy can help to build strong relationships between agents and customers, which can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth.
4. Problem-Solving Skills that involve using both logical and creative thinking to find the best possible solution to a problem quickly, which is a must skill in any customer support situation.
5. Self-assuredness and confidence to successfully resolve customer issues, an agent has to take control over the situation and make customers believe and trust them. It’s vital to stay calm while talking to a client in a firm, confident tone; don’t be afraid to ask direct and clear questions. This way, you can convey confidence without being aggressive and help customers faster and in a more effective way.
6. Stress Management Skills are important for call center employees. They need to be able to effectively manage their own stress levels in order to remain calm and professional while dealing with customers.
7. Time management is probably crucial for all types of businesses, but the contact center environment is a difficult one to control or predict. The amount of calls and chats varies from day to day or even from hour to hour; the unexpected technical issue or system glitches can significantly increase the flow of requests. So being able to manage your time and prioritize tasks is essential in a call center environment.
8. Being flexible: the skill to adapt to changes is necessary for fast-paced environments with irregular workloads such as call centers. When your agents can adapt to changes in the customer's needs and expectations, as well as the call center's own procedures, a call with a happy end is assured.
9. Positivity: customers who have positive interactions with call center employees would be more likely to continue doing business with the company. Creating a positive environment in the call center can be challenging, but it's important to remember that employees are the face of the company. If they're unhappy, it will reflect in their interactions with customers.
10. Sense of Humour, which is not just about making the customer laugh, although that's certainly a bonus. A good sense of humor can help diffuse tense situations, build trust, and generally make the clients’ experience more pleasant for everyone involved.
These are just a few of the important soft skills for call center agents. If your agents have these skills, they'll be well-equipped to handle whatever challenges come their way.
And of course, soft skills do not guarantee 100% customer satisfaction; these are just links in the customer experience chain. There are many other components that a company should take into account: product development & management, intercommunication between the departments; general work conditions, and we’d definitely talk about those later. So don’t forget to subscribe.