Despite the increasing popularity of digital customer service channels, phone still tops the charts as the most used and preferred method for consumers to reach support teams of companies they engage with. Therefore, call center software industry continues to rapidly grow, with the global call center market expected to reach $481 billion by 2024, according to predictions by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Below is a quick overview of how call center software operates and what it takes to work as a call center agent.
Call routing - also known as an automatic call distributor or ACD - allows the call center software system to automatically route inbound calls to the most appropriate agents for faster and more efficient resolution of a caller’s issue.
IVR allows callers to select from a pre-defined set of options by interacting with the system via keypad entries and/or spoken response, and enabling the system to direct them towards the right agents, a voicemail or a recorded message.
The call recording feature records and saves calls that can be played back later if agents need reference before reaching out to a customer, or whenever managers would like to check on the agent performance, or for call center management training.
Call monitoring allows managers or trainees to listen to ended and stored conversations, in order to monitor agent performance for quality assurance or new agent training purposes.
The feature provides agents with an opportunity to conference in another agents whenever they need quick assistance with the customer’s issue, which enables easy team collaboration and helps to improve agent efficiency.
Predictive dialer automatically calls a number of contacts that are usually picked for specific reasons at the same time before an agent becomes available and connects them to a waiting rep. The feature is typically used by outbound sales teams.
Reporting capabilities allow viewing call center metrics for certain defined time period – these often include inbound/ outbound call volume, missed calls, number of calls per agent, average call duration, abandonment rate, wait times, etc.
Though duties and responsibilities of call center employees may vary across companies and depend on individual assignments, in general, call center agents are supposed to:
Since call center agents are trusted to represent a company while interacting with customers, above everything else, they need to have a deep knowledge of the company’s products, services and policies which should be the foundation of any contact center training. It will enable them to provide quick, accurate and competent responses as well as maintain high FCR rates.
Effective communication is on top of almost any call center skills list, as the agents spend most of their working routine communicating with customers. That includes superior verbal communication skills, active listening, an ability to quickly and effectively get the message across, maintaining a professional communication style, an ability to use positive language and persuasive speaking skills.
To be productive in the workplace, call center agents should be able to effectively keep track of customer requests and issues, and know how to best leverage all the available resources to address them. This makes strong organizational skills – including efficient planning, prioritization, task delegation, the right resource utilization and time-management – critical for call center agents.
Problem-solving is among some of the most crucial customer service call center skills. That means being able to effectively address any issue a customer has with a company’s products or services, as well as handling difficult customer situations. Problem-solving abilities are also connected to a number of other skills such as analytical skills, creative thinking, adaptability and flexibility – all important for call center agents to remain efficient in every interaction.
An integral part of serving customers effectively is understanding their feelings about the situation, which makes empathy – an ability to step in the customer’s shoes - one of the must-have call center skills. A great call center agent must be compassionate and empathetic enough to soothe frustrated customers, and patient enough to guide them successfully in solving their problems.
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