It was generally considered that call center agent is the man who processes customer calls – until today. The modern era of digital technologies has modified the call center agent job nature and today agent is the main mediator between you and your customers. This also means that agent is the person who sells your goods too. Agent’s performance also influences customer loyalty, so it is vital to hire agents responsibly.
Agent has to be polite, competent, and build trust between customer and company.
What companies open call centers and hire agents?
Confirming purchases, delivery confirmation, consulting services and offering the most fitting goods – this is the smaller part of agent responsibilities in e-commerce business. It is essential to provide agents with thoughtfully constructed call scripts for overcoming objections and convincing customers to buy goods.
Companies with big customer bases
Companies, which have huge volumes of customer requests, lose a part of potential customers because of inability to handle all requests. Call center is a great tool to deal with this issue – it can automate many routine tasks, provide self-service options and let agents work with important tasks only.
Call center is a must-have for any bank. For qualitative processing of all customer inqueries, agents have to be provided with actual info about all clients during each conversation. Call center software can integrate all your business tools, including CRM software and payment systems.
Patient registration, appointment reminders, feedback collection and many other inquiries regarding cost and availability of services. The clinic administrator will definitely not be able to cope with such a flow, because it is important for him to meet visitors and guide them to a specialist. Modern clinics simply cannot do without a call center.
Customer support departments
The functionality of solutions for call centers will help agents of support services to quickly respond to requests, distribute calls taking into account the competence of employees, transfer customers to the right department or specialist. Inquiries at night can be forwarded to departments with a 24-hour work schedule or outsourced.
Outsourced call centers
Outsourced call center agents have to must have good diction, be confident and quickly find a way out of non-standard situations. This is because they often work with absolutely dissimilar projects, which means handling different types of calls.
It doesn’t matter what niche is call center servicing – there are generally accepted requirements to candidates for agent positions.
Requirements for a call center agent
- Good diction and pleasant tone of voice – customers respond better to clear answers when they understand the operator from the first time and there is no need to repeat or question what was said. A low tone of voice is better perceived by the ear and evokes more trust in the interlocutor than a high or sonorous voice.
- Literacy, knowledge of the language and etiquette of communication – your candidate must have a literary language without an accent, not use words that are parasites in communication, be polite and attentive to the interlocutor.
- Communicability – such an operator can find an approach to each client, logically builds a conversation without deviating from the main topic, gives clear and clear answers.
- The ability to control emotions, stress resistance – the employee must remain calm and polite in any situation, not raise his voice at the interlocutor, try to help and resolve the conflict in a stressful situation.
- Intelligence is the ability to quickly find a way out of difficult and unpredictable situations, to offer several options for solving a problem.
Also, applicants for this position must know PC and be able to quickly make decisions in non-standard situations. In some cases, knowledge of foreign languages and fast typing may be additional requirements.
The functional duties of a call center operator directly depend on the direction of the company’s activity. Sometimes job duties may include only one task. For example, it can be only the provision of advisory and reference services to subscribers on the incoming line, or only making outgoing calls for the purpose of collecting information. In some companies, the function of the call center includes several different tasks, where operators can be distributed among them, or perform them in parallel. The duties of a call center operator, especially if it is an outsourced call center, often depend on the project(s) they are working on and can change almost daily.
The duties of a call center operator are clearly regulated by certain instructions and regulations, and there are rules and privacy policies that are created depending on the company’s line of business. At the workplace, the operator is strictly prohibited from talking on a mobile phone, consuming food and drinks. For this, a separate area or room for staff rest and fixed breaks in the work of each operator should be provided. In other cases, when a situation arises that the operator needs to be away from the workplace, he must first obtain permission from his supervisor. Depending on the organizational structure, this can be a senior shift operator or a supervisor.
The main duties of a call center operator
- Receiving incoming calls
- Consulting support
- Hotline service – dealing with complaints and requests
- Providing clients with information about the company: services, promotions, tariffs, etc.
- Outgoing information calls
- Conducting telephone sales and customer base
In recent years, almost all call centers have increased the number of communication channels with their customers. Therefore, in addition to the main duties of working with telephone calls, the call center operator also performs the following list of duties:
- Processing of requests by e-mail
- Processing of requests via web chats
- Processing requests in social networks and messengers (Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram)
If a situation arises when the call center operator cannot solve the client’s problem or provide the information he needs, he is obliged to redirect such a call (or request) to a more competent employee.
Applicants who already have experience working in a contact center will be the most valuable for this position. They get involved in the process faster, solve non-standard situations more easily. When hiring newcomers, factors such as a longer training process and possible turnover at the initial stage should be taken into account.
Over the past decade, large-scale automation of processes has taken place in all industries. It did not bypass the sphere of call centers. But as research shows, it is still impossible to replace a person in most processes and it is unlikely that it will ever be possible. Therefore, the operator’s profession will be in demand for a long time.
Prospects for the profession of a call center agent
Communication and negotiation skills
Agents can learn all subtleties of proper communication with the help of call scripts. Agents have to know how to listen to customer, find the personal approach to all clients, convince clients, and deal with conflicts. Additionally, agents have to work with active sales and overcome objections. All these skills are necessary for agent work, and for any other jobs too.
A call center operator can easily combine work in a call center with training or another type of activity, because there is an opportunity to flexibly plan your work schedule, devote several hours a day to work. Work on night shifts, weekends or holidays is paid at double rates. If the operator shows good performance results, bonuses and various pleasant rewards are necessarily added to the bet.
Agents are considered to have poor career opportunities, but it is not true. High turnover and complex organizational structure can help agents in achieving their career goals. It often takes a short time for agent to become a supervisor. The most skillful agents can become sales managers or quality assurance managers, become coaches for new agents or work as HR managers.
Agent job has some advantages. Firstly, it doesn’t require any experience. Secondly, it helps to gain a few vital soft skills. Thirdly, these soft skills and experience are relevant for any future job. Finally, agents can become supervisors or call center managers even faster than after a year of work, and that’s unique situation for any other industries.