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10  Skills every inbound contact center agent needs

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Inbound call center agents are on the front lines of customer service. They are entrusted with the demanding task of pleasing and appeasing customers. With a myriad number of situations that may arise in a customer service exchange, agents need to be versatile and equipped with a strong skill set to handle the complexity of the job. Here are ten customer service skills agents should master to deliver the very best service.

Patience. Customers may often be frustrated when they first make contact. Patience is an important skill that you need to have. You will need to give customers a chance to explain their situation in full and never react negatively to an unhappy customer. When customers are in need of a technical explanation for an issue, you must have the ability to put customers at ease. This is done by explaining a solution calmly and patiently while remembering that customers do not always possess the technical knowledge needed to resolve an issue.

Quick responses. Responding quickly to customers is a critical part of customer service. You will need to be able to respond quickly to inquiries, and able to switch to another channel if a case needs more attention.

Clear communication. Agents need to strike a balance between giving thorough answers, using a professional vocabulary, and being conversational and approachable all at the same time. Customers need that human touch, and it’s important to make introductions at the outset. However, always remember that they value their time, so conversation should be to the point – and you need to resist the urge to overdo small talk.

Empathy. It may seem dramatic, but empathy is among the most important customer service skills. A frustrated customer definitely needs attention and reassurance, but even satisfied customers need attention.

Knowledge about products and services. One of the most important customer service skills is the ability to learn new things. You will need to understand the products and services offered by the company and also keep track of any updates.

Contact centres are driven by technology so you will be taught how to use computer programmes such as a CRM database.

Positive attitude. No matter how upset a customer might be, you must keep a positive attitude. Using positive language that reflects confidence in finding a solution will reassure a customer and encourage sustained loyalty in the brand.

Attentive listening. If a customer wishes to explain a situation in detail, you need to be willing to listen. Customers may not necessarily accept the solutions you have to offer or may have questions about them. Good listening skills are critical to show respect for customer opinions and to offer them the best eventual solution.

Organization. You must be organized at all times to deliver good customer service. This means being able to navigate efficiently between different windows in a CRM database as well as switching channels when necessary.

Adaptability. One of the most important customer service skills, is adaptability to changing situations. You need to be ready to handle varying customer demands, possible technical issues, switching to other channels, etc. One service interaction may completely differ from another, so you must be ready to go with the flow and adapt as needed.

Willingness to go the extra mile. Customers appreciate great service, but they love a gesture that shows real appreciation for their business. Agents who go the extra mile often win over customers. This might include offering a delivery free of charge to rectify a billing error, connecting to another department or channel for better service, or simply asking all the right questions to give a customer a thorough, exceptional experience.

To be a successful inbound contact centre agent you must continuously learn and refine your skills in order to deliver the best customer experiences.


Source: Adapted from an article by Golriz Golkar 


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