State-of-the-art equipment, 21st century software, and efficient procedures are all integral to the success of your call center. But nothing is more important to a contact center’s success than attracting, retaining, and rewarding your extraordinary sales representatives. They represent and reflect your company.
While there are several intangible elements to what makes an agent exceptional, here are a few characteristics that are easy to recognize across the board:
Attraction to All Aspects of the Job
For a call center agent to be a true superstar, they must be motivated. The call center environment attracts sales-friendly and loquacious individuals. Look for these qualities when hiring agents:
• They have technical knowledge of both the product and the call center system. Being able to handle multiple screens while speaking knowledgeably on a subject is the first key to a great agent.
• They must thrive in an environment that involves close monitoring, coaching, and challenges to break performance records.
• They have a pleasant phone voice and engage the customer in fluid conversation regardless of the personality type on the other side of the line.
• They are able to separate their pride from their professional responsibilities. The ability to keep their cool in a stressful situation is extremely important.
Ability to Stay Focused on Detail
While call centers are exciting places to work and meet new colleagues, exceptional sales representatives are able to accomplish their goals without being easily distracted.
It’s easy to lose focus when explaining a billing option or insurance coverage while overhearing a nearby conversation. Great call center agents are attentive and “in the moment” during a conversation with the customer. They remember that for the customer, this could be the only time they ever communicate with the company, so agents must commit to answering questions as if it were the first time they were explaining them.
Ability to Think Outside the Box
Good call center agents are able to follow procedures, resolve normal issues, and effectively serve most customers. Great agents go a step further. They find novel solutions to unusual problems.
Most agents need time to familiarize themselves with the job before they can go the extra mile with customers. It takes experience to become so familiar with call center software and to gain the confidence to think creatively. As a manager, it’s your challenge to identify agents with potential and to coach them to greatness.
Great Listening Skills
Sales representatives are less impactful when they memorize a script and master your system, but then forget to listen to customers. There are many salespeople who are fluid talkers, but the truly exceptional agents have the ability to connect with customers. The art of communication involves both speaking and listening, with the latter being the far more important of the two.
Ability to Show up to Work on Time
The most articulate, knowledgeable and personable call center agents are worthless if they can’t show up to work on time. A recent survey shows that call center managers value reliability above every other attribute. Call center managers love employees who show up a little early so they’re prepared to go on the phones when their shift begins.
Adherence, or the ability to stick to a schedule, is one of the key metrics by which call center employees are judged. Managers spend a great deal of time planning staffing requirements, which means employees need to be on the phones during times of high call volume.
It might take some time to find a good call center agent, but with a little time and patience, those good agents can become GREAT agents. Once you discover those gems, don’t hesitate to reward them and challenge them to keep them engaged within your organization.
Download the TCPA Compliance Checklist eBook to keep your agents and call center on track with the new TCPA regulations.