5 Of The Most Important Competencies That Make a Great, Call Center Agent

Call Center Agent

Competencies are forecasts of fortune that are important in the making of a great, call center agent.

They are indicators of a combination of knowledge, skills and attributes that lead to successful calls between agents and customers.  In terms of knowledge, it is important for the agent to have the necessary product knowledge and general, sales knowledge to do the job.  In regards to the skills required of an agent, the agent must be able to use words, phrases, context, etc. in a professional manner to convince each customer that the purchase decision is beneficial to the customer.

Attributes are traits, character, or talent possessed by the call center agent.  So, observing and measuring the knowledge, skills and attributes of each competency of each agent, usually in a scaling measurement, determines the success of each call.

A point system can be used to measure the mastery of specific skills in each competency.  When using a point system, utilize as much objectivity as possible to ensure consistency in your measurements of all of your agents.  Therefore, appropriate coaching can be used to modify the skills within the competencies to achieve the desired results.

What 5 competencies make a great, call center agent?

[step_graphics style=”5″ color=”#93271b”][step style=”5″ text=”1″ headline=”PMA%20(positive%20mental%20attitude)”]%3Cp%3EA%20PMA%20is%20important%20to%20the%20success%20of%20a%20call%20center.%20%20It%20starts%20at%20the%20supervisory%20level%2C%20and%20should%20filter%20all%20the%20way%20down%20to%20the%20custodian.%20%20%20Every%20agent%20is%20wise%20to%20have%20a%20PMA%20every%20day.%20%20Each%20agent%20ought%20to%20be%20energetic%2C%20helpful%2C%20friendly%2C%20motivated%2C%20and%20professional.%20%20It%E2%80%99s%20a%20benefit%20to%20the%20team%2C%20a%20benefit%20to%20the%20customers%20and%20a%20benefit%20to%20oneself.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”2″ headline=”Understanding”]%3Cp%3EBeing%20able%20to%20understand%20the%20wants%20and%20needs%20of%20the%20customer%20is%20an%20important%20competency%20for%20an%20agent.%20%20It%20is%20particularly%20useful%20for%20the%20agent%20to%20be%20empathetic.%20%20When%20an%20agent%20is%20handling%20a%20problem%20for%20a%20customer%2C%20being%20able%20to%20emotionally%20identify%20and%20connect%20with%20the%20customer%20about%20the%20problem%20will%20go%20a%20long%20way%20in%20keeping%20the%20customer%20for%20life.%20%20In%20doing%20so%2C%20even%20if%20the%20agent%20isn%E2%80%99t%20able%20to%20completely%20satisfy%20the%20customer%E2%80%99s%20initial%20complaint%2C%20oftentimes%20the%20customer%20is%20satisfied%20with%20the%20effort%20made%20by%20the%20agent.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”3″ headline=”Listening”]%3Cp%3EDeveloping%20active%20listening%20skills%20is%20crucial%20to%20the%20success%20of%20an%20agent.%20%20Active%20listening%20skills%20involve%20being%20able%20to%20hear%20what%20is%20stated%20or%20asked%20by%20being%20present.%20%20Being%20present%20means%20that%20the%20agent%20is%20not%20preoccupied%20with%20another%20thought.%20%20The%20agent%20is%20attentive%20and%20alert%2C%20listening%20to%20the%20details%20of%20words%20and%20tone%20over%20the%20phone%20to%20maximize%20understanding%20of%20the%20customer%E2%80%99s%20call.%20%20The%20agent%20is%20listening%20not%20only%20to%20what%20is%20being%20stated%2C%20but%20also%20to%20what%20isn’t%20being%20stated.%20%20What%20that%20means%20is%20the%20agent%20is%20using%20intuition%20to%20hear%20the%20customer%E2%80%99s%20cadence%20of%20word%20usage%20and%20understand%20the%20desires%20of%20the%20customer.%20%20Also%2C%20the%20call%20center%20agent%20is%20reflecting%20and%2For%20questioning%20to%20clarify%20any%20uncertainty%20in%20understanding%20the%20request%20of%20the%20customer.%20%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”4″ headline=”Communication”]%3Cp%3EIn%20order%20for%20an%20agent%20to%20communicate%20effectively%2C%20s%2Fhe%20must%20be%20able%20to%20convey%20ideas%20and%20information%20in%20the%20call%20center.%20%20The%20agent%20also%20will%20have%20an%20excellent%20grasp%20on%20how%20to%20express%20the%20ideas%20and%20information%20in%20a%20manner%20that%20is%20professional%20and%20understandable%2C%20giving%20feedback%20to%20enhance%20understanding%20as%20necessary.%20%20Underscoring%20each%20agent%E2%80%99s%20command%20of%20the%20native%20language%20is%20helpful%20to%20assess.%20%20An%20agent%E2%80%99s%20ability%20to%20use%20words%20to%20communicate%20accurately%2C%20efficiently%2C%20and%20effectively%20will%20lead%20to%20more%20sales%20and%20higher%20profits%20if%20trained%20and%20managed%20well.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][step style=”5″ text=”5″ headline=”Flexibility”]%3Cp%3EThere%20is%20a%20saying%2C%20%E2%80%9Cbend%20the%20rules%2C%E2%80%9D%20that%20applies%20to%20an%20agent%E2%80%99s%20flexibility%20when%20dealing%20with%20a%20customer.%20%20By%20being%20flexible%2C%20an%20agent%20is%20able%20to%20balance%20the%20needs%20of%20the%20customer%20with%20the%20goals%20of%20the%20call%20center.%20%20Sometimes%2C%20the%20agenda%20of%20the%20customer%20is%20not%20the%20agenda%20of%20the%20call%20center.%20%20So%2C%20it%20is%20important%20for%20the%20agent%20to%20maintain%20objectivity%20by%20demonstrating%20flexibility%20to%20conform%20to%20call%20center%20protocols%20while%20providing%20excellent%20customer%20service%2C%20especially%20to%20challenging%20customers.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A[/step][/step_graphics]

Other competencies to be considered are attentiveness, confidence, consistency, problem solving, speed, stress tolerance, teamwork and telephone/technology mastery.  This list is not an exhaustive list; there are other competencies that are relevant.  When it’s time to consider the most important competencies that make a great, call center agent, will this list of 5 compare to your list?

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To your success,

Greg Meares

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About the Author: Greg Meares

As a Sr. Consultant for Performance Connections, Inc., Greg's primary objective is to provide value to organizations that are focused on raising brand awareness. Additionally Greg works on improving the customer experience, through business process re-engineering, and call center best practices. Greg is an industry expert and is often called upon to provide his analysis and solution oriented approach to improving performance in the BPO and Call Center industry.

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