3 Training Tips for Contact Center Agents

Guest Post by Joanna Jones of MHI Global Customers calling into your call center are likely doing so because they are unable to sort out a problem on their own, they require technical assistance or assistance is required to complete a transaction. No matter the reason they're calling, when they do connect with an agent they expect representatives to be courteous, professional, and knowledgeable and provide quick resolution to their issue. Agent training often targets product knowledge, efficiency and customer service basics, but these skills are can either be hurt or helped, depending on the CRM software your organization is using. Delivering excellent customer service means agents need quick access to customer history, billing and shipping information, and current service and product information. Staying ahead of the curve in today's competitive marketplace requires agents to refresh their skills. Here are three training tips to ensure the best customer service experiences are created. 1. Knowledge. Customers are often armed with a lot of product knowledge and awareness, so when they contact your company, they expect representatives to have expert knowledge and training. Training should be ongoing so your agents are providing the most current advice and help. 2. Courteous. Agents are often under pressure to quickly resolve a customer issue on first contact. While many customers appreciate agent efficiency, they don't appreciate agents who are curt or robotic. Manners still matter. Training agents how to be efficient and courteous is a skill that requires a lot of practice so that it becomes second nature. Agents should be trained in appropriate uses of scripted and unscripted responses so that conversations feel more natural, rather than forced. 3. Intuitive Software. If your customers are sitting on hold while your agent figures out how to navigate your CRM software, then you have a problem. Agents need to know the roles and functions of different departments so they know where to send a customer if the problem or issue is beyond the ability of the agent. CRM software should track the customer's history so that any department can access the same information and not require the customer to repeat himself every time he gets transferred. As with any training program, it needs to be relevant, easy to understand, and appropriate for different types of learners. Contact center agents are under a lot of pressure and their jobs are stressful which is why ongoing training pays off. When agents are confident in their skills they experience more job satisfaction, which often leads to better customer experiences.

Joanna Jones is a professional copywriter and marketing strategist who has partnered with MHI Global for five years. As a marketing professional, Joanna works closely with customer service teams and helps companies improve their B2B and B2C communications and strategy. joanna@jonesandquinn.com

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