9 Tips to Become a Better Call Center Agent

A man in a dress shirt working in a call center

Working in the call center industry can be challenging — there’s no getting around that fact. Keeping up with performance standards while serving customers with a cheerful demeanor makes for more than just a bit of a balancing act. Nevertheless, many people go on to have long, successful, and rewarding careers as call center agents, showing that the balance can indeed be achieved.

Those who have worked in a call center for any amount of time understand there are specific behaviors and attitudes that not only help agents do their best but also turn an everyday call center job into an inspiring and delightful profession. Read on to learn why improving your skills with call center agent best practices is essential, and discover nine call center tips that will make the job far more enjoyable.

Why Strive to Improve Your Call Center Skills?

Today, call center agent empowerment is crucial. As an agent, you must comprehend that you are the puzzle piece that completes the picture for your brand. A customer’s interaction with you will determine whether they continue to buy from and do further business with the company.

With $62 billion lost to poor customer service each year, your everyday interactions drive brand loyalty. Without putting your performance-driven skills to work in meeting customer expectations, many companies would find it hard to increase revenue. In that way, call center agents committed to honing their techniques provide immense value for the brands they serve. 

9 Helpful Tips for Call Center Agent Best Practices

If you currently work in a call center, you may wonder how to improve your skills and meet your set standards. Fortunately, you can follow plenty of proven strategies to build your confidence and forge exceptional customer experiences. 

With that being said, check out these nine call center customer service tips to help you grow and flourish even as you serve others:

1. Prioritize Tasks

Every call center agent knows there’s more to the job than being on the phone all day. They often need to brush up on their training, take care of customer callbacks, familiarize themselves with new products or services, or even help provide professional development for newer agents.

The key to thriving in a call center, therefore, is to prioritize these tasks in order of importance. Anything included in your standard operating procedures should be completed first, with everything else done according to what is most urgent. 

2. Understand Customer Expectations

Customer expectations of call center agents often depend heavily on what the brand has already conditioned them to expect. Most, if not all, brands promise timely, personalized service that focuses on answering questions or solving problems efficiently and effectively, for instance.

As such, you both must understand and prepare to meet these standards and to accomplish that, you must familiarize yourself with policies and procedures to have a working knowledge of the brand’s products and services. It’s also important to know where to go for help when you can’t find the answer you’re looking for.

3. Prepare Yourself for Calls

This is one of our most important call center agent best practices. Preparing for calls is essential to keeping yourself calm and collected during customer interactions. Although you won’t know the customer’s specific problem until you speak with them, you can do a few things to ensure you’re ready to help. Get to know your communication tools and applications, read the knowledge base to enhance your product knowledge, and create a calling script, the latter of which can be especially helpful during callbacks.

4. Develop Effective Communication Skills

A call center agent’s career revolves around displaying effective communication skills to solve customer problems. If your communication skills are off, customers may perceive their interactions with you as unfavorable, which may affect the brand.

As such, always employ the following call center best practices regarding your speech, language, and tone:

  • Don’t overpromise something you cannot deliver, as doing so frustrates customers
  • Speak calmly so customers don’t interpret your tone as hostile
  • Restate the issue so customers know you’ve heard and understood them
  • Be patient with customers, especially those who are extremely upset
  • Put callers on hold when you need to search or ask for additional information

It’s much easier to accomplish your mission as a call center agent when you can communicate clearly and calmly.

5. Learn How to Focus During Calls

When you speak with a customer, they often expect your undivided attention. Therefore, one of the most valuable tips for working in a call center is to avoid multitasking, especially when you’re on the phone. Focus on what the customer says so you don’t miss any critical details, and if it helps, take notes so you don’t forget to include anything in your post-call summary.

6. Analyze Your Customer Calls

It’s natural to always want to be better at what you do, so as a call center agent, take the opportunity to learn from your past calls. If your facility makes prior recordings available to agents, take some time to listen to a few of your calls each week to identify areas that need improvement. Then, work with your manager to set call metrics that serve as personal performance goals for the following week.

7. Always Ask for Help When You Need It

Of course, no call center agent is perfect. With so much to take in and with each customer presenting unique issues, there is no way for you to know everything or be prepared for all possible scenarios. With that in mind, it’s crucial to take the pressure of always being correct off of yourself and know it’s okay to ask for help when you’re struggling or unsure.

In a healthy call center environment, your supervisors, leadership team, and colleagues will all stand ready to help you solve problems. If you make a mistake along the way, admit it and seek feedback to learn and grow from it.

8. Use Physical Habits to Change Your Mood

Just as mistakes happen, experiencing a range of emotions is normal when working in a call center as well. You may feel worried, tired, or frustrated as the day passes, but you must remain calm and professional with each of your customers. 

If you find yourself emotionally overwhelmed, try smiling while talking, which has been proven to lift moods and lower stress. You can also try getting up and walking around a bit, as exercise reduces stress and releases endorphins.

9. Don’t Forget Self-Care

One of the very best customer service tips for call centers has very little to do with the customer. Call center agents must take breaks from taking care of customers and focus on caring for themselves.

A few ways you can promote your self-care are as follows:

  • Personalize your workspace with items that inspire you
  • Stretch, do breathing exercises, and periodically get some fresh air
  • Nourish yourself by drinking enough water and never skipping lunch
  • Take time between calls or on breaks to quiet your mind and meditate 
  • Relax when you get home and avoid work talk outside of the call center

When you take time to care for yourself, you can better help the customers you serve. 

It’s All About Helping Customers Thrive

Call center agents serve as business owners’ most crucial industry-reputation-building tools. As customer expectations continue to grow, agents will be an undeniable force that connects customers with the brands they love and keeps their interests at the forefront of that relationship.

When you dedicate yourself to getting better at what you do, you are not the only one who benefits from call center agent best practices. Your analysis, empathy, and communication skills not only make customers feel valued but also help them make better buying decisions and get the most out of their products and services.

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