The Art of Effective Communication: Improving Call Center Agent Soft Skills

customer service soft skills

Communication is often deemed the most important soft skill for a call center agent to possess. After all, whether it’s through chats, SMS texts, emails, or phone calls, every customer care agent spends their days interacting with customers, teammates, and managers. Still, while good communication skills are paramount to a successful career as a call center agent, they can also be hard to define. 

Whether you’re a call center agent who wants to improve their skills or a manager looking to help your agents set goals, discover nine essential customer service soft skills to help agents take communication to the next level below:


All call center agents have one important job: resolving customer issues on time. As such, the first of these nine crucial customer service soft skills is clarity. 

All agents must learn to give clear instructions and accurate details. They should always pause to think about their answers before they speak and ensure their words are understandable, measured, and focused. Not only does that help save time — as things won’t need repeating — but it also makes agents more likely to resolve an issue on the first call.


Some customers who contact your call center are frustrated and upset about an issue, and they may want to vent those frustrations to you as they look for assistance. In turn, it can feel as though the agent has to take the blame for issues they didn’t create, but that is where developing customer service soft skills like patience can help. A patient demeanor allows you to listen calmly, work together to uncover and resolve the problem and increase the likelihood that the customer will walk away happy and satisfied.


When a customer calls in with a problem, they expect the agent on the line to treat it as if it were their own, and that means empathizing with them. 

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of someone else. Using it as a skill when talking to customers can help preserve customer relationships and loyalty,  validating customer feelings while finding a solution that suits them, all to show that someone at the company genuinely cares about their opinion.


Even if an agent isn’t typically an outgoing person, it’s important for them to be friendly and happy when talking to customers. Failing to display that sort of positivity can make a customer feel alienated and lead them to believe they are burdening the agent with a request they don’t care about. 

Instead of letting feelings of tiredness or frustration get the best of you, smile when talking to customers. It’s a small effort that can go a long way toward helping you feel better and displaying a winning attitude in your interactions.


Generally speaking, customers only contact agents for a solution to a problem. As such, call center agents need to be independent and critical thinkers who are highly familiar with the products, policies, procedures, and protocols in place across the company and in the call center. Being so helps agents tackle issues quickly and efficiently, which in turn will likely contribute to increased customer satisfaction scores.


All customers are different, and there is rarely such a thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, while policies, processes, and scripts need to be in place to guide the agent, it’s also critical that agents developing call center soft skills know when to deviate from the script to offer a unique solution. 

Learning how to be flexible helps customer service agents build the habit of going above and beyond to meet customer needs. This is something that will surely enhance the company’s reputation.

Active Listening

Although speaking clearly, empathetically, and enthusiastically are all important soft skills for customer service, agents must also know how to practice active listening with every interaction. 

You must be fully present without distractions when on a call and listen to understand, asking open-ended questions and paraphrasing what you hear the customer say to ensure you’re correct.

In the fast-paced call center world, where it feels like multitasking is the norm, active listening can be challenging, but these techniques can pay off when it comes to creating a better overall customer experience.


Organization is about more than just being able to put things in their proper place; it is one of the best customer service skills to have. It is what keeps calls flowing and moving along each day and allows customer inquiries to be answered promptly, and it keeps customers away from the stress of having to continually repeat themselves, which can be frustrating and negatively impact the experience.


Call center agents will always be working with someone else to solve a problem, be it a customer to find a viable solution, supervisors to reach goals, or co-workers to achieve collective success.

With that said, agents must learn how to set their preferences and agenda aside for someone else’s, especially if that person is a customer or the call center manager. Being able to address competing expectations and work toward what’s best for everyone is key.

Building Better Soft Skills Can Help Your Agents and Your Call Center Thrive

Given that being a good call center agent is all about interacting with people, building soft skills for customer service is an important part of thriving and growing in the role. Whether you’re an agent or a manager, make sure you use every daily interaction as an opportunity to train yourself in each of the nine areas listed above. 

The call center culture will likely improve as a result, as can the productivity of your entire team. Along with adherence to best practices, you’ll attain better customer satisfaction and ultimately reach your business goals.

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