5 Tips for Agent Customer Service Success

Master the Art of Effective Call Center Communication

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Some people think working in a call center is easy because they like to talk. But that doesn’t guarantee agent customer service success. Instead, successful agents need to work at it. Yes, this is easier for some than others, but no one is born with the ability to readily realize customer service success.

Here are five tips to pursue to develop agent customer service success:

1. Develop Active Listening Skills: Better customer interaction begins with active listening. This starts by removing distractions and giving yourself entirely to listening. But don’t just focus on the words they say, but also how they voice them, as well as what they might not be telling you.

Then address their concerns—both those stated and those implied.

2. Tap Non-Verbal Communication: Communication has three components: the words said, the tone of voice, and body language. Most communication occurs through body language, which doesn’t come across over the phone—unless it’s a video call. (More on this in a bit.)

That leaves words and tone. But don’t just focus on the words said. Key in on the tone of voice as well, which carries more communication information than the actual words spoken.

To build rapport and empathy requires understanding the emotions and needs of customers. This means going beyond what they say. Doing so helps provide a more personalized and satisfactory customer experience.

3. Employ Effective Communication Techniques: Agents should use appropriate language, tone, and non-verbal cues to convey messages clearly and professionally. Yes, your body language comes across over the phone. People can hear you smile. They can also hear you frown. Both impact the way your words come across and how customers receive your message.

Also, avoid industry jargon and insider shorthand. Use simple language that customers can understand with ease.

4. Aim to Solve Problems and Resolve Conflicts: Equip yourself with problem-solving skills to efficiently handle customer concerns. This means addressing fully the reason for their call. Don’t just do the minimum and assume it’s good enough. Each call should end with the customer having full confidence that you addressed their issue. There should be no need for them to call back.

Sometimes, however, before you can tackle their concern, you’ll first need to address conflict. To master both problem-solving and conflict resolution, take classes, go to seminars, and read books to learn how to better deal with difficult or irate customers, resolve conflicts, and de-escalate tense situations. This brings us to the fifth tip of agent customer service success.

5. Embrace Continuous Training and Feedback: Agent success is not something you learn once. Instead, it’s something you continue to learn. Be open to regular training sessions to further hone your skills. Embrace feedback to improve your communication skills over time. This includes learning from your mistakes and receiving constructive feedback from trainers and coaches.

Summary

Follow these five agent customer service success tips to help you enhance your customer service effectiveness.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Connections Magazine. He’s a passionate wordsmith whose goal is to change the world one word at a time. Learn about his books and read more of his articles at  Peter Lyle DeHaan.