Call Center Rep Skills 101

Call Center Rep Skills 101

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According to Zippia, ‘customer service’, ‘communication’, ‘data entry’, ‘telephone calls’, ‘outbound calls’, and ‘other skills’ were six of the most common call center qualifications found on resumes in 2020 – but are those the only call center agent skills hiring managers should be looking for?

Not by a long shot.

Take it from a team that’s been doing it for 30+ years – weeding through resumes for qualified candidates with the right call center skills is no cakewalk. So, if those six call center agent skills are all you’re using to vet applicants, there’s a good chance you’re hiring the wrong individuals.

While as much as 80% of employee turnover stems from bad hiring decisions (Harvard Business Review), hiring managers that understand the customer service call center skills that effective agents possess, stand a much better chance at getting it right.

In this post, we’ll explore the call center job skills agents actually need, what hiring managers should look for, and tips on how you can hire the best candidates, every time.

Essential Call Center Skills

When searching for candidates, it’s important to evaluate both hard and soft call center skills that impact your business.

1. Technical Proficiency

Testing for proficiency is key when it comes to call center software and technology. Your definition of ‘proficient’ may be completely different than your candidate’s, so it’s important that you understand their knowledge and experience before making a hiring decision.

Why It’s Important:
Understanding your candidate’s technical proficiency helps you determine how much or how little training is needed in that area. Accurately assessing their abilities in advance ensures a much smoother onboarding and training process.

2. Communication

While it might seem obvious, clear and effective communication is perhaps the most critical of skills for call centers that agents must possess. Effective agents don’t make the assumption that customers have the same understanding that they do. Instead, they demonstrate empathy, kindness, and patience, along with active listening.

Why It’s Important:
Efficient communication helps both in resolving customer issues and building positive brand awareness. Listening intently and answering clearly helps reduce resolution time and customer frustration.

3. Determination

Let’s be honest: agent life is defined by customer issues which, at times, can be both challenging and stressful. It’s the hiring manager’s job to identify determined candidates who are eager to tackle any challenge that comes their way. Make sure one of your call center interview questions is designed to help you pinpoint resilient and adaptable candidates.

Why It’s Important:
Candidates who demonstrate resilience and view challenges as opportunities are less likely to be discouraged by the uncertain nature of the agent role and will therefore be more successful.

4. Flexibility

Customer expectations change frequently and are rarely predictable. In order to provide the best possible experience, it’s important to source candidates who can adapt quickly and easily retain new information.

Why It’s Important:
Customers expect their needs to be met at all times. If agents struggle with adapting to change or retaining information, it could negatively impact your contact center KPIs like average handle and resolution time, customer satisfaction rate, and more.

5. Bilingualism

For businesses supporting customers in large regions with multiple languages, having bilingual or multilingual agents with language and social skills is a huge asset.

Why It’s Important:
Having bilingual or multilingual support makes your business more perceptive to varying backgrounds, cultures, and languages. Empathetic and efficient communication across multiple languages will help you improve service levels and support more customers.


Call Center Rep Attributes 101

call center rep skills

While most of the call center rep skills above can be evaluated with interview questions and proficiency tests, attributes are personal in nature, which can make them a bit more difficult to assess.

Call Center Skills vs Call Center Attributes

We find it’s easiest to consider skills as short-term, tactical requirements, where attributes are personal qualities that make candidates an ideal fit for your company long-term.

Here’s a list of attributes to look for during the hiring process:

6. Empathy

We all know a script when we hear one – your customers do too. Most agents are interacting with customers who are already frustrated with a problem, where a canned script from an agent who lacks empathy only makes matters worse.

Why It’s Important:
There will always be issues that customers need a human’s help to solve. Every interaction is an opportunity to make customers feel valued and supported. Agents that demonstrate empathy have a more positive impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.

7. Problem Solving

Candidates who go the extra mile with autonomous problem solving and critical thinking are vital for the success of any organization. When coupled with intuition and proactivity, these individuals help your business overcome pain points and sources of friction.

Why It’s Important:
Candidates who can accurately define, evaluate, and solve problems are guaranteed to help more customers in less time, and can also be valuable in helping improve your customer experiences.

8. Procedural

While agent creativity and empathy is important, the right candidates should also be procedure and process-oriented to avoid operational friction.

Why It’s Important:
Look for procedural-oriented candidates to ensure adoption and adherence to vital operational processes like performance metrics, documentation, etc.

Nurture Your Agents’ Call Center Skills

Understanding which calling center skills and attributes foster effective agents is only one part of the puzzle. Hiring managers must also acknowledge and do their part to help prospects grow into the agent role.

Develop a hiring process that includes things like interactive quizzes, gamification, one-on-one, and group coaching sessions, to help identify proficiency and areas of improvement.

By creating a comprehensive hiring process that uses thorough call center interview questions and answers to make informed decisions, hiring managers can save time and resources while reducing attrition and ensuring a more satisfying agent and customer experience.

Are you looking for qualified agents who will help you improve your relationship with customers? Humach combines human agents with conversational AI technologies – that enable exceptional yet cost-effective customer support. Contact us today.

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