7 Skills Every Agent Needs for Customer Satisfaction

15 min read
Customer-Service

Many companies today have customer service centers that manage client queries, complaints, and other issues. Since company CEOs and managers cannot deal directly with customers on a large scale, a small group represents the company on their behalf. These people are customer service agents who engage with customers via phone, email, social media, and live chat. If agents don't perform well, customers might take their business elsewhere. 

When reviewing your business operations, all your agents must be well-trained and skilled in the art of customer satisfaction. Here are some vital skills that each customer service rep should possess.

1. Communication Skills

Communication is key for customer service agents when resolving client issues. Listening carefully to the customer and fully understanding the customer’s problem helps an agent solve it and prevent the customer from contacting your company again about the same issue.

In addition, agents must communicate openly and clearly explain company products and policies. That means being empathetic to the customer's needs instead of making assumptions or guessing and believing that the company is always right. Attentiveness also helps them understand any underlying issues the customer may not reveal outright. Customer service skills, including effective communication, are paramount in dealing with any problems that involve your company.

To be proactive and resolve complex issues, agents should speak (or type) a little slower than usual, which helps them think about the right words to say to customers. In the end, customers should leave a conversation feeling heard, understood, and helped.

Contact center scripts can help agents achieve this goal. A pre-formatted script guides reps as they communicate with customers over the phone or via live chat and ensure they convey the right words and phrases at the right time. Scripts can also speed up conversations and prevent agents from saying something that might reflect negatively on your company.

Email templates can also be effective for standardizing call center communications. These templates help agents navigate customer conversations and allow them to provide timely advice with pre-formatted messages.

Many times, agents need to go "off-script" when dealing with complex issues. In these scenarios, a CRM system can provide reps with instant access to information about a customer, such as previous interactions with your company. An agent can look up someone's profile on a CRM (like FiveCRM) and better understand their pain points if they have previously communicated with your business. That can prevent the customer from having to explain their issue again, which can improve the customer experience.

2. Being Organized

A customer service agent needs to handle various tasks, such as managing multiple customer interactions, finding solutions to problems, and adding customer data and issues to CRM systems. That's why being organized is of the essence. Being organized means prioritizing contact center tasks based on their importance and handling them efficiently without wasting time or resources. Your customer service team will only function correctly with proper organization.

Creating a task calendar and sticking to it can help streamline tasks. It will help your company plan accordingly and meet deadlines without forgetting to complete any tasks. For example, you can schedule follow-up calls for customer support agents to complete or arrange customer service skills training. Your task calendar will make it easier to visualize upcoming responsibilities in your contact center, improve time management, and allow for clear communication in the workplace.

CRM system can also improve organization in your contact center by chronicling customer issues and managing customer relationships. For example, customer service professionals can access and update information about every person they interact with, allowing you to build a database of all the customer interactions in your workplace.

3. Working Quickly and Efficiently

Due to the many tasks inherent to their jobs, customer service teams need to work quickly to help customers efficiently. When on the phone, for example, agents need to analyze past customer data and use their listening skills to solve problems. That means being laser-focused and fast at navigating situations.

The latest contact center metrics can help agents work more quickly and efficiently. Analytical CRMs like FiveCRM generate data about agent performance, helping your company identify the best-performing team members and those who require additional training. For example, you can discover average call handling times for every customer support team member and determine which agents take too long to resolve customer problems. Long calls can lead to frustrated customers, so tracking this metric will allow you to meet customer expectations and improve customer retention.

Another way to improve speed and efficiency in your contact center is to invest in call routing. This method assigns phone calls to the most qualified agents based on their experience and hard skills. For example, you can route a call from a customer who previously purchased an offering from your company to a representative with advanced product knowledge and experience in upselling. By assigning calls to the agents with the right skill sets, you can leverage your best call center agents and create more happy customers.

4. Understanding of the Product/Service

If agents don't fully understand your company's product or service, they're unlikely to explain it adequately to customers. The most important rule of being a good customer service agent is understanding your product inside and out. Knowing how to explain features, benefits, and unique selling points is equally important, especially during outbound calling scenarios like telemarketing and telesales. Without this product knowledge, it's difficult for agents to identify and understand a customer's problems or requirements.

Some companies might not formally train agents about their offerings. Instead, they may rely on online FAQs and tutorials to inform customers about product features. Doing this is a mistake. All your agents should have a fundamental knowledge of how your product works and what makes it unique. A thorough understanding of your products is one of the most vital customer service skills

Appropriate, rigorous training, therefore, is necessary. Input from experienced agents about product features and selling points can provide new reps with essential knowledge. 

Ongoing training allows agents to update their knowledge of products and services regularly. You can conduct this training in-house or invest in a third-party company to teach your customer service team.

5. Patience and Positivity

Even if a customer is rude, agents must remain calm and patient and maintain a positive attitude. That can help agents solve the problem and improve the customer service experience. Many times, agents face unhappy customers who are angry about a product damaged in the mail or poor service. No matter what the problem is, however, agents must speak professionally and patiently with these customers instead of getting defensive. Agents who can’t deal with criticism will only create more angry customers

Here is some advice to share with your customer service team:

Maintain a friendly and positive outlook while trying to understand and solve the customer's problems. Even if you have to deliver some bad news, tweak your vocabulary to make it sound more positive. For instance, if a product the customer is inquiring about is out of stock, tell them it should be available in a week (if that's realistic), or you'll find out instead of saying you don't know. This positive language can manage customer expectations and relax a tense exchange.

You can always gauge agent performance with an analytical CRM and learn which reps received the best customer service scores from any surveys or feedback you conduct. Rewarding these employees can make them more productive in the future and encourage them to improve their customer service skills in the future.

6. Being Able to Adapt to Any Situation

Adaptability is a must in customer service. Agents speak to a variety of people daily, which means they need to adjust to different situations. This job is far from routine, and agents need to improvise and think quickly on their feet.

As previously mentioned, using scripts can be helpful, especially when dealing with customers over the phone. However, agents shouldn’t get into the habit of blindly following them. Instead, scripts should merely guide agents and allow them to improvise if a conversation takes an unexpected turn. Agents who fully understand your products and services can think quickly and convey the correct information — in the best way — to customers in almost any situation.

Customer service reps should also adapt to periods of low and high call volumes. There might be times, such as during the run-up to the holiday season, when your contact center receives hundreds of phone calls and emails each day. The best agents can handle this pressure and speed up conversations if needed, allowing them to manage all the customers in the queue.

Again, a CRM can prove useful when managing call volume in your contact center. FiveCRM’s analytical tools generate real-time insights into your call operations throughout the year, so you can predict periods of high call volume and adapt accordingly. That might mean hiring additional staff for busy seasons or routing calls to the fastest agents to improve wait times.

FiveCRM can also automatically dial contacts on your outbound marketing lists and reduce wasted time in-between calls. Instead of agents manually typing numbers, the software does all the heavy lifting, helping you adapt to specific call scenarios based on your business requirements.

7. Desire to Learn and Improve

Every customer service rep should want to improve their problem-solving skills to better solve customer queries. Learning from past mistakes and understanding how to handle them is the first step to becoming a great customer service agent. Encourage your team not to get stuck in the "I know everything" rut and expand their knowledge and training to serve your customers better.

There are various ways you can help agents learn and improve:

  • Invest in video training modules that support reps when answering complex customer questions. That can prevent agents from asking for advice from supervisors and slowing down workflows.

  • Help agents develop soft skills such as problem-solving, active listening, attention to detail, and time management skills. These skills will help reps manage customer conversations and further their careers.

  • Teach agents how to upsell and cross-sell products and services to new customers and existing ones. That can improve your bottom line and drive more revenue for your company.

  • Set targets for your team members. You might want to use gamification to make solving customer service queries more competitive and exciting. 

  • Encourage newer agents to shadow more experienced agents in your center. Reps with less experience can learn from those who have been with your company for several years and master new sales techniques and soft skills. 

Final Word

Customer service representatives are on the frontline of your business. These team members deal with complicated queries and solve problems, helping you grow your company. However, each agent’s actions can reflect positively or negatively on your company, so team members must possess critical skills. An efficient, motivated customer service team will improve your business reputation and continue to drive revenue for your stakeholders.

How FiveCRM Can Help With Customer Service

FiveCRM is a CRM system that can help you improve customer service outcomes and manage your team members more effectively. The platform serves as a traditional CRM by collecting customer relationship information such as phone numbers, email addresses, and customer interactions. But it also provides analytical capabilities that track performance and productivity in your contact center.

Here are some of the benefits of FiveCRM for improved customer service. 

  • FiveCRM's performance tools track performance in your organization, helping you identify the best-performing agents and those who need more training. That can improve productivity in your contact center and lead to more successful customer service outcomes.

  • Specialized marketing tools capture lucrative leads in your sales pipelines, helping reps upsell and cross-sell products to customers who contact your center with a query or problem. Use these tools to identify valuable leads and drive sales.

  • FiveCRM comes with unlimited data storage and up to 999 databases, making managing all the data in your contact center easier. Agents will spend less time dealing with data management issues and more time handling customer service queries.  

  • FiveCRM manages callbacks, optimizes workflows, and automates dialing sets, helping agents deal with customer service queries more effectively. The CRM system also improves sales efficiency outcomes for agents specializing in telemarketing, telesales, cold calling, and other outbound marketing techniques. 

  • FiveCRM's lead scoring tool helps outbound agents find lucrative leads interested in your company's offerings. By identifying these leads, reps can move customers through their sales funnels and simultaneously deal with complaints and queries. 

  • Generate insights about performance across different departments in your contact center and use these metrics to motivate customer service employees. 

  • Get customer engagement insights and identify how customers interact with your brand. By knowing the latest customer intelligence, you can improve customer service objectives and improve retention. 

Other FiveCRM features include consolidated reports, marketing automation, previous dialing, power dialing, call routing, advanced security and privacy, call recording, and a native app builder. FiveCRM also lets agents adhere to data governance legislation like GDPR when taking personal details from customers over the phone and via other channels. That can avoid expensive fines for non-compliance with these frameworks. 

FiveCRM suits B2B and B2C contact center environments and can double your call quota. 

FiveCRM is the CRM system that can help improve customer service in your contact center. Email hello@fivecrm.com for a demo or get FiveCRM now

Michael King says...

"I can’t think of a time where a client has requested something that we weren’t able to do with FiveCRM. Unlike most systems, it has a lot of flexibility."

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Managing Director, Senior Response

JANE HUSBANDS SAYS...

“Each client, and each of their campaigns, has its own unique specifications. We essentially needed to set up mini CRMs on one platform to meet those requirements.”

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Operations Director, Team Telemarketing

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