8 Must-Have Skills to Work in a Call Center

Two people working in a call center

8 Must-Have Skills to Work in a Call Center

Working in the customer service industry can be challenging, but it can be rewarding, too. Still, there’s a stigma surrounding customer service jobs, suggesting it’s “low effort” or just something to do before getting a “real job.” That’s simply not the case.

While many people do use their customer service jobs as a launchpad into other career opportunities, some stick around for the long term. There are several vital skills a call center agent should have that take time to master.

Let’s consider eight of the most essential skills to work in a call center.

1. Accountability

Accountability means you do what you say you’ll do. You take responsibility for your actions, and you don’t hide behind other people when consequences are unsavory.

This quality is crucial in the customer service world. Suppose an interaction with a customer goes south. In that case, a customer service agent must quickly identify what went wrong and recognize where they could have acted differently to produce a better outcome.

Accountability is important for knowing who’s responsible, but it helps the call center and the agent know how to improve at their job.

2. Listening to Understand (Not Just Respond)

Call center agents have to listen a lot. But there are many different ways to listen: 

  • Informational listening: Listening to gather and retain information
  • Tonal listening: Listening to understand voice inflection and verbal cues
  • Selective listening: Listening only for the specific details you need to hear
  • Emotional listening: Listening to understand and sympathize with someone
  • Comprehensive listening: Listening to analyze words and understand the intended message

Too many customer service agents only listen up to the point where they can think of a response and then miss out on a lot of information. A quality customer service agent must listen to better understand the situation and respond more easily.

3. Asking the Right Questions

People who call customer service want to be heard, and customer service representatives must ask questions that go beyond simple troubleshooting. They should ask questions that pertain to the caller’s emotions and specific situation.

Reflecting is a great tactic to achieve this and involves paraphrasing what the caller has just said. This shows that you’re listening to and trying to understand their point of view. If you do it well enough, the caller will likely expand on their issue, which helps them feel heard and helps the agent find a solution to their problem.

4. Empathy and Compassion

Customer service is inherently empathetic; it’s an entire industry based on listening to other people’s problems and finding a solution for them.

Some may find that empathizing is difficult, but there are simple steps you can take to achieve the skill. To build empathy during a call, listen, ask questions, and propose solutions. If you listened well and asked the right follow-up questions, you can quickly determine what that person is feeling.

5. Organization

Service agents may have to balance multiple calls at the same time. They must know how to organize several tasks at once.

While many digital solutions help agents become more efficient, they’re not enough to compensate for the unorganized. They will, however, help organized agents improve.

6. Patience

Agents deal with a lot of emotional callers. It requires a lot of patience to sift through those emotions and find the heart of the problem. Take a lot of deep breaths with the caller on hold. Be prepared to repeat a lot of questions and answers. 

7. Computer Proficiency

Computer proficiency is a must for almost every job these days, and customer service is no exception. Agents need to navigate different interfaces and search for the products their customers are calling about.

8. Having a Purpose

Agents should know why they’re here. Is it to raise money for school, or do they want to continue down this career path? Knowing why this job is essential will make an agent more engaged and produce better results.

Become an Elite Customer Service Representative

Have you mastered these eight call center agent skills already? If so, then you have what it takes to be part of a call center that cares about its employees as much as its customers. Contact Clearsource BPO today to find out how to start your career in customer service.