Today, with the increasing adoption of remote work, the idea of the “traditional” contact center is rapidly evolving. You, a freshly-minted contact center agent, are able to work from anywhere, logging into your contact center software to help customers wherever they are.
What to expect when you’re working?
Innovative companies are incredibly dynamic (and that’s what makes working for them exciting!), so be prepared to adapt your schedule to match when your respective company typically sees spikes in call volumes or fluctuations in business. You may be asked to work the “typical” 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or be asked to work atypical hours, such as between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., or from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There may even be an option to build your schedule with flexible hours.
No matter how typical or atypical your schedule is, what hasn’t changed is the desire for agents to show up (or in this case, log in) on time. If you can handle this, you’ll be set, as punctuality and flexibility go together as two of the most important qualities of a successful contact center agent.
Rise and shine with a hot cup of performance data
Every contact center agent — seasoned or not — should proactively and regularly seek feedback to understand how they’re performing. While your supervisor will check in with you during regular one-on-one meetings, you may want a more real-time view of your daily performance. This can help you consistently uplevel your skills and shine as a contact center agent.
The most successful agents like to start the day by reviewing metrics reports on their performance. By studying real-time and historical performance data, you can obtain much-needed insights to improve your customer support skills.
Why do customers reach out to a contact center?
Developing an understanding of the common reasons why customers call in can help you set yourself, and your customers, up for success on day one. Here are some of the most common reasons customers contact the company they’re doing business with:
- Billing: Customers who forgot to cancel a service, don’t have enough credit to renew a subscription, want to change their billing address or upgrade to a faster service, and more.
- Products or services: Customers who have a printer that ran out of hard-to-find cartridges, made an incorrect hotel reservation, have questions about appliance warranties, and more.
- Purchasing: Customers who want to ask about a product before purchasing, are responding to a TV ad promoting special one-time pricing, need to explore financing options, and more.
- Shipping: Customers who have questions concerning shipping delays, damaged products during transportation, incorrect orders, returns and exchanges, and more.
- Social interaction: Some customers, frankly, just want to chat or show their dissatisfaction with a product or company. Be prepared to show empathy and calm, especially if it’s clear the caller is inclined to go down the latter path.
Staying on top of your after call work
- Logging the reason the customer reached out
- Describing the outcome of the conversation
- Scheduling follow-up actions and further conversations
Modern contact center software platforms incorporate innovative features that assist agents by automatically completing these tasks.
The amount of time that an agent spends on ACW is known as “wrap-up time” and is included in the total handling time for the call. After completing ACW, you are ready to take another call.
Emails and chats and social, oh my!
As an agent, you should engage with customers on their own terms, responding to them using their preferred communication channels. Don’t shy away from engaging with customers across all major digital messaging platforms and make sure you’re proficient in their use. Be sure to allocate time in your day to support customers via SMS, email, chat, WhatsApp, Facebook and more.
Making meetings count
A cornerstone to being a great agent is consistently meeting with your supervisor who likely brings years of experience to the role and can offer tips, tricks and valuable advice.
Be prepared with questions or materials, such as call scripts to review and write down any action items your manager has given to you.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer to how often you should meet with your supervisor. This will be something you determine in the first few weeks as you progress in your role as a contact center agent. If you need to meet outside of your regular cadence, don’t hesitate to ask.
End the day on a high note with some food for thought
Want to become a customer support grandmaster? Take advantage of training programs and learning platforms that support continued skills development, helping to broaden and refine your abilities. Engaging in online courses and certifications from the comfort of your home is one of the best ways to do so.
Also, remember to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices in the contact center by reading industry-related news articles, blogs and signing up for newsletters.
It takes a certain level of self-discipline to be an at-home contact center agent. Not every conversation is easy, but being organized, self-motivated and maintaining a calm demeanor in all interactions will serve you well.
If you love a challenge and have a passion for helping people, you should look forward to this new journey as a contact center agent.