As a skill-based job, call center agents should be highly skilled in different aspects.
In addition to handling customers and solving their problems, they face other challenges, such as dealing with new technologies, managing their time effectively, and handling many tasks in short periods.
Such everyday challenges need many skills that enable agents to deal with them. This contact center assessment guide will cover all these skills and their assessment methods. Let’s have a look!
What Skills A Call Center Agent Must Have?
Patience skill is one of the most vital skills that call center assessment should include. It is a crucial skill in many situations, such as:
Conducting tasks with customers:
For instance, some problems need the customer to conduct steps from his device to solve the problem. In this case, the agent must help the customer step-by-step.
However, not all customers will understand the instructions or follow them quickly. The agents have to repeat what they said many times and even explain why they should do that.
Getting involved in an argument with customers:
In some cases, customers may suspect what agents say and may even tell them that they don’t understand anything! In such cases, agents should be patient and control themselves, trying to explain the solution in different simple ways.
Not all customers can grasp the technical side of the service they use. They enjoy the benefit of the service without any deep knowledge about it.
Thus, call center agents should understand that not all people have high cognitive abilities. That will make them empathize with customers and help them willingly.
In addition, team leaders and center managers should empathize with agents, considering the stress they face with many customers to solve their problems.
3) Being Proactive:
Proactivity means taking the initiative to do things before someone asks you or doing all tasks without follow-up and reminders.
The call center agents have to deal with many customers, so their managers can't keep telling them what to do with each customer. This will negatively affect the overall performance of the team.
So, the agents have to deal with each customer on their own. And this means that proactivity alone isn’t enough; it also needs:
Responsible agents don't need regular reminders of what they should do. They will keep in mind to track all tickets to closure, believing that it's their duty to meet.
They feel they are responsible for their company’s reputation among customers and even may voluntarily provide their managers with suggestions for improvements.
How often do you find yourself the decision-maker in a situation? That may happen when a standard solution for a customer’s problem doesn’t work, so agents must try another solution.
In the call center, this happens every day as agents need to invent a new ways to solve some problems. In addition to prioritizing which queries are urgent or non-urgent.
That’s why call center assessment should test the candidates’ proactiveness and ability to make the right decisions.
6) Good Memory
Customers don’t like to repeat what they said and explain their problems in every call.They need agents to memorize their problems and proceed to solve them, and don’t start from the very beginning after each call.
In contrast, when they find agents who know their problems in detail, this gives them more trust in the company and turns them into loyal customers.
Dealing with people in any situation requires knowing what they speak about and the latest trends. Similarly, call center agents always communicate with customers, discussing the benefits of a product or service and its problems.
That’s why agents should have adequate information about their company's product or service.
Moreover, when a customer speaks about another product of the same kind, agents should be aware of the benefits and problems of that product.
Accordingly, they should also be aware of competitors’ products or services and their latest updates and offers. Also, they need to be aware of their company’s unique selling points (USPs). It enables them to respond effectively to customers if they try to compare the company’s product or service with others.
Multi-tasking is one of the most vital skills to test in call center assessment. It is a must-have skill for a call center agent to deal with many customers on daily bases. Being multi-tasking requires other skills, such as:
Managing time: Agents have many tasks to do, such as responding to customers, making outbound calls, creating reports, and updating CRM databases. They should have the skill of controlling the time spent on each task to do them all in the required time.
Being organized: It means that when agents have a task such as responding to a ticket, they don’t sit frustrated for a time and search everywhere to find answers to queries. They should know what to do next and where to find answers to customers’ queries.
Setting priorities: Not all tasks should be done immediately. As we said before about decision-making, the agents should define urgent and non-urgent tasks. Which queries can wait without any catastrophic results, and which need to be done immediately?
9) Problem Solving:
As we mentioned, the contact center job is about problem-solving. Accordingly, agents should have the skill of problem-solving to handle customers’ complaints.
Problem-solving skill is not only about routine issues whose solutions are already documented. It is to find solutions to more complex problems that do not have a problem-and-solution catalog. Thus, call center assessment should include both simple and complex issues to test problem-solving skills
10) Communication Skills:
The contact center's primary duty is to communicate with people properly to understand their queries and provide the proper solution. So, without good communication, problems won’t be solved.
Communication skills cover many aspects needed to be included in the call center assessment, such as:
Active listening doesn’t only mean to hear but also to listen carefully to customers. It enables agents to pay attention to the queries’ details and fully understand them.
It helps agents to provide the best solution for the clients’ problems and makes them feel that the company cares about their complaints and wants to help them appropriately.
The skill of explaining a piece of information understandably isn’t necessary for many of us, but it’s a must-have skill for call center agents.
As a part of their job, agents must explain the reason for some problems, solutions, or any question the customer asks. They should know how to convey the information in a way the customer understands.
For example, they need to know when they can use jargon and when they can’t.
Customers with a technical background will understand the technical terms, but those who don’t have such knowledge will not.
Speaking here includes many elements. Firstly, it means to talk in a friendly way to customers, whatever their manner is. Secondly, agents should speak clearly to be heard and understood well.
In addition, they should control their voice level. For instance, when agents need to stress certain words or messages, they need to raise their voices a little. Otherwise, they need to speak in a moderate voice.
Many customers will not listen to the agent’s solution to their problems. Agents may be involved in arguments with customers who suspect what they say and suspect the company itself.
Such situations need a self-confident agent who believes strongly in his words and knowledge.
11) Tech knowledge:
Those days, call center jobs aren't confined to phone calls anymore. Most call center companies use information and communication technologies (ICT) such as virtual agents, chatbots, and computer technology integration. Accordingly, agents should know how to use such technologies to handle different functions.
12) Typing skills:
It is one of the most required skills for live chat agents. They are required to respond to all customers through typing, so they should write fast. At the same time, agents have to ensure that the information written in a hurry is accurate, adequate, and clear of misspellings.
Why Does Call Center Assessment Matter?
As mentioned above, call center agents need more than 12 skills to perform well.
Having clear insight into each candidate’s skills, managers can make hiring decisions based on pre-defined measures. For example, some companies may decide that product knowledge is optional, and the agents can acquire it through training.
On the other hand, the willingness to learn may be a mandatory skill. If a candidate doesn’t like to gain knowledge, he won’t be able to learn about products and their updates.
Types of Contact Center Assessments:
AI has become more intelligent, so it can assess any kind of skill from what we mentioned above.
Personality skills assessment:
Recruitment software assesses all personality skills mentioned above. It conducts some assessments through live video interviews to analyze the body language and evaluate the agents’ skills. Also, It can assess the agents through texting.
Another form of customer service assessment is to mimic a realistic situation that could be faced by the candidate while answering a customer and evaluate the candidate's reactions.
Cognitive skills assessment:
Also, AI tests candidates in cognitive skills such as memory, continuous learning, and multitasking.
In the multitasking assessment, candidates are asked to complete some tasks simultaneously in a limited time. If they get a certain grade, that means that they will be able to handle several customers in a short time. It also means that they have time management, organization, and prioritizing skills.
Technical skills assessment:
Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) tests candidates’ technical knowledge. For example, some assessments test candidates’ ability to use call center technologies such as speech and text analysis tools and chatbot technology.
Recruiters can customize tests according to the position and department of the candidate. Tests may be multiple-choice questions or in question-and-answer format.
In a nutshell, customer service companies should define the skills they need before beginning the hiring process. Then, they can prepare custom assessments to test candidates according to those skills.
They can also determine a passing score for each test. All this process goes smoothly with call center recruitment software. Despite the complexity of the required skills, call center recruitment software make the assessment of call center agents easier and more accurate.