The first step in keeping customers satisfied is by providing exceptional customer service. This is only possible when agents are equipped with exceptional communication skills including effective listening skills. Open Access BPO explores various ways that can help call centers in improving their representatives’ listening skills.
Listening attentively to the concerns of the customers is a prerequisite to successful customer service delivery. When agents are equipped with good listening skills, they are able to establish rapport with customers easily and eliminate chances of misunderstanding during the communication cycle. Effective listening is therefore the key to better cooperation and faster resolution of customer problems.
Since they directly influence the ability of inbound customer service agents to detect and solve the root problem of the customers, your agents’ listening skills should be an area of focus during training or coaching. With enough attention and reminders, the listening skills of your agents can be polished. Here are some tips on how you can improve them:
1. Emphasize to your agents the value of paying attention to details presented by customers over the phone. You may assume that everyone is aware of the importance of effective listening, but discussing it with your team may lead your agents to new realizations, such as how it prevents them from committing errors during calls or further aggravating frustration of customers.
2. Conduct training sessions geared towards improving the communication skills of your agents. There are countless training practices that you can use to show how effective listening can be done, such as using customer service scenarios where poor listening behaviors are depicted or teaching them about communication techniques to appease irate customers.
3. Assess all processes, equipment, and other technologies used by your agents in the production floor. Oftentimes, problematic phone systems, noisy work environment, or rigid call flow procedures may impose barriers to the communication process. Eliminate any source of distraction, so that your agents can focus on their job well.
4. Make sure that team leaders and supervisors are trained how to comprehensively evaluate agents’ communication skills. They must know how to monitor live calls and detect improper listening behaviors of agents. Since they act as role models to the agents, leaders are expected to be good communicators as well.
5. After evaluating their call handling skills, agents must be provided with immediate feedback and pointers on how to improve their communication skills. Call monitoring can only lead to positive results if agents are aware of which practices they should either be modifying or reinforcing.
6. Allow customers to give feedback about the agents’ call handling and listening skills through post-call surveys. Since it’s their satisfaction you want to improve, the customers are your best judge.
7. Acknowledge the efforts of your agents in becoming better customer service representatives. You can show appreciation by giving rewards or verbal affirmations to agents who are consistent in showing effective listening behaviors.
Customers can only have a positive call experience when agents are able to listen to their concerns effectively. This is the key to maintain high customer satisfaction even if callers are having difficulties in using certain products or services.
Call center agents are vital in promoting the image of a business when it comes to customer service. By following these steps, you can make your agents effective drivers for successful customer service delivery.