What can hinder your call center agents from listening attentively to customers over the phone? Open Access BPO, a leading call center company in the Philippines, lists down some common communication barriers in call centers that may have a negative impact on your customer service.
Effective listening is a prerequisite to successful customer service delivery. Call center agents are therefore required to have exceptional communication skills, listening included, in order to interact well with customers.
But call center agents can also face communication barriers that can prevent them from listening attentively to customers. Because of these, customer satisfaction may be affected. Here are some possible hindrances to effective listening that call center managers must regulate:
A call center agent can be exposed to a lot of distractions while on the job. Most of these stem from external factors such as noise from the surroundings. Because these noises compete with the voice of the customers on the phone, they can hinder the agents from listening effectively. The noise from ringing phones, other agents talking to their own customers, and idle agents talking to one another—these are just a few possible sources of distraction.
Faulty telephone line, poor Internet connection, and wrong volume setting can also serve as communication barriers since they can interrupt the flow of conversation between an agent and a customer. When the office environment is not in its best condition, such as in poorly ventilated rooms or overcrowded work stations, it becomes less conducive to work.
Not all barriers come from the physical environment of the agent. The state of mind and the well-being of the agents can also determine the success of the communication process.
If the agent is sick or hungry, suffering from any physical pain, or is just generally not feeling well, he won’t be able to concentrate on his tasks, much less talk to customers and attend to their needs. If the agent is thinking too much about matters that are not related to work, such as personal problems or outside priorities, he is also less likely to give his best efforts in paying attention to the details given by the customer over the phone.
At some point, seasoned agents may be exposed to almost all types of customer concerns that they begin to preempt and assume details. A customer may present a problem that is usually resolved by the agent. As a result, the agent may be less motivated to listen any further since the case is familiar to him anyway. Because of this mindset, the conversation may become impersonal, and the customers may sense that the agents aren’t paying attention to what they say.
These external and internal factors can serve as barriers to effective communication. It is therefore imperative for call center managers to know which ones are present in their call centers in order to manage, if not eliminate, those issues. Only through detection of these hindrances can a call center have a successful customer service delivery.