Call Center Experience — Serving The Kings & Queens
Call center experience can perhaps be different than you think. A call center agent’s job is fast-paced and needs rapid multitasking. Much of the reasoning associated with the occupational stigma is outdated, and for the right candidates, careers in call centers have a great deal to offer.
It’s a busy day at work. Your phone rings as you type away incessantly on your keyboard. You answer the phone only to find out that it is a call center agent trying to sell you something. You say you are busy and disconnect the call. Doesn’t this happen to all of us very often? We’ve all spoken to a call center agent at some point, to resolve service issues, to fix billing errors, and more. But how often have we given a thought to what a call center agent’s work and life generally are?
Today, there are several platforms available for customers to connect to product experts or product specialists. But, in many cases, customers choose to call over the phone to get instant help rather than wait for a response over email or live chat. That’s why many businesses across the world have robust customer-facing teams handling the calls. Technology and social media can not candidly replace empathy and connection with people – the reason why we all still pick up the phone.
What does a call center agent do?
Inbound call centers act as an essential component of customer service, and habitually are the prime means of communication between a business, and its customers. Outbound call centers are predominantly sales enablers, pursuing new customers. Popular research shows that customer service representative jobs are on the rise and set to grow by 36% from 2016 to 2026. A customer service representative plays a very important role in any business. It is a role that can onboard new customers, retain prevailing ones, and transform unpleasant customer experiences into delightful ones. Call center agents are persistent problem-solvers who are committed to enhancing customers’ experience with a company or brand; and then there are call center agents who are literal lifesavers, handling emergency calls in hospitals, distress helplines, and more. Simply put, to work in a call center means to be driven by customer success and indeed be the voice of the business or service.
The call center experience
Call center experience may not always be the first choice for most people looking to make lifetime career decisions. It surely has its cons, like all other industries, but most call center operators understand that their greatest asset is their people. It is more than just a temporary job, where people can spend an entire career.
A call center agent’s workday is naturally fast-paced and requires them to manage different responsibilities. Often, agents or product experts need to be flexible with their workflow and proficient enough to handle unexpected roadblocks; but agents still perform the same core call center duty of delivering better customer experience, irrespective of the task they’re carrying out.
For the millions from across the world, who have had worked in a call center at some point in their career, it is a job that helped them gain many positives. Ask me for I am one. To work for a year and pay for my college education seemed a very upright idea for an 18-year-old, just-out-of-highschool me.
The story back then
It was the early 2000s. The mobile phone was starting to be rampant, the internet was flourishing, and e-commerce was developing at a quick pace. Businesses began to realize that they had to digitize their services to stay competitive, and this made way for an exponential rise of customer support practices and software. I began work with a popular American broadband service provider as a customer service executive. I was trained to deliver the right customer experience, rectify billing errors, sort the first level of technical issues, and also sell add-ons to existing customers.
Key roles in a call center
It was an amazing experience to witness the way of life in a corporate setting for the first time. The different roles and organizational hierarchy set the right kind of aspirations in me, in the years to come. There are different yet corresponding roles required for the smooth operation of a call center:
- Call center manager – Keeps the machine running
Ensures that objectives are met, stays on top of metrics, and regulates the company’s direction if needed.
- Team leader – Manages the day-to-day matters.
Supervises and coordinates call center representatives and coordinates with management.
- Trainer – The guide for successful customer interaction
Leads call center training programs, prepare new agents to interact with customers.
- Telemarketer – The new-business pursuer
Specializes in outbound calls, reaching out to potential customers for the sale of products and services.
- Call center agent/Customer service representative
Handles inbound calls to solve customer issues, keeps track of past interactions, logs client data, and forwards them to qualified handlers if need be.
- Technical support agent/Product or service expert
Specialized to resolve technical issues on the product or service.
Additionally, call center representative responsibilities can vary with their purpose: gaining new customers, retaining current ones, conducting market research, etc.
Call center experience helped me learn an important life lesson – It’s not what you say that matters; it’s how you say it. When I look back at what I have gained from working at a call center, the soft skills I developed still help me manage customers and professionals successfully.
Ease of communication
Both written and verbal communication improves when a call center agent hopes to be the first and last person that a customer will interact with, to solve their problem. Handling different kinds of customers, facing varied predicaments, requires solid communication skills.
Although call center agents are trained on the business model and service/product, in practice, there will be quite a few situations that don’t follow the textbook. At times like these, developing creative thinking and improvisational skills help cater to clients, and deliver the best customer experience.
Reliability and discipline
Clocking in the required hours, fixed breaks, and meeting metrics help develop reliability and strong work ethics.
Staying calm under pressure
A call center agent is often the voice of a business, interacting with customers throughout the day. A calm tone of voice, a welcoming demeanor, and a heeding ear will go a long way in delivering the ‘wow’ experience for customers. Customers tend to get angry and irritated while facing issues that they cannot solve, and that’s why they reach out to the call center agent. Call center experience helps to understand that it’s decisive to keep a level head, and focus on fixing the issue at hand; handling such high-pressure situations helps cultivate self-confidence.
A call center agent listens to customers, takes notes, refers to past interactions, and more, on a single call. Prioritizing and multitasking becomes a remarkable habit.
Cut to 2019 – Chatbots, AR, AI, and whatnot!
The technology available for customer service today is incredible. The rise of AI, machine learning, chatbots, and augmented reality drive far-reaching fluctuations across businesses, and threaten to eliminate the human connection. That said, a single negative customer experience can mean losses, and these are the times when businesses need human participation.
Automated customer service can surge productivity and empower faster customer transaction, but there are times when customers need and certainly prefer to speak directly to another person. In multifaceted customer interactions, such as time-critical problems and complaints, the human connection is superior.
When it comes to communication, we’ve come a long way from the times of clay tokens and carrier pigeons. With the influx of call center software like Freshcaller, the road ahead sure seems an endless one of possibilities. Every call presents an opportunity for businesses to save the day for customers, and emerge as heroes. The call center is not an expensive business utility, but a goldmine for creating positive customer interactions. What are your thoughts?
Freshcaller is a plug-n-play call center software for every type of business, and helps augment customer engagement and collaboration within internal teams. Users can purchase local and toll-free numbers, get real-time visibility into call queues and ongoing conversations, route calls to specific agent groups, set up custom business hours for each department, and more.
If you want to find out more about what we do, check out www.freshcaller.com.
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