What to Expect When You Hire a Call Center Agent
A call center agent such as one from CMS is primarily responsible for making outbound calls to prospects and customers and receiving inbound calls. However, in a modern customer service environment, call center or call agent duties can be quite versatile. They can include a variety of tasks that go beyond simple phone call management. Below, we’ll learn what services you should expect when you hire a call center agent for your business.
What Is a Call Center Agent?
A call center agent is responsible for incoming and outgoing calls, customer complaints, account inquiries, and support issues. An agent that handles both incoming and outgoing calls is known as a blended agent. Alternative names include CSR (customer service representative), TSR (telephone sales or service representative), attendant, team member, account executive, associate, or operator.
Call Center Agent Responsibilities
1. Attending Inbound Calls
This is one of the primary duties of a call center agent; they are hired to answer incoming calls from prospects and customers. The number of calls they can cater to depends on the number of agents, call center size, industry, the complexity of issues, and inbound call volume. A suitable call center representative will have the following skills that are necessary to cater to individuals that make a call:
- Strong phone handling skills
- Clarity of speech
- Attention to detail
- Verbal communication skills
- Active listening skills
- Customer call handling skills
- Techniques for call transfer and hold
- Ability to end calls on a positive note
2. Handling Customer Complaints and Issues
Knowing how to deal with unhappy customers is the core duty of call center agents. They must ensure customer satisfaction each time and should be able to resolve any issues effectively. A good customer service representative will be able to:
- Ask the right questions to get to the root of the issue
- Identify the customer type to respond accordingly
- Use empathetic statements and be kind
- Offer a solution and verify that the issue is resolved
- Escalate the complaint properly if they do not have enough authority or the right skill level to help a customer
- Resolve all issues on the first contact
3. Processing Payments and Orders
Processing and taking orders is a basic duty. Agents must not only answer all customer questions regarding the purchase, product, or company service but must also be willing to provide additional information whenever required.
Once a customer is convinced, they should place an order on their behalf and provide tracking information updates if the customer calls back. The agent should not only have proper product knowledge and comprehensive company information, but they should also have the right skills to:
- Track orders
- Manage order cancellations
- Process exchanges
- Resolve payment problems
- Address shipping issues
- Manage refunds and returns
4. Making Outbound Calls
Outbound calls are made to customers or prospects. The purpose of these calls includes:
- Cold calling
- Lead validation
- Charity or non-profit fundraising
- Proactive customer service notifications
- Telemarketing sales
- Appointment setting
Outbound calls are made using various call center dialers that help improve efficiency, performance level, and productivity and automate the dialing process.
Even though the first-contact resolution is considered ideal, the truth is that not all customer queries, concerns, and complaints can be resolved on the first call. This may become even more complex for SaaS companies as they sell specialized and sophisticated products.
Due to this, some issues may require additional troubleshooting. Agents make calls to customers to inform the customer that the issue is resolved or can be made to provide updates on the progress.
6. Cross-Selling and Upselling
A call center agent is encouraged to identify and boost potential cross-selling and upselling opportunities. Upselling can be channeled when a call agent draws a customer’s attention toward another great product to bring in more value. Alternatively, an agent can channel cross-selling by motivating a customer to purchase a complimentary product or service. Both these selling techniques require more than ready-made communication and scripts, and a good call center agent is trained to do the same. They are creative, flexible, and personalized in each approach, which ensures sales success.
7. Conducting Market Research
Market research is important as it allows call centers to stay on top of new products and industry trends. Agents can gather valuable data that allows marketing executives to create stronger marketing campaigns using data like consumer behavior, competitor information, and market potential. Agents use outbound call center software with auto-dialing technology to make hundreds of automated outbound calls without the need to input numbers manually to do this.
Call center agents are crucial for almost all kinds of businesses. Knowing what a customer service representative can do for you will allow you to decide how many agents you need to hire and what outsourcing these services means for your business. Suitable call center agents must ensure 24/7 customer support, marketing success, and guaranteed leads.