The Importance of Telephone Skills

Telephone skills are the most important aspect of being successful in a call center job. When you work on the phone all day as a customer service representative, the telephone is the one and only tool that will make or break your success.

Learning and honing telephone and listening skills is the best possible thing a call center agent can do to prove themselves valuable to a company.

Great telephone skills do many good things to maintain an excellent relationship with customers which in turn benefits every person involved from the owner of the company to the call center employee, to the customer.

Some people will find that they have a knack for these skills, and it will be easy to learn and implement the skills a company offers in training. Others may have to work at it a little harder, but it is far from impossible if you are dedicated to being the best call center customer service agent you can be.

I was lucky to have a knack for these skills, but I’ve met plenty of people and helped many people that had to work at it to truly grasp the whole concept of what good telephone skills were all about.

Why are telephone skills important?

The reasons good telephone skills are so important to a call center and (unknowingly) to a customer are many.

Let’s say a customer calls in, confused about her cellular phone service. She doesn’t understand why there are so many text message charges on their bill.

Now, instead of finding the reason for the customer and explaining how the billing works and how they can control this portion of their bill, a customer service agent may simply apologize for the inconvenience and credit the charges to the customer’s account.

Great service, right? Wrong!

This might please the customer now and seem to the agent that they offered excellent customer service, but in reality the customer service agent has done a disservice to both the customer and the call center.

What will happen next month when the customer calls in for the same reason and the customer service agent refuses to credit the charges because in reality, the customer is responsible for those charges?

You end up with an angry customer, a frustrated customer service agent, and a call center that is in jeopardy of losing a client!

Confused? Let me shed some light on this situation.

The customer is calling in because they have a high amount of text message charges on their bill, and they simply don’t understand why. Instead of taking the easy road and crediting this unexplained charge to a customer’s account to make them happy for the time being, the agent can easily acknowledge the customer’s concerns, look into the bill and explain why the charges are valid.

It may be because their teenager uses the text message feature a hundred times a month and each text message costs ten cents.

By explaining this to the customer and walking them through how to find and read these charges on the bill, the customer service agent has empowered the customer to regain control of their own cellular service.

By going another step and offering a text message package, the customer now has options that will help keep their bill under control. And by doing these things, the possibility of the customer calling in next month with the same problem has been eliminated. Amazing what listening skills can do to truly help a customer!

The most important aspects I have found to offering great customer service are all in the telephone skills. Even if an agent has a great service attitude, without these basic skills, he or she doesn’t stand a chance of becoming successful in this field of work, and the dead end will be found a lot sooner than later.

Once I learned to implement the following skills into my daily work life, nothing was able to stop me. It is how I have been able to experience the different aspects of working in a call center from being a call center agent, to an assistant call center manager. It’s how I landed a job in the quality assurance department of a call center, and how I successfully managed call center teams for years.

These skills include:

  • Smiling
    Smiles and gestures can easily be heard over the phone, so keeping that smile on your face helps to create a positive engagement with customer every time you talk to them.
  • Empathy
    If you can’t put yourself in a customer’s shoes especially when you know they are wrong, how can you understand why they have the feelings they do about the issues they have called in about? If you cannot come to an understanding of why a customer is calling, it’s practically impossible to help them in any positive way.
  • Problem Solving Skills
    No question about it, when you work as a customer service agent, you will get problem calls that require some solving. Generally, the company you work for will offer the tools to solve any problem a customer may have, but it is your job to learn how to use them effectively.
These are just a couple of the most important skills needed when working as a customer service agent, but these will definitely get the ball rolling for an honest career in this field.

It goes beyond simply knowing what these skills are and what they can do to help an agent succeed. Practice makes perfect is what you hear many people say, and the saying fits perfectly into this equation.

 

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