8 qualities that a service agent needs to posess

Service and support agents have a deciding role in customer’s experience of a company and their services. Having a good customer service is crucial and the value is too big to jeopardise customer relationships by hiring agents that don’t possess certain suitable qualities since the wrong coworker could lead to loosing customers.

And it’s not an easy task, it’s a broad spectrum of qualities needed from agents that are required to be able to complete their day-to-day tasks. Below we have sited a few qualities that an agent in customer service or support needs.

Be a listener

Effective customer service begins with being able to listen. Being very chatty or technologically experienced, just doesn’t reach the bar. But you will If you are able to listen wholeheartedly to what customers are saying and aren’t saying. A common issue that occurs is that agents believe they know the solution before a customer has finished talking, to be able to deliver fast support. However, this usually comes with misunderstandings and can even make agents seem uninterested in the customer.

Product knowledge

Customers often see agents as their source of product information. It’s therefore crucial for agents to always stay on top of the game with updates of the latest products, services and campaigns. With good knowledge about the different resources, you may also know how to find out who to turn to if you don’t have the answers yourself. It’s also important to feel safe in what you’re conveying because it also boosts confidence. Confidence can be seen and felt from a mile away and is mostly interpreted very positively. It makes you feel better and the customer feels like they’re in good hands and that their errand is taken care of as professionally as possible.

Technical knowledge

Similar to product knowledge, agents often need to be able to work in several different systems to solve certain errands. Here it’s important to understand the technical aspects of the products in the repertoire.

Problem solving

We see an increased popularity in using self service payment channels, where customers can easily on their own manage simple errands when it suits them. This has also lead to that customers only get in touch with customer service when an errand is escalating to a bigger issue. In other words, the customer service agent will manage errands that reach a certain level of difficulty that usually requires special skills to effectively manage errands. They need to be able to fill the gaps of when information is limited and identify the best way to solve it.

Inventive

There ar countless situations where customer service agents need to be quick to the chase and find creative solutions for difficult issues. Inventive people often work well in support or a contact center because of these set of skills since they can find smart solutions to difficult problems. Both in regards to temporary and long-term solutions.

Multitasking

Agents in support or customer service rarely manage just one errand at a time. It’s important to know how to prioritize and multitask simultaneously to be able to handle the challenges the job may entail. Depending on what company, a service agent could be responsible for several support channels. And even if it’s “only” a live chat on the website, it’s expected to manage several conversations at one time. Efficient multitaskers can maintain the bigger picture when being bombarded with questions from several different customers. On the other hand, it’s important to not manage too many channels or conversations, because it leaves the customer waiting. You can’t pause a chat and if you do need to, make sure you notify them that you’ll be back soon.

Self control

The truth is that it can be challenging to work with unhappy or stressed customers. And to keep your cool while working effectively can be a deciding factor in how well you’ll manage as an agent. The important thing here is to focus on being a problem solver, always. It’s important to know how to collect information and solve the errand while remaining calm and within company standards; professional and diplomatic!

And before you even reach the step of an annoyed customer, always stay positive. Voice and language is a crucial part in how you’re perceived while handling customers and their concerns. Let’s say a customer is calling and is interested in a specific product that currently isn’t available. Instead of saying “We can’t deliver the product, it’s out of stock”, you can say; “The product will be available next month. I can place and order for you and make sure you’re notified as soon as it’s back in stock”. It’s pretty obvious which answer is better, and while the first isn’t wrong, the second shows you’re willing to go that extra mile to make sure that the customer is satisfied.

Teamwork

Good customer service doesn’t just happen, it requires teamwork, both with the customer and the colleagues to effectively solve the issues that occur. And just like you can’t win all battles, you can’t answer all questions. The trick is to know when you’re no longer able to help, and need help from a colleague. It’s honestly the best way to handle it. Don’t waste their or your time in overworking an issue in an area you don’t have expertise in.

As you notice this is a pretty hefty list of sets and skills to be able to manage the day-to-day work as an agent in support or customer service. So make sure to try to check these boxes when hiring. It can be the deciding factor in how well your customer service will do.

By Elin Gunnarsson
Content Manager
In a time of "it must happen now" it is of the utmost importance to have the right communication solutions.

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