How your call centre skills will kick start your career
It used to be if you couldnt find a job elsewhere youd go work in a call centre and then grudgingly at that.
Many call centres had reputations for being soul-destroying places to work, where youd be shouted at all day by angry customers.
But today, due to technology and changing attitudes, it is finally becoming a professional career that people are proud to be involved in.
I, for one, am glad to see this change.
Ive always believed that working in a contact centre is one of the best foundations for a career.
Its a view Ive often taken a lot of flak for, but I still believe in it wholeheartedly.
There are simply so many call centre skills that you can learn that can be applied throughout your career and for life in general!
7 Call Centre Skills that will help any career
1. Learn to really listen
A big part of working in contact centres is listening to peoples problems.
Whilst this may not sound like much fun, it does teach you both patience and to actively listen. When people feel that you understand and care it often diffuses their anger.
One of the best ways to get irate customers to calm down is to demonstrate that you know what they need, and can and will help them.
But this can generally only be achieved if you learn to really listen and can avoid getting defensive or numb.
2. Understand with empathy
Sometimes what matters more than the actual problem is knowing that someone else actually cares.
We live in a world that is often insular and self-indulgent; empathy is not often an emotion that people experience in the business environment.
No matter how efficient we try to become, we are still human.
When you deal with customer problems on a daily basis, you soon realise the vital role that empathy plays in business and customer service.
Empathy helps you to win and keep customers.
In this competitive, digital era that is invaluable, regardless of what industry or sector you work in.
3. Seek out solutions
Today many contact centres are empowering their agents to be able to solve problems in their own way.
This means giving them access to systems and tools that enable them to resolve queries without having to refer to other departments.
This integrative approach to customer service not only benefits the customers but also helps agents to hone their problem-solving skills and creating ‘wow’ moments is really satisfying!
Given the increasing complexity of business, this is something that is becoming a very sought after skill in the workplace.
4. Understand systems and processes
The customer experience is very interactive today, with customers able to do a lot for themselves online.
This has meant that customer service agents need to be even more knowledgeable about the systems and processes within the company in order to be able to assist customers with their queries.
This knowledge can open up other career opportunities in systems design, change management and a wide variety of other business roles.
Don’t under-estimate those call centre skills in being able to multi-task between plenty of systems!
5. Confident communication
Many people are very shy about communicating with strangers, especially by phone.
But with practice and when given training and coaching, just about anyone can become a confident communicator.
In a contact centre there is no escaping the phones and now with multichannel customer service, agents can also improve their online and written communication skills.
With this confidence, people may progress to become trainers, managers or even someday start their own business.
Communication experience via a summer contact centre job certainly gave my career the kick-start it needed.
6. People intuition
Working with very different customers on a daily basis, as you do in a contact centre, can help you develop your people skills.
By hearing the tone of a customers voice you can pick up on other cues as to what the problem really is and then set about solving it.
This people intuition is highly valuable in business but also in life!
7. Service orientation
For decades most businesses have focused primarily on profits and the bottom line.
But increasingly companies that focus on service to their customers are pulling ahead of their competition.
In a contact centre, you learn all aspects of customer service, from problem-solving through to turning around an angry customer or patiently guiding Granny through the system.
It’s the hub of getting to know what customers want and need.
Theres no better training ground for learning all there is to know about serving customers and understanding your organisation.
Starting out in a contact centre can teach you so much and open up a world of career opportunities should you wish to move into other industries.
It’s no longer a dead-end job without options.
So many soft skills that are invaluable in business can be learnt, practised and perfected in a contact centre environment.
It is the ideal place to start and develop your career and your personal confidence levels, regardless of whether you choose to stay in the contact centre industry or pursue other career opportunities.
Recommended read: 15 Best things about working in a contact centre
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