Multi-skilled call centre agent

The definition of a multi-skilled agent has transformed over the years thanks to the advent of modern call centre technology.

The traditional multi-skilled call centre agent

Back in the day, your multi-skilled call centre agent was capable of handling several different types of calls.

In the simplest form that would be something like sales and service.

For call centres using skills-based routing, an agent may be trained in multiple ‘skills’ to handle different products, the complexity of call types etc.

The modern multi-skilled call centre agent

As well as being able to handle different call types, the modern multi-skilled call centre agent can also handle multiple channels.

So whether the customer enquiry comes by phone, email, live chat etc they have the skills and experience to move between the channels.

Why having multi-skilled call centre agents is a good thing:

Firstly, they are like all kinds of awesome. But on top of that:

  • They introduce flexibility into your call centre and that is always a good thing.
  • Your agents won’t be bored by being able to move across different enquiry types or channels.
  • It can provide a level of career advancement as they add more skills or channels.
  • It can smash down silos (“bloody email team stuffed it up again”) as they are all in it together.

Risks of having a multi-skilled call centre agent

Whilst the flexibility is great, there are some risks you should be aware of:

  • They can become a ‘jack of all trades’, master of none. By having to know a lot of information it will be difficult for them to become an expert at all of them.
  • It’s not actually as efficient as you might think. There are some industry experts who suggest multi-skilling environments (across channels) are less than productive than agents who can just focus on the one channel. Read this article for more info:
  • Insufficient training.
    • It’s not easy moving between channels. For handling calls writing skills are not that important, for Live Chat and email, more so.
    • And if you use multi-skilled routing then there should be a level of training that corresponds with each skill level.

Ultimately whether having multi-skilled call centre agents is the right decision for your business is one you need to make.

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