10 Ingredients of Top Agents

October 12, 2018 • written by

I’m writing a post about how to be seen as an expert call center agent. I’m still editing it. I feel this would be useful for people who are looking for work and people who are already hired. Here goes.

People ask me for advice on how to be better at their call center job.

There are many techniques to mention mostly involving how to take care of yourself but I’m not going to talk about that today.

I’m going to talk about job specific advice that I wish I learned early.

This short list improved my numbers and how customers dealt with me and how effective I am at my job and I hope this will to.

Let’s dive right into it.

  1. Uhhs and uhmms.

Whenever I’m thinking, or I’m unsure of what to say next or what to do, I naturally make the uhh or uhmmm sound. I guess most people do. This might also be the reason why whenever we see this in others we automatically know deep inside that they don’t know what they’re talking about. In a job that requires you to be an expert, conveying that you know what you’re doing is just as important. Maybe you need a moment to think about what to say next, maybe you need to double check, maybe you need to ask a supervisor or another expert all those are acceptable but if you make the uhh or uhhm sound it will make people feel uncomfortable. Here’s what to do instead. If you have to think. Pause and smile. Tell them what you need. Let me think for a moment. Tell them why. That’s the first time I encountered this question or situation. Tell them what you’re thinking. But at the top of my head, I think the answer to that should be this.

  1. Sir/Maam.

Using Sir or Ma’am only implies two things. One you didn’t bother taking note or remembering their names and you don’t give a shit so you used it as a use for everyone automatic response. The other thing is you have low self confidence and you are inviting the person you are speaking with to intimidate you, bully you and walk all over you. Both are not good positions to be in. Both for your sake and your employers or future employers.

  1. Tell the customer the step by step process.

Sometimes we feel that the other person should get it. Whenever they don’t it’s because the other person is stupid. That’s the part where we are wrong. Whenever someone doesn’t understand you, they just don’t have the information you have or vice versa. Try to find out who has more useful information. In a lot of cases you do. Then it’s your job to explain things step by step. An approach that I take is I tell them what I’m about to do. I’ll do a quick overview so you understand what will happen and what to expect then I’ll explain the steps to you in detail so it will be easy for you to follow. I study most of my processes and write them down and see what I can improve. Is it simple? Can I explain this to a kid and expect them to understand. There’s a fine balance between having enough and having too much details. Fortunately for you this can be learned with experience. A common error is that when you explain things several times you’ve heard the explanation so many times you forget that it’s the other person’s first time. Try to find out when it would be best to elaborate and when to summarise. This will help you in the long run.

Secret tip: Watch a lot of cooking shows and learn the format of how they give instructions. I got better by watching Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. Both are available on You Tube.

  1. Avoid asking obvious questions and questions they already answered.

Hi my name is Kevin Olega I live at so and so Sucat, Paranaque City. My phone number is 639178952637. Then the customer service, following the verification script of asking my details in a specific order asks me for the questions again.

Facepalm. This fucker is not listening. If I ask for help from this agent he might mess up my account or he might give me wrong information. Since I waited 45 minutes to get to a live person I can’t hang up now. I’m going to humiliate this agent so he learns a lesson and give me to a supervisor. Someone who can get things done. That’s right. He probably deserves it. So much for active listening. Maybe he’s sleeping on the job. This call is being recorded if his boss listens to his call they’ll find out all the mistakes he might keep making. Maybe he’ll get fired. This will be fun. Expect to get this response when you don’t listen carefully. Before you begin calls have a checklist of things you need to find out and get the information immediately. If the customer says my name is, you don’t need to ask are you the account holder if it says so on the screen. Begin by acknowledging what the customer said and confirm with them that you understood by telling them your version of how you understand the situation.

  1. Educate customers.

I want to make sure you get the best treatment we have so here’s what we’re going to do..

Does not let emotions affect response. If the other person said anything to offend you, always remember they are hurt and are looking for a solution. Don’t respond with hostility.Don’t interrupt them. Let them say what they need to say and tell them that you are there to assist them get what they want. If you’re a customer service person, see yourself as a guide. If you’re in tech support you’re a repair person. If you’re in collections you’re a debt consultant. If you’re a sales guy, you’re offering the best solution. You can add value to the conversation by educating the customer what often causes the problem and giving them tips on how to resolve it in the future.

  1. Positive phrasing.

I want to make sure you get “what they want” in the earliest time we can give it to you. Here’s what I’m going to do, and here’s what’s going to happen next. Focus on what you can do for them and bring their attention to that and not on what you can’t do. How do you think the customer will feel if you start the conversation with something like. Look, before you tell me what happened, let me tell you this. I’m an expert. I’ve seen this a million times before. Whatever it is that you want. It’s not going to happen. There’s nothing I can do. You can ask for my supervisor but they’re going to tell you the same thing. You have to trust me. Fuck you right? I’m taking my business elsewhere and I’m suing your company.

After going to church, I went out with my friend. I’m pretty bad at making clothing decisions. Left on my own I’d wear the same thing over and over again and buy copies of my past clothes like a uniform. I used to have my then girlfriend to pick stuff for me. But now that she’s gone, I have to go through the trouble of finding pretty girls, who dress nice to pick my stuff for me. I practically outsourced the decision making because 1. I get to make a beautiful girl say I look good in what I’m about to buy, several times during the encounter and 2. I get to find out what beautiful girls want’s their guys to look like. I used to only dress for one person but since she’s gone, I have to maintain a collection of girls to pick my clothes for me. Otherwise I’d buy a Deadpool costume or just black/gray everything and wear it all the time. I went to Puma in Glorietta and bought two pairs of shoes. One for me and one for my lady friend. Not girl friend. I only go out with girls who have partners. A habit I picked up from back when I was with. Moving back. She promised to pay me for the shoes. The thing was the sales person offered her a pair and said it was only Php 1,400 something so I though that’s a reasonable price but when she started fitting, in an attempt to upsell, pitched a more expensive model maybe we were tired, maybe we wanted to get the shoe, maybe I wasn’t paying attention, maybe we were both not paying attention but the sales person didn’t seem to say that the price was Php 1,650 something about two hundred pesos from the price I initially expected. I used a debit card and since I didn’t have to sign anything, I just looked at the total price and didn’t notice the price of each of the items. One of the items was not really the price I agreed to. When I was reviewing the receipt a few days back, I was surprised because the only price I remember was what was initially quoted. I asked my friend what price she remembered. She recalls the first price and when I told her what was on the receipt she was furious. I went back to the store to confirm the price. The sales person insisted that it was on the price. He didn’t’ say that the shoe my friend was getting was a higher priced one. He said he told me the total price before he asked me to key in my pin so we’re square. It’s like a read the contract before you sign the dotted line argument so fuck off loser. I asked for the number of the supervisor. He said he is the highest level officer of Puma that I can reach. I asked for the number of the head office. He said they don’t give out numbers and contact people. If I wished to complain about him, I should write the letter. I asked who do I address the letter to. He said to him. I mean seriously? I am to write a complain about an employee and address it to the same employee? All that effort for a letter and put it in the bin. I found a way to get the number of the local office. I asked reception about the complains and I was transferred to marketing. I talked to this elderly lady in marketing, she seemed to be the head and apologised about the event. Asking us what we wanted. She offered an option to return the item that if it’s unused, they can swap the item with a cheaper one and give me my money back. Another fuck you to me for not double checking the price. She explained that styles can be exactly the same but a stitch, colour difference also means price difference and she apologised that the store salesperson/supervisor did not explain that and I was charged over my budget and had been inconvenienced. I asked my friend about her decision. She said she didn’t wear the shoe but wanted to keep it. She eventually paid me the full amount. I didn’t bother calling them back. I felt exhausted. This is not the first time salesperson lied to me, but this is a first from a higher priced brand that I trusted. I never entered the Puma store again and though I liked their designs over many other brands such that I’m willing to pay extra over the cheaper brands, these days I stay away from puma as much as possible. Such that I wrote this long post and included it her. This is the value of good customer service. No matter how high the person’s position is. If you treat people like shit, shit will hit the fan and it will get messy. If you want to review what customer service people do wrong just go through the comments in this article.

TK add post.

  1. Be knowledgable.

Think of solutions ahead of time just like how I asked you to prepare your job interview story and strengths and interview answers before hand. The biggest cause of delays and un necessary frustration is the lack of preparation. What are the top ten reasons people call you? Focus on the top two and be an expert, eventually master 3 to ten until you know every issue from start to end. If you know all the solutions you will be able to explain this quickly without inventing stuff to say. Knowledge enables you to be both confident and credible. Be as knowledgable as soon as possible.

  1. Confidently Delivery your message in a loud and clear fashion.

Speak louder. Keep your friendly tone but speak louder. Filipinos have a tendency to whisper. That’s my major weakness. I don’t normally raise my voice. People see me as calm but the also see me as not confident. It’s also frustrating if people ask me to repeat myself. I sometimes get confused if I need to rephrase what I said or just need to repeat it. Speak loud and clear. Imagine the person you are speaking to is far away. Say it with a smile. Body straight. Inhale deeply before you talk. Practice saying things.

  1. Continue to practice your English.

If you’re English sucks, people will ask you if you’re located in the U.S. They will believe you’re from the Philippines and you’re unable to help them. Many agents lie about this. I always tell the truth. I’m from the Manila office. I tell them. But their question is different. The conversation goes like. Thanks a lot for helping me. I got to talk to this girl from the Philippines and this guy from India and Mexico and they were totally not helpful. You were the only person who solved my problem. Are you from Maryland? To which I say. Oh thanks. I’m from the Manila office. Then they go like.. Manila? You mean from the Philippines? In Asia? Yeah. Did you get shipped there? I say no I’m a local from Manila. Then they say, wow you’re English is so good I couldn’t tell. Or they comment about the wonders of technology and how I’m across the world assisting him. At this point I’m thinking of asking them “would you like to speak to my supervisor so you can tell her how awesome I am?” but I don’t. I tell them we have several teams on rotating shifts across the world to assist them 24/7 and to feel free to call us back at any time in case they need additional help. I then close the call. I take note of their comment and add it to a small list of compliments I’ve been receiving.

  1. Continue to learn about your campaign

After the training, most people I’ve met stopped learning about the job. As a result they were either fired or was in the bottom list of performers. The key is to never stop learning. There is always something to learn and get better. I’ve experienced having the lowest stats in everything and being top at my stats at a certain point. I’ve survived many lay offs and I think it’s safe to say that I’m consistently in the top 40 agents in our account/campaign. At one point I was also a top performer based on customer feedback and won a jacket, some gift checks and a few goodies. On the other end I failed consistently in some metrics that I didn’t understand then. Don’t let bad performance be the end of it. Study what didn’t work. Do your best not to do it again by replacing the task with better habits. This works well in interviews and in your jobs and in other areas of your life. Continue learning. Continue studying. Continue taking notes. Top performers are not superhuman. They’re just better players. Once you understand the moves and how the moves are used you can be a better player yourself.

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