Q
Get started Bring yourself up to speed with our introductory content.

Nine skills every call center agent job requires

Call center agents need to make sure they have the skills for which hiring managers are looking. Here are the top call center agent job skills you'll need to land a job in a contact center.

Companies have evolved their call centers into contact centers to meet the needs of customers who prefer to use...

email, instant messaging or social media over phone calls. This means the call center agent job description includes knowledge of many more platforms and communication skills than before.

Agents need to expand beyond verbal communication skills, which were paramount when phone calls dominated call centers. They must also focus on writing and reading comprehension skills for email, chat, social media, and also develop their body language and visual observation skills for video chat.

Most common call center agent job skills

Many call center agent job skills are the same as they were in past years. The difference now is that customers expect immediate responses across any communication channel they choose, and call center -- or contact center -- managers need their agents to meet those expectations.

Here are nine key call center agent job skills required for success.

  1. People skills

Call center agents must thrive on working with people they don't know, understanding their issues -- whether the agent can relate to them or not -- and helping to come up with a solution to resolve the issue -- even though the agent may not agree with the final resolution.

  1. Excellent communications skills across channels

Contact center agents now speak with customers across a variety of channels, including phone, chat and video. Each of these channels requires different types of communication skills from a listening and speaking perspective. An agent does not need to excel at communicating in all the channels, but it is critical for an agent to exhibit the skills necessary for the channels they will be supporting.

  1. Professional and courteous demeanor

Customers reaching out to a contact center may be frustrated and emotional, depending on the issue they are trying to resolve. Agents must be sensitive to a customer's feelings, always have a courteous demeanor, and display empathy and patience during a conversation with customers, regardless of the channel of communication.

what to expect in call centers
  1. Excellent problem-solving skills

Customers often reach out to a contact center with complex issues that are difficult to explain. Agents must listen to the customer, identify the core issue and identify solutions that serve both the customer and the organization.

  1. Ability to learn, retain and apply large amounts of information

During training, agents must learn a tremendous amount of information regarding products, services, policies and procedures. Agents also need the ability to retain a good portion of this information and, in cases in which they don't have an answer, understand how to navigate across a number of systems to find the answer to the customer's issue.

  1. Ability to accept and meet quantitative goals

The contact center environment is extremely metric driven and, therefore, many metrics are key for the performance management process. Agents often have quantitative goals, and they are measured and rewarded on a number of key items, such as quality monitoring results, average handle time, attendance, occupancy, etc. Agents must be willing to work in an environment where most of their activities are monitored, tracked and reported.

  1. Ability to work in a highly structured environment

The contact center environment is extremely structured. Agents must adhere to strict schedules, are monitored on a continuous basis, deal with a large volume of transactions, and must follow detailed attendance and punctuality policies.

  1. Flexibility

Organizations constantly change, rolling out new products, services and features to attract new customers and retain current customers. In most cases, agents are notified of changes in a timely manner, but there are many times when the customer knows about a change before an agent does. Agents must be flexible in this ever-changing environment and cannot be overwhelmed when surprises occur.

  1. Ability to work independently and find answers

Even though agents work on teams in the contact center, their interactions with customers are one to one. Agents need to be comfortable working independently and have the confidence that, if they cannot resolve a customer issue immediately, they know how to find the solution.

Call center agent job mobility

Call center agents used to have two main career paths: moving into a supervisor role or moving into a support role in areas such as training, quality or workforce management.

In addition to those paths, agents with the appropriate qualifications can transition into specialized roles where they can continue to work with customers in a variety of channels.

Call center agents need a diverse set of skills to work with customers across a variety of channels in a very complex, yet structured environment. It is not an easy job to perform successfully, but for those who have the right skills and are successful, there is a tremendous level of satisfaction in assisting customers in their time of need.

Next Steps

Natural language processing benefits call centers

Emotional analytics emerges in call centers

Pairing call center agents with the right tools

This was last published in October 2017

Dig Deeper on Call center agent

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Have a question for an expert?

Please add a title for your question

Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.

You will be able to add details on the next page.

Join the conversation

18 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

The 1st time i see this articles something catch my attention i asked my self if i read this articles it remains me of someone whose my best friend .The things that i'd like to say in this articles is so good, there's a lot of words can give some tips how to be a good and productivity as well. Thefore this articles giving a good tips for preparing how to be a apart of global organization


Cancel
i just wnt to know how call center is good
Cancel
BPO is one of the trending job in global demand,, it makes us more competence as our advantage to deal people as well to communicate them. being part of the company it makes you a lot. so for those willing to apply go for it.
Cancel
thank you for the INFORMATION that you had given to me. I've got a lot of things that truly helps me a lot :)
Cancel
What skills and requirements are most important to hone in on for the call center agent interview process?
Cancel
Communication
Cancel
i just think your need to be flexible to adapt to the customers behaviour. this is done by enhancing youe listening and communication skills. not forgetting the 7cs.
Cancel
Knowledge. Knowhow. Communication. Compassion. The ability to explain complex processes without condescension. And then do it again and again, over and over, all day long.
Cancel
be jordan belfort.
Cancel
What skills do you think are the most important for a call center agent to possess?
Cancel
Frankly, the most important skill outside of technical ability and knowledge of the product is how does this person interact with the customer? Can they talk someone off a ledge (metaphorically speaking). If they cannot, I'm less interested in them than if they have that fundamental ability.
Cancel
I agree with Michael. Things we usually consider 'soft skills' are really important for anyone who works directly with the customer. Patience, desire to help people, ability to work under pressure are things that are more difficult to train into people than product knowledge and technical procedures.
Cancel
This is a customer-facing job. After extensive product smarts and a broad understanding of the entire field (you should know where your product fits into the whole landscape of workalikes), a degree in psychology would be a huge asset. Okay, one or two classes...?And if even that's asking too much, how about a conversational ability with the language and a lot of empathy. And an undying hatred of the HOLD button....
Cancel
I find the article as a useful tool for effective call center servicing
Cancel
Glad you found the article helpful, jleanne!
Cancel
it's my first time, and i'd like to know more about what call center agent do and how hard is it.
Cancel
I've been failed eight times applying for the position as Csr. Here I am again preparing for another day of interview,bit scared again but I need to face my fear. I'm sure if i won't try how will i be able to get a job. This job, so i'll keep on trying and trying till a company will trust me.
Cancel
Hi Alice! We recently updated this article. Hope the additional information is helpful. Good luck!
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchBusinessAnalytics

SearchDataManagement

SearchSAP

SearchOracle

SearchAWS

SearchContentManagement

SearchSalesforce

Close