Most contact center agents are professionals working in services or sales. These agents will take phone calls, send emails, live chat with customers, send SMS messages, and support tickets for various companies. All that is handled by these agents will vary from simple customer questions to dealing with serious tasks, making them responsible for problem-solving a large number of inquiries a day. If you have ever wondered more about these professionals who are helping most call centers handle major business inquiries, then this article will give you a tiny look at what really happens behind the scenes.
Call Center Outsourcing
Some agents will work for an outsourced call center that handles customers from all different kinds of companies. Since these skilled agents can work for more than one company, there is plenty of extra care that goes into their training, in order to follow the proper client procedures from different businesses. While an agent is working, they may be taking calls for an insurance company, a communications company, and even a hotel all in the same day. So, these agents must take the time to really give each company’s customers the correct care and support they are looking for.
What is a Virtual Call Center Rep?
Virtual call center representatives work as call center agents, but at their own homes. Instead of working in an office setting, these reps will work from wherever they please, using only their laptops or computers. They are employed by a single company or will work for multiple different businesses at one time if they chose to do so. For example, some agents will help one business answer calls for a few hours, and then collect tickets for another entirely different business. Ultimately, this all comes down to what these virtual call center reps are choosing to do with their working time.
What makes these virtual call center jobs most appealing is that it offers agents to work from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a stable internet connection and a computer. Most businesses will supply the software needed, and all the agent must do is learn the interface and proceed with the given tasks. If an agent is making calls for businesses, it is suggested to work in a quiet environment with a quality headset, which will ensure customer satisfaction. Some companies will provide their agents with these high-end headsets so that they will have no excuse for noisy surroundings. Other businesses may be laxer with their call center reps work environments, and will not have any more requirements other than a strong internet connection.
Different businesses will ask their agents for different things, but the bottom line is that these jobs are very flexible and easy to work in long term, no matter who you are employed by.
Non-Voice Call Center Agents
Agents that are working for businesses that don’t require voice calls to be made, will be asked to provide services more focused online. Instead of answering calls, agents might be asked to live chat with clients, send and receive emails, or support tickets. Non-voice call center agents can work with a few live chats at a given time, making it imperative that they are organized, fast at typing, and able to pay attention to detail.
On rare occasions, they might be asked to handle customer inquiries over social media, which requires them to have great people skills. Yes, a poorly handled phone call will have some repercussions for a company’s reputation, but a thoughtless tweet, Facebook message, or Instagram post might go viral and ruin a business in a matter of minutes. Entrusting non-voice call center agents with the most personal forms of customer service is a big risk, but in most cases, will pay off.
These agents will handle anything from simple customer questions to complaints and larger inquiries. When handing text-based communications, agents must pay attention, respond as clearly as possible, and make sure the problem is solved. If an agent forgets to ask a customer important questions or takes too long to respond back, then the time taken to resolve issues will be far too long for a business’s liking.
Duties That Call Center Agents Must Accomplish
Every agent’s duties will vary based on their skill sets and what companies they are working for. Some of the most common responsibilities will include responding to short SMS inquiries, answering inbound phone calls, responding to emails, supporting tickets that are filled out over the internet, engaging in live chats, and even making outbound calls. Within these responsibilities, some issues that agents might have to deal with include, inbound or outbound sales, general account questions, bill payments, complaints, technical support, account upgrades, or appointments and bookings.
While dealing with any issues that customers may have, agents must answer all questions within a specific period of time. When answering these questions, they must answer each call correctly, give their name, the company they are working for, and any more information that the business they are aiding requires. All calls need to be resolved during that call, or as quickly as possible, in order to ensure that customers are happy and don’t need to waste any more time looking for support. Even if an agent doesn’t get the maximum number of calls that are expected, agents must be ready to accept any call at any given time.
Different types of companies, such as financial companies, may ask call center agents to designate an account advisor, which is another agent who will answer a majority of their calls. This is helpful because this agent will be specifically used for all issues that customers have and will be the best source of support for clients. While this agent is designated for this job, other agents will complete different tasks that need to be done, instead of answering phone calls. Regardless of each company’s size, their average amount of customers, and the amount of inquiries received, call center agents can aid in the success of all types of businesses.
Is Being A Call Center Agent Hard?
Just like any other job, working at a call center can be a very demanding job, but most of the difficulty will depend on the company that each agent is working for. Some companies have high call volunteers, whereas some only focus on a few online inquiries. Depending on the nature of each call as well, call center agents might get sick of how repetitive their work is. Agents who are working in payment departments or inbound sales have to be on their A-game at all times to ensure customer satisfaction.
Call center agents need to be able to type fast, collect all needed information, remember details, and accurately take down all issues that arise. Flexibility is also a huge part of the job because switching between tasks is imperative. Due to the fact that some representatives are considered “blended agents” and work for more than one company in a given work shift, they must be open to a more diverse work environment. They must output greater success and be more efficient than the average call center rep.
This type of work can be extremely stressful because when dealing with people, you never know what kind of customer calls or emails you will receive. Outbound sales agents may receive hostile responses which need to be handled gracefully. Some agents admit that this is the hardest part of their job, and must have a good attitude no matter what.
Many agents undergo a training course for their jobs, which include a few weeks of classroom training and online training, followed by a monitoring period. During this period, they may be asked to re-train or update their responses due to businesses changing procedures. Once each agent is comfortable in the given area, they can choose to train for other jobs or start working right away. Most agents will wish to train for more areas, making them one step closer to becoming a “blended agent” or multiskilled agent. These agents are much more attractive to most companies and also get paid more for their work depending on their daily tasks and work hours.
How Much Do Call Center Agents Make?
The rate of pay for most call center agents will start at minimum wage and then slowly increase over time, which is the way most professions work. Most starting customer service roles tend to fall at the lower end of the pay scale, but for agents that work with technical support, medical or financial related work, and multi-skilled tasks, will offer payment for agents. Due to the generally low pay rates, the turnaround rate for call center agents is relatively high. Virtual call center agents, on the other hand, tend to enjoy their jobs more because the pay rate is ideal for working from home.
An Important Part of a Businesses Customer Experience
As you now know, call center work isn’t always easy, but agents that do enjoy their jobs don’t have much to complain about. Just like any other job, some days are better than others, but for the most part, this work is great for the right type of person. Most people dismiss call center jobs, but those who have great people skills, strong problem-solving skills, and can pay great attention to detail will thrive in this sort of work environment. No matter what way call center rep jobs are looked at, they are critical for the success of many businesses.