Four soft-skill training drills for your contact centre

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With contact centres continuing to grow and evolve, coming into contact with them is becoming more common.

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With over 6000 contact centres in the UK employing around 4% of the country’s workforce, as customers we expect skilled and knowledgeable agents to resolve problems we call about. To get the best from your staff, here are some ideas to improve their soft-skills.

Knowing how to empathise

When faced with an unreasonably rude customer, it’s not easy to empathise with them if you don’t know them. Creating some training scenarios featuring a rude and angry customer, and having the agent write down an imaginary problem that customer might be having in their personal life, can help remind staff that additional, unrelated stresses can exacerbate unreasonable behaviour on the phone.

Using open and closed questions effectively

Closed, or yes/no questions help diagnose problems, but rarely provide the full story. Open questions encourage the volunteering of additional information.

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Have your agents play the ’20 questions’ game, where one guesses what the other is thinking about, by asking closed questions only. Then, repeat the exercise using open questions only. This drill helps agents learn to combine open and closed questions to obtain and clarify information they need to solve the customer’s problem.

The ‘Welcome, Overcome, Question’ technique

The WOQ technique is a popular way of taking control of the situation when a client is objecting to something. Here is an example of a WOQ response to an objection on pricing:

Welcome – Thank you for raising this with me
Overcome – The price of this service is competitive, and is all-inclusive
Question – Is this the first time you’ve used the service?

Have your agents practice using the WOQ technique using real-life situations as examples.

Collaboration

Improve the effectiveness of your team by having agents solve puzzles together. A simple example might be to email each team member a single word, and through email only, have them try to work out how those words are connected. Integrate the use of technology in their puzzle-solving. After all, technology is a part of the team, from call recording to wholesale voice termination from providers such as https://www.idtexpress.com/.

A strong combination of reliable technology and skilled agents is the basis of an efficient, effective contact centre.

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