An average call center has a staff turnover of between 30 and 40 percent. Based on those numbers alone, making working in a call center more fun is an absolute must.
The percentage who leave are sure to be happy to share their horror stories with you. Those stories are present in large numbers, so it is not surprising that the general opinion about working in a call center is not really nice. It is stressful, exhausting and only suitable as a temporary job. But is that really so?
The internet is full of useful tips and tricks from call center veterans on how to make working in a call center more fun. We’ve put together a list of 22 helpful tips to make working in a call center more fun, productive and fulfilling.
1. Create a to-do list and sort tasks by priority
It may sound a bit strange, but writing down your tasks and goals will help you manage your work time better.
- You have a clear overview of what you have to do that day, which tasks are easy and which will cost more energy
- You can sort your tasks by priority and start with the most urgent matters. That’s especially helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do. If you put it together, it may not seem so intense anymore.
Plus, crossing out tasks you’ve already completed boosts your confidence. Tip: the Todoist app is by far the best planner app out there.
2. Don’t Multitask
Do you think you work faster if you do several things at once? That is not the case at all. Multitasking makes it harder to focus on either task, and increases the chance of making a mistake.
Completing many tasks at once even leads to MORE time spent working. It is much better to focus on one task for a certain amount of time (say, 30 minutes or an hour) and then switch to a completely different task than to try to do both at the same time.
3. Take notes during conversations
Taking notes is just part of working in a call center, right? But if you write the notes appropriately after a conversation has ended, you run the risk of missing important details. It is better to take notes during the conversation.
- It helps you remember all the details and suggestions you give to your caller
- It will save you a lot of time because you can just copy the notes into the call log
4. It’s okay if you don’t know something!
You may sometimes think that both the callers and your manager expect you to be a walking encyclopedia of answers to all possible questions and problems.
But even experienced salespeople don’t know the answer to every question and sometimes have to ask for help. You cannot solve every problem and satisfy 100% of the customers because some things will be beyond your control.
Rather than pretending you know the answer when you don’t (the caller will soon find out), admit honestly that you can’t answer the question or problem, but you can get in touch with someone who does. know.
That way you come across as a helpful and professional agent, not a “know-how”.
5. Don’t tell a customer you’re new
It’s okay to tell a caller that you don’t know the answer to a question, but you shouldn’t justify it by saying you’ve just been hired.
If you do, the customer may question your ability to resolve the issue and may request that you transfer them to another agent.
So even if you are a novice, avoid saying or implying it to a customer.
6. Ask for help when you need it
We all have bad days when work doesn’t go the way we want.
- Is something not clear to you?
- Do you need help using the telephone system or other call center tools?
- Do you have a problem filling out the paperwork?
Don’t hesitate to ask other colleagues for tips or help if you feel you have too much on your plate. You don’t have to do everything alone – accepting the help of another every now and then and helping others in return is what makes a great team.
7. Make sure you know the tools and knowledge base well
Asking for help with a complicated problem or something you’re unfamiliar with is one thing, but during a phone call you don’t have much time to ask your colleague if he can help with sifting through the knowledge base. Or explain to you how the call center software works.
So to avoid a nerve-wracking situation where you can’t find something in the knowledge base or don’t remember how to run something in the system, take the time to learn how the software works.
Not only does this help improve your self-confidence, your extensive knowledge will also impress your callers.
8. Write a call script
It is important that you know everything about the product and the system, but it can still happen that you occasionally get stuck. With a handy guide you will quickly get back on the right track.
- Calling scripts are incredibly useful for anyone who makes tons of phone calls every day.
- Call scripts are especially useful during hectic days or as a guide for new agents who are still learning the ropes. It can save them a lot of stress.
Tip: Add answers to the most frequently asked questions, ways to deal with angry customers on the phone , or tips for overcoming sales objections to your script.
9. Analyze your conversations
Providing good customer service takes a lot of practice.
With every phone call you make, you learn more and can use that knowledge to improve your skills for the next call. But if you’re having dozens of conversations every day, it’s virtually impossible to remember every detail of it.
Our advice is to play those recordings to a colleague and ask them for an opinion – maybe they point out things you hadn’t thought of or give you tips on how to tackle specific problems.
With the recording function in call center software you improve team productivity, customer satisfaction and boost sales
10. Speak slowly and calmly
Customers can immediately tell an agent’s mood by the way he speaks. I’m sure you’ve been through a lot of situations where you called someone, and the person on the other end made you feel like a nuisance, didn’t you? What was your reaction to that? Did you want to end the conversation as quickly as possible?
If the agent sounds frustrated or annoyed, that makes the caller nervous, too. But when an agent speaks in a natural and cheerful voice, it makes callers feel more at ease.
Talking at a fast pace can also frustrate the caller. To you it may sound like you want to give as much information as possible, but to the caller it may seem like you want to end the call as soon as possible. In addition, speaking quickly makes it difficult for the caller to understand what you are saying.
11. Smile while on the phone
Following on from the previous point – do you know a great way to make yourself sound cheerful when you answer a phone call? Smile while you do! This may sound like an odd tip (smile in a phone conversation? Huh?), but according to several studies, it actually works.
Smiling changes your voice tone to a more positive one, and your callers can hear it!
You can test it yourself. Try saying something with a smile and then say the same thing with a neutral expression. You will probably find that your voice sounds friendlier and more cheerful in the first case.
Starting a conversation with a smile is a great way to set a positive tone for the entire conversation.
12. Don’t leave the caller disappointed
If you’re solving a customer’s problem, never leave them with an answer or solution that upset or disappointed them, as that could leave them leaving your company in an instant.
Before ending the conversation, make sure that the customer is satisfied with the answer and that there are no additional questions. Also let us know when you will call again, if that is the case.
13. Do put your callers on hold
Customers don’t like to be put on hold, because that makes the call take longer. But if it will actually help them get their problem solved faster, they are much more likely to agree. If you need to ask a manager or colleague for advice or explanation, don’t hesitate to put the customer on hold. But that doesn’t mean you can leave them hanging!
- First, ask your customers if they are willing to wait on hold while you ask a colleague for help with their problems.
- If they agree, tell them (if you know) how long they’ll be on hold and that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible.
- After returning to the call, thank the customer for staying on hold.
- If a customer says they don’t want to be on hold (if they’re busy, for example), ask them if and when you can contact them later.
Customers prefer to have their problems resolved on the first phone call rather than having to commit several. If that means spending a little more time on the leash, most are fine with that.
14. Ask the Right Questions
You can get callers who will tell you exactly what’s going on and what exactly they need help with – they’ve already checked all the possible causes and identified the main problem.
But most callers only know they have a problem and may not have a clue what caused it.
In such a situation, you can either take it easy and try to fix the problem right away (without knowing enough), or you can search around to find the real problem.
Here are a few questions to ask to find out what exactly is bothering the caller:
- What happened when you tried to…?
- When exactly did the problem start?
- How does the problem come across (or sound) to you?
- What have you already tried to do with…?
Learning more about the problem the customer is calling about without jumping to conclusions can speed things up (because you don’t have to try some solutions right away) and allow you to solve the real problem during the first conversation.
Dealing with phone calls from older customers comes with its own challenges. First, it can be difficult for them to explain to you exactly what problem they have or what they want you to do for them, so you have to give them extra attention and ask them detailed questions.
They may also take longer to make decisions or respond to your questions, so you need to be patient, listen to them carefully, and make sure they understand the instructions you gave them (you can imagine them writing them down) and are satisfied on how the issue was handled.
16. Admit your mistakes
For some reason, many people (and companies) seem to think that if they pretend to be infallible and never make mistakes, then customers will have more confidence in their service or product. And very often that strategy backfires when a company tries to cover up a blatant mistake they’ve made rather than simply apologizing to the customer. After all, we are all humans who make mistakes.
So whether you made a mistake during a conversation with a customer or made a mistake in your paperwork, admit it and fix it. Be a Gert-Jan Segers . That shows that you take responsibility for your actions and are willing to expose yourself if you make a mistake. And trust me, nothing impresses a customer more than when an agent can sincerely apologize to them for making a mistake.
17. Take a break if you need it
With so much to do during the day, you may struggle to find time for a short break – especially if you have an endless amount of phone calls and problems to resolve. But you’ve probably also noticed that sitting in front of your screen for hours on end or having conversation after conversation can plump up your energy and productivity.
If this happens, take a break! A short rest to step away from your screen and take a short walk can refresh your mind and get you 100% back to work. You can use the break to make a cup of tea or coffee, eat a snack, check your social media, or…
We spend most of the day sitting and that is really unhealthy. It’s even been called the new smoking . Especially in call centers, where work never ends, you may feel like you spend most of your time on your butt.
Work standing, spend your breaks walking and do some squats every now and then.
Afraid of getting weird looks from your colleagues? Walking during the day or taking the stairs instead of using the elevator can work just as well.
Mute buttons are great for three things:
- Short pauses during a call when you don’t have to put the customer on hold
- Having a way to let an angry customer vent their frustration without you having to listen to them
- To respond when you have a particularly difficult customer
But there are also plenty of horror stories about mute buttons not actually being muted, so don’t rely on them too much.
Double check the mute button before taking off to make sure your caller can’t hear you.
20. Learn to deal with rude customers
It’s one thing for a customer to express displeasure at a faulty product or service, but quite another for callers to resort to abusive language, verbal abuse, or perhaps even threats.
What can you do in such a situation? One solution is to remind yourself that the customer isn’t mad at you, even if the insults seem to be aimed at you. They’re mad at the software, at the company’s policies, at themselves for making a stupid mistake and needing to ask for help, or just mad at something that has absolutely nothing to do with the conversation and need a way to to respond.
You turned out to be just handy to get in their way, so don’t get hunted.
Be polite, apologize for the inconvenience, and stay calm — even if you’re tempted to talk back.
Our tip on what to do after such a conversation? Take a break and give yourself time to calm down. You can take it out on a coworker about the caller, do some stretching, rest, or grab a snack and cup of tea. If the caller was particularly aggressive, report them to management.
21. Personalize your workplace
We spend about a third of our lives at work. What does your workspace look like? Do you only have a computer, a telephone, and a lot of office-related papers on your desk? Sitting at a dull and gray desk in a cluttered room all day can make it difficult to stay cheerful, productive and motivated. So why not turn your corner, cubicle, or room into something more inviting?
Making working in a call center more fun can also literally be done by brightening up your workplace. To brighten up your desk, you can place personal items (family photos, travel memorabilia, mascots, etc.), funny posters, plants, or anything else that will brighten up your workplace. Remember, of course, that you’re still at work – so cluttering your desk with trinkets or using beach photos isn’t the best idea.
22. Leave some tasks to automation
Besides answering or making phone calls, you probably have dozens of smaller tasks you need to do every day – updating your database, checking your statistics, writing emails, and all the other tasks that come with your call center routine. But do you really have to do all of them manually? Not in 2021!
There are plenty of automation tools on the market today that can free up some of your time and allow you to focus on your customers. For example, Steam-connect offers several useful ways to automate some of your daily tasks and make your work life a little easier, such as:
- Automatic call queuing – all incoming calls are sorted into different queues based on previously defined rules, and automatically routed to the appropriate agent.
- Call recording – Steam-connect can automatically record all conversations and store them in a database, where they can be consulted at any time.
- Conversation Notes – Allows you to add notes to any conversation, during or after.
How are you going to make working in a call center more fun?
Life is a party, but you have to hang the garlands yourself. It’s no different in a call center. You really have to do it yourself to make working in a call center more fun, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Just use our tips and tricks to make your life a little easier!