A call centre is the heart of business communication. It is the channel that brings news from customers to the business and vice-versa. The quality of service offered at call centres greatly affect customer experience which in turn affects your business sales. It is therefore, important to hire the best call centre agents for your call centre and know how to hire them. 

Identify which type of call centre yours is

Calls centres can either be intended for making outgoing calls or to receive incoming calls. The former refers to sales centres that tap into business prospects and the latter refers to customer support centres that iron out issues the customers face. Sales centres have conventionally been sources of revenue while customer support centres have been point of costs. However, this trend has now shifted as the cost of making one sale is much higher than the cost of retaining one customer. Knowing the type of the call centre will help in hiring agents best suited for the type of calls being made or received. Sales centres require call centre agents who are good with words, persuasive and can sell products and services with ease. Customer support centres require agents who are good listeners, patient and can offer solutions to unsettled customers. 

Qualities required for a sales team agent

Customers are smarter today than they were a decade ago. All thanks to the internet, customers are now privy to every sales tactic in the market. To be a good virtual call centre agent in a sales team today, it is important to understand customer preferences. Sell to customers what they want rather than making a blind sales call. A good sales team agent will analyse market statistics about customer preferences and dislikes, and identify what the customer wants and needs. They should be adept in analysing data and be up-to-date regarding current market trends. Additionally, they should also be able to effectively use digital tools to accumulate necessary information.

Qualities required for a customer support agent

The most important quality that a virtual call centre agent working in a customer support team requires is the ability to think on their feet and come up with solutions to customer concerns quickly. In order to do so they must be able to first, listen to the customers. It is important to note that an aggrieved customer will not always be able to articulate and it is up to the call centre agent to make sense of what the customer relays and provide a solution. In addition to a friendly disposition and courteousness, the best call centre agents are also humble. In the event that a customer brings to notice a complicated issue, a good call centre agent will transfer the information to someone who is better equipped to solve the issue. Pride should not jeopardise customer experience, ever. 

General tips to hire the best virtual call centre agents

The best virtual call centres follow a standard procedure which incorporates tried and tested hiring tips that help weed out applicants who will not be profitable to the business. These tips are as follows;

  • Make a list of the best qualities of your top performing call centre agents
  • Prepare a list of questions beforehand to be asked in the interview
  • Outline multiple hypothetical scenarios to assess how the applicants would respond. Take inspiration from real life scenarios for the same. 
  • Verify the references given by applicants
  • Be on the lookout for qualities like dependability, empathy, problem solving capabilities, ability to follow instructions, multi-tasking skills, and good listening, speaking and comprehension skills. 

Bonus tip – Determine the time allotted per call

Time is of essence at a call centre. The best virtual call centre agents interact with customers and provide desirable results within the time allotted per call. This time is determined by means of the call volume. The formula is simple; time per call = working hours/ average no. of daily calls. Once this is calculated, you can add to or take away from it to allot the time that you think should be spent on a call. 

Use “time allotted” to assess potential call centre agents

A major mistake made when it comes to call centre hiring is that the applicant that takes the least amount of time per call is considered the best suited for the job. However, if sufficient time is not spent on calls, it could lead to bad customer experiences. At the same time, spending a lot of time on one call is ineffective and an inefficient way of utilising the resources of the call centre. Assess clients based on the “time allotted” that you have calculated. If the time taken by the applicant is around the “time allotted”, they will be a good fit in your call centre. 

The ultimate quality required in a call centre agent

The one quality that trumps all when it comes to being a call centre agent is the ability to be a team player. Call centres work in teams, and unless the applicant is able to effectively work in a team, they will not be a profitable hire. Only a team player can help the call centre secure the ultimate goal of raking in profits with every sales while simultaneously retaining existing customers. 

It is no secret that “customer is king”. Happy customers will bring in more customers, raking in profits upon profits. In this age of the internet, news of bad customer review spreads fast. And it does not take much for customers to be dissatisfied with service. Some of the things that most commonly irritate customers include a long waiting period to connect with customer support, call centre agents who are not attentive, a call that does not solve the customer’s issue, etc. In this way, virtual call centre can transform your business. Hiring good call centre agents is the first step towards ensuring that customers do not experience any of the above negative experiences, and truly feel like kings.