What Exactly Does a Call Center Agent Do?

Call Center Agent

What comes to mind when you think of a call center agent? Do you think of a smiling person happily answering calls? Do you think of someone who speaks very fluent English and drinks expensive coffee from coffee shops? Or someone who has a big salary and can afford to buy the things they want? Call center agents are people who work in the BPO industry and provide assistance to callers both locally and offshore. Many call center agents are fluent in English, smart, and hardworking individuals.

The Bad Rap

Boomers may think call center agents are just glorified phone operators. They have this notion that if you work in a call center, your value as an employee diminishes. But that’s not true. Phone support personnel make up a considerable chunk of the number of tax-paying employees in the country. This means that they contribute significantly to the economy. Contrary to this belief, working for a call center is fun and fulfilling. There is actual growth in working for a BPO. Aside from the big salary, employees can also get great benefits such as an HMO, bonuses, leaves, incentives, and allowances. There are also company-sponsored events that foster work-life balance and build friendships among people who work there.

The Life of A BPO Employee

Those who peg call center work as a walk in the park kind of job are mistaken. Working in this type of job requires a lot of wits, patience, dedication, and resiliency. Working as a phone support personnel requires thinking, working hard, and learning fast. So to simply put it, this is not a menial and thankless job. It is an actual career.So here are some of the things that a call center agent does at work.

1. Answer Customer Inquiries and Concerns

A call center agent has to answer calls and assist customers. He has to take in many calls in a day. Each call is a query or a complaint that needs to be answered promptly. Some calls are billing concerns that need clarification. This requires a mathematical understanding of the customer’s bill so that the agent can explain the charges there and compute the caller’s balance. These calls are typically routed to service providers, telco, insurance companies, and credit card companies. In other accounts, there would be calls related to health care. This can be with an insurance company or an HMO. Agents who work here typically need to have a medical background. On the other hand, some calls need help troubleshooting computers, printers, and other equipment. This would be the task of technical support agents. Tech support staff are specially trained to handle calls and fix equipment over the phone. Working in a call center involves a high level of product and account mastery to resolve a customer’s concern in a few short minutes.

2. Provide Customer Satisfaction

Employees who work for BPO companies are expected to provide top-level service to the customers who call. They need to not only provide first call resolution, but also they need to deliver the service in a warm and friendly manner. There is a metric that measures customer satisfaction called CSAT. CSAT scores determine how happy a customer is with how the agent dealt with their concern. The CSAT score of an agent also determines how polite he was in a call, if the customer feels happy about the outcome and if they will recommend the company to others. Being able to resolve the customer’s concern and make him feel satisfied after the call is one of the most important tasks of a call center employee.

3. Sell Products

Some call center accounts involve selling. There are inbound and outbound sales. There is also upselling. Selling is a fine-tuned skill of convincing a caller that a product deserves to be bought. It requires understanding the customer’s needs and wants.
Inbound selling means selling to someone who calls in as opposed to outbound selling which entails for the agent to call the client. Many say that outbound sales is more difficult as most people do not like receiving sales calls. On the other hand, upselling is offering additional products or services on top of what the customer already has. This includes selling additional warranty programs or insurances, accessories, additional services, or programs. Learning how to sell requires training, knowledge, and willingness. It involves a lot of confidence and resiliency. Many customers would just say no to an offer, but a good salesperson will know how to turn that around.

4. Proper Documentation

Documenting phone interactions between the agent and the caller is important. It is a record of what exactly happened in the previous call. This can guide subsequent agents on how to handle the call if the issue is related to the last call. It also lessens dissatisfaction because the customer does not need to repeat what they said. It is also a black and white record that the company can use to improve their service and protect their agents. Proper documentation means writing down everything that has transpired in a call. It may entail using codes and abbreviations to transcribe vital data. It requires speed and accuracy. Learning how to document a call requires experience and expert knowledge.

5. Following Up on Unresolved Customer Concerns

Sometimes, issues are not resolved on the initial call. And because they are not yet resolved, a service ticket is created and followed up on. This may mean that an agent may need to consult their supervisor to find the solution to the problem. The agent may need further testing and experimentation to get a solution. Other times, this may mean having someone visit the customer to fix the issue personally. Following up on an issue that is not resolved before requires an agent to be patient. He may need to spend an extra hour or two to find the resolution to the problem.

6. Hit KPIs

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are the metrics that measure the performance of a call center agent. This would include Average Handling Time or AHT, quality scores or QA, customer
satisfaction surveys or CSATs, first call resolution or FCR, and other client-specific metrics like conversions and sales.AHT is the amount of time spent on average by an agent in taking calls. QA is the ability of the agent to adhere to the quality metrics set by the client. CSAT measures how satisfied the customer is with how the agent handled the call. FCR means being able to resolve the issue on the customer’s first call.These KPIs are tough to hit, and sometimes agents fail to get the required scores to pass a particular metric. Coaching and training can help them to achieve high marks for these.

7. Join Team Huddles

Team huddles allow team members to discuss with one another how to improve their performance as a team. Metrics are not just personal scores. Each individual score is taken into account to compute the team score. Through team meetings and huddles, discussions can be done to know the team’s strengths and weaknesses.Huddles also promote camaraderie and foster a bond between the team members. Sometimes these meetings are done after shift within or outside the office.

8. Get Training, Coaching, and Upskilling.

Call center work is dynamic and ever-changing. It requires proper guidance from one’s supervisors and mentors. Coaching sessions with one’s team leader, subject matter experts, quality analysts, and even trainers can improve one’s KPIs. Trainings can also be given even after the initial product training to improve one’s product knowledge or learn something new. On the other hand, upskilling may mean learning something new like doing Excel or Canva or any particular skill that can make one grow in one’s career. So you see, working in a call center is as real as any job can be. It is challenging and rewarding at the same time. It is a type of job that requires intelligence and hard work. So don’t worry about those who belittle this job. Want a fun and dynamic job? Work with us!