With the increasing tendency for call center and companies to outsource work-at-home agents, the tendency is to get a call center agent perhaps 90% of the time nowadays when you call about a product or service. Whether it is about returning a product, ordering one, or asking for information, it is important to understand a few basics in dealing with call center reps, in order to maximize your experience with them and get what you need.
Here are some helpful tips, written by a former call center agent who worked in this environment for 3 years:
1) Have your Information Ready when you Call.
It makes the call go much smoother and faster if you have your information ready at the onset of the call, rather than having to look it up later. Call center agents are trained to move through the call as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. If you have your information on your issue available when you first get them on the phone, they will be able to process your request much faster without delay. It is especially important to have any warranty information from products purchased, serial numbers, and your basic information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers of the purchase, and so forth ready when they ask for it.
2) Have Credit Card in Hand when you Call to Order.
As a former call center agent, one of the most annoying things was having to wait on a customer to find their credit card, discovering their credit card did not have sufficient funds to make the purchase, or worse, they had no type of payment method available. After going through a long presentation about a product, a call center agent expects you to have this handy and ready if you wish to place an order. While you always have the option NOT to order, they cannot move on with your order until you have a viable payment method on hand. So think ahead when you call in an order to a company, especially if it’s possible that you will be placing an order.
3) Speak Clearly and Distinctly.
This is the same thing agents are told in training, but it helps with the overall communication if the customer also speaks in a way that it is easily understood. Think about what you need to say before you say it, spelling out difficult words or names if needed, and pause to see if the agent has the information down correctly. This small step can make the entire call experience better for both the agent and the customer.
4) Tell the Agent if you need an Bilingual Agent.
One of the most difficult challenges facing call center representatives is trying to interpret and understand other languages on the phone. While many are trained to take calls in other languages and are bilingual, many are not. If you need a bilingual agent, make this clear at the beginning of the call, so that they may transfer you to an agent who can help you if you are not English-speaking.
5) Ask them to Repeat Information if necessary to verify it is Correct.
Call center agents are trained to verify information but sometimes they think they understood correctly when they didn’t. If you are not sure, and it is something important like your credit card information or other critical data, ask them to repeat it to be sure. They will appreciate your accuracy and will keep them from making an important mistake, which will prevent problems with your order or issue later on.
These are just a few tips that will make your experience in dealing with call center agents a better one. There are many others we will discuss at a future time. As someone who has been on both sides of this equation, accuracy is king. And communication is the key.
Cassie Lummus is an independent writer for answeringserviceunited.com. She specializes in helping small and medium sized businesses grow.