The top 6 skills to look for in your next Call Centre recruit

The top 6 skills to look for in your next Call Centre recruit

The top 6 skills to look for in your next Call Centre recruit

A recent article in CX CentraI quoted that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first year potential earnings? Ouch!

Call centre skills, on paper, can seem simple to recruit for. Experience in customer service? Check. Worked in a call centre? Check. But truly, if you want a stable team of performers, you need to recruit for attitude and cultural fit, someone whose values complement those of your business and your team.

The top 6 skills according to CX Central a call centre agent should have to be successful are listed below.

1. Empathy

‘The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.’

Empathy is crucial in developing any relationship- whether it’s a brief one with a customer or a more long-standing one with a colleague. If an employee isn’t empathetic, or empathetic enough, it can make for a difficult work environment- no matter how functionally skilled they are. Being able to express to customers (genuinely) that you understand why they would be frustrated can go a long way to diffusing the aggro.

2. Product Knowledge

Customers are more likely to trust sales people who show confidence in themselves and what they are selling. If a call centre agent can quickly and accurately answer questions and give information without putting the customer on hold and/or transferring them to someone else, this is going to add up to a much nicer experience for the person to whom you are trying to give a good impression of your company.

3. Patience

‘The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.’

Customers can be a narky lot. They call to tell you their problems, often very passionately, and with varying degrees of fury. Patience is not just a call centre skill that’s handy, it’s truly an essential part of the DNA of a successful call centre agent. If they get frustrated at customers or add their own negative energy to an already heated situation, it will soon explode into a very poor experience for your customer, to say the least.

4. Active Listening

‘Active listening involves fully concentrating on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. Active listening involves listening with all senses.’

No doubt you’ve had a conversation with someone who is there in body, but not in spirit. They might be making the right, supportive noises: ‘you don’t say’, ‘that’s great’ but they don’t seem particularly interested. It’s pretty annoying, and for a customer, it’s even more annoying, as let’s face it- they were probably annoyed before they even started the conversation.

A call centre agent who provides a positive customer experience needs to show the customer they are listening, which is even more of a challenge over the phone with no visual cues. They need to repeat what they’re being told, re-phrase it in a different way, relate it to their own experience, show the customer that they are truly listening, and that they care.

5. Adaptability

‘Able to adjust oneself readily to different conditions:

Sitting in a call centre, you are not only faced with different products to sell and customer issues to solve, you are surrounded by different personalities in your co-workers, and callers with very different temperaments. This means what works for one person, in terms of effective communication, will unlikely work for the next. A strong call centre agent needs to identify the style of the person they’re dealing with, and adapt their response for the outcome they’re after.

6. Calmness

‘The state or quality of being free from agitation or strong emotion.’

The ability to remain calm when confronted by a very angry person is truly a skill, and one that can be hard to develop. But when faced with off-the-charts-angry customers, truly the only effective response is to remain calm. There are certainly techniques one can implement to learn to be calmer, but in a call centre situation you don’t need or want a hot head working your phones.

For the full article and some great tips on how to look for these skills during the interview process go to