What Traits are Most Important in a Contact Center Agent?

The hiring of new contact center agents is a critical task that can make a profound impact on the efficiency of your business, and the level of service your customers receive.

Chances are you already have a system in place for interviewing prospective agents. But are you sure you are looking for the qualities that are most important? If you find a candidate with these five skills, odds are he or she will become an asset to your contact center.

1. Quick Thinking

The agent will have a script to work from, but prepared statements will not cover every caller’s question or complaint. The best agents are those that react quickly and decisively to solve problems.

2. Clear Communication

When managers assess communication skills, the focus is usually on the speaking voice. Can this potential agent communicate clearly? Does he or she speak with intelligence in a pleasing voice, without a lot of hesitations and “ums” and “ahs”? But as call centers have evolved into contact centers, and agents may be required to engage customers on other
channels, managers should also test a candidate’s written skills – particularly spelling and communicating ideas in complete but concise sentences.

3. Technology

How familiar is the potential agent with various technology platforms? How quickly will he or she become acclimated to the programs and software in your contact center?

4. Product Knowledge

There will always be a learning curve for new agents as they become educated on the products or services your company offers. But it is important that an agent grasp the essentials quickly. That may require homework – is your candidate willing to put in the time?

5. Personality

Agents don’t have to be happy or outgoing all the time to be successful. But the job interview is the time to assess an applicant’s manners, temperament and ability to empathize with the customers he or she may be assisting every day – these qualities are essential.