6 Soft Skills Contact Center Hiring Managers Want

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Customer service as we know it has changed. It’s no longer regarded as just a channel for customers to resolve issues. Customer service has evolved into a strategic part of a company’s brand. Now it’s considered to be a fundamental touchpoint for customers – with agents front and center representing the company’s values, approach to customer care, and ease of doing business. 

In this new era of customer service, minor issue resolution is handled by automated technology. Agents trained in winning customers over for repeat business with the brand they represent are reserved for the more complicated interactions.

And while important skills and processes can be taught to an agent to help them excel. However, certain skill sets (often referred to as soft skills or people skills) require cultivation over time and are highly sought after by contact center hiring managers.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are personal attributes that help someone interreact effectively with others. Unlike hard skills – technical abilities needed to perform a task – soft skills are the “people skills” that rely on emotional intelligence and situational awareness. 

In a contact center setting, soft skills help agents win over customers and provide positive interactions. As a result, agents with soft skills are highly sought after by hiring managers.

Keep reading if you’re looking for a contact center job. We talked to hiring managers to understand the top soft skills and qualities they look for in an agent. If these apply to you, be sure to highlight them on your resume and in your interview. You’ll stand out from the crowd if you do.

1. Trainability and willingness to learn

Even if you have prior contact center agent experience, chances are that your new employer will do things a little differently from your last employer. Therefore, demonstrating your interest and ability to adopt new processes and tools is vital to a hiring manager because it shows them that you are eager to learn and can get up to speed quickly.

2. Active listening 

It seems simple enough that the ability to listen would be a top skill for a contact center agent. But more important than basic listening skills, effective agents are great at active listening. That’s listening to understand – and not simply to react. This allows contact center agents to fully respond to a customer’s question, issue, or needs in a way that resolves those concerns. 

3. Clarity in communication

Just as important as effective listening skills, the ability to respond clearly and efficiently is a critical skill for agents. Efficient communication saves time, with less back and forth needed between agent and customer. For example, an IT helpdesk agent would need the ability to translate technical information into plain speak that the customer understands.

4. Empathy

The ability to connect with customers’ experiences and how they’re feeling are an important factor in making customers feel heard. The empathy shown by a contact center reflects brand authenticity and builds a positive rapport with customers (who may be reaching out with uncertain, angry, or worried feelings). Empathetic connections (you understand and validate what is frustrating the customer) humanize customers’ experiences with the contact center and allow the customer to leave the interaction feeling genuinely helped.

5. Flexibility

For many contact centers, straightforward, repetitive calls are typically handled by automated systems, leaving more complex issues for human agents. As a result, no two calls are the same, and the ability to change gears from call to call is critical.

6. Professionalism

It’s no secret that not all customer service interactions start off positively. Agents sometimes encounter angry, distressed, or frustrated customers. And despite the customer’s feelings, it’s the contact center agent’s role to maintain professional, calm communication throughout the interaction. Better yet, a little empathy will go a long way here – and the ability to combine professionalism and empathy builds trust and rapport.

How do I get hired for a contact center job?

Browse MyKelly for great contact center jobs – both virtual and in-person near you. When you’ve found your favorites, apply by following the simple prompts to enter your personal information and experience. A recruiter will follow up with you quickly if you’re a good match.

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