Course Outcomes

This course for call-center agents will:

  • Review the ins and outs of good telephone etiquette and telephone communication.
  • Suggest strategies for building rapport with callers and setting the tone for a positive call.
  • Offer best practices for placing callers on hold, transferring calls, leaving messages, and documenting conversations.
  • Provide suggestions for showing empathy and understanding to callers.
  • Offer techniques for dealing with difficult calls.
  • Recommend language and processes for saying “no.”

Course Overview

While artificial intelligence can handle a vast number of customer concerns, many calls still require the assistance of a living and breathing call-center agent. The skills that a person possesses can mean the difference between a successful interaction and a caller who is less than satisfied. This interactive workshop covers the fundamental skills all call-center agents should be able to demonstrate with ease.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Identify positive and negative behaviors that can impact a call.
  • Describe good telephone communication and appropriate call etiquette.
  • Transfer calls, place callers on hold, and document conversations.
  • Show empathy toward callers.
  • Reduce barriers to effective communication.
  • Handle difficult calls and callers.
  • Say “no” appropriately.
  • Use metrics to learn and grow in their roles as agents.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

No Visual Help: What’s Missing in Telephone Communication

This course begins with a discussion around communication in a call-center environment. During this part of the program, participants will identify behaviors that make an agent good, behaviors that sabotage an agent’s effectiveness, and the challenges that can make giving great service difficult. We will use the answers to those questions to confirm the day’s agenda and identify any additional topics the group wants to add to the session.

Smooth Moves: Keys to Great Communication

The next part of the course focuses on communication, call etiquette, and what needs to happen between an agent and a caller for the process to work well. Next, we will explore such activities as setting a positive tone, listening and confirming what is said, asking appropriate questions, and using questions to guide callers through the decision-making process.

Managing Mechanics: Holds, Transfers, Messages, and Documentation

Great agents have mastered the mechanics of the phone.  They know how to place people on hold, transfer calls, and leave good messages for others. In this workshop segment, we’ll explore best practices for performing those functions and the importance of documenting and capturing the essence of a conversation.

Easy Talking: Verbal Communication

Call center agents must sound fresh, whether they are taking call number one or call number one hundred. This workshop segment focuses on actions agents can take to stay fresh and focused throughout the day. We will also look at words and phrases that are positive and leave callers feeling good about an agent’s interactions with them.

Feeling Others’ Feelings: Practicing Empathy

Sometimes callers are distressed, unhappy, or unsure. An agent with good empathy skills can mean the difference between a great experience for a caller and one that is merely satisfactory or worse. In this part of the workshop, we will focus on empathy and how to quickly identify with another person’s feelings. 

Lowering Barriers: Connecting with Callers

“I couldn’t understand what he was saying. His English wasn’t that good, and I don’t speak anything else. I did my best, but it wasn’t good.” “She wasn’t getting it. She seemed confused. She reminded me of my great grandmother. I tried to help, but I don’t think I did.” From time to time, even the best agents will encounter situations that test their skills. In this part of the course, we will look at techniques for overcoming obstacles that can reduce a call’s effectiveness. 

Sorry: Knowing When to Apologize

Some agents will apologize when they and their organizations are not at fault. In the long run, that behavior does more to damage the relationship with callers than to enhance it. This part of the course looks at “I’m sorry” and when to use it. It also offers alternative language for showing understanding and concern for callers.

But, However, and Nevertheless: Saying “No”

Delivering bad news and saying “no” can be two of the most challenging aspects of a call-center agent’s job. This seminar segment focuses on how to deliver bad news and the importance of having an explanation, information about where to go if the answer is not satisfactory, and if they exist, alternative solutions.  

Metrics: Understanding Measures

Some call centers track such formal metrics as call volume, call length, or orders processed. Some don’t. There are good arguments for both approaches. Regardless of the environment in which they work, top agents track their progress. They pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t. In this final part of the program, we will discuss best practices for measuring a team’s success and actions the group can take to learn from each other. 

At the conclusion of this course, participants should have a renewed sense of purpose and new skills they can deploy back on the call-center floor.