Ask anyone what they remember from their last customer service call, and they’d probably tell you how the agent sounded bored, enthusiastic, or sincere. Perhaps not even one would mention what they thought of the agents’ technical skills, unless the customer was reaching out for tech support.
Still, soft skills are often less valued than hard or technical skills from call center managers’ viewpoint. Of course, firms must look for digitally savvy call center agents who can easily adapt to a fast-changing workplace, however, an agent’s soft skills can directly impact the customer experience. As such, they must be given prime importance during the recruitment and training phases.
Here are the five soft skills that a bilingual call center agent must have.
1. Cultural sensitivity
Your customers are looking for an authentic, personalized kind of service. In these cases, bilingualism alone is not enough. Agents must also be bicultural, which means they have to be able to relate to and fully understand a foreign culture. This kind of understanding will allow them to connect with customers on a deeper level, thus making your brand more memorable.
2. Taking control of conversations
It’s important to allow customers to talk and express their concerns during a conversation. However, it’s even more important for call center agents to know how to steer a dialog into the right direction—ideally one that will result in faster problem resolution. Thus, an agent must know when to interrupt a customer, when to let the caller talk, and what to say to direct the focus on more important subjects.
The mark of good BPO services is consistency. It’s a sign that customers can depend on and trust you. Your agents must be able to reach a particular level of performance every time they interact with your customers. For a bilingual call center, delivering a consistently great customer experience is non-negotiable.
4. Quick information processing
By now, you already know that customers want everything to be done as quickly as possible. One way to speed up problem resolution is by hiring call center agents with exceptional knowledge retention and information processing skills. This way, they’ll find it easier to understand the big picture and recommend solutions to customer issues.
In an age dominated by technology, what customers want is human-to-human interaction. The best bilingual agents are comfortable in conversations, are okay without scripts, and are able to empathize with customers.