Customer Service

6 Skills You Need to Become a Call Center Representative

Written by Peter Jones

A call center representative serves customers, first and foremost. Some job responsibilities include: answering inquiries, determining requirements, fulfilling requests, resolving problems, troubleshooting, and maintaining databases.

They will most often spend the bulk of their time clarifying—either the position of the company or the parameters of the problem the customer is experiencing. Sometimes they will have an opportunity to put sales skills in action—upselling accounts, or adding features to maximize the customer’s experience. And they are responsible for representing the company and bolstering its reputation among its customers and in the world—primarily by providing excellent, detailed, and attentive customer service.

Now, how to become one! Here are the top skills you’ll need to market yourself successfully for a call center representative position.

1. Retention

You may have the ability to look stuff up. But for this job, you’ll need to have the ability to retain what you read and learn and hear. You’ll need to memorize a vast amount of information about your company, as well as typical solutions and how to implement them. And you’ll want to be able to hear the customer’s situation once without getting confused. The goal is never having to be corrected when talking a customer through a problem because you didn’t remember the details of their predicament. You also need to know when you can’t resolve an issue on your own—and who to refer your customer to instead.

2. Attention to Detail

You need this in almost every job, but it’s particularly important at a call center. You’ll be fielding a lot of the same questions every day, so you’ll want to keep an ear out for nuance and make sure you’re still giving each situation unique attention. Make sure to tick all of the possible boxes so your customer feels you truly listened to the question and solved whatever needed to be solved.

3. Flexibility/Friendliness

You’ll have to interact with a lot of different people. Some of them will be unbearably challenging. You need to be able to be effective and considerate even when the person you are speaking with is not returning the favor. Try to treat each new customer with a new and friendly stance. And try not to let the erratic (and often long) hours make you too frustrated to perform.

4. Grace Under Fire

A good call center rep is never flustered, even when fielding a number of irate calls and having to balance a billion little tasks. Keep your cool with the chatty person who won’t get off the phone, as well as with the terse and grumpy one. Just do your job and try to score a positive outcome and you’ll do fine.

5. Speed

Neither you nor the customer has enough time to waste on this call. Make sure you know what you’re doing well enough to be efficient, even fast. Both you and your customers will thank you.

6. Creativity

Remember, each customer and situation are different. Finding a workable solution can be tough—especially if your hands are tied with company policy. Being able and willing to think on your feet to treat each customer with the respect they deserve might just mean you keep customers coming back—and that makes you look extra good during reviews.

About the author

Peter Jones