There are some forbidden words, which should never be uttered. Saying them makes the matters worse, ALWAYS! There is a track record that tells whenever these forbidden words were spoken, the outcome was bad.
So which words should be forbidden for call center agents, (whose job requires them to utter thousands of words each day)? After all, the agents can ill afford to speak anything that will worsen the situation or have a bad outcome!
These forbidden words are: ‘I don’t know.’
These three words might appear harmless, but the damage they do to customer relationship is indeed irreparable! We explain how:
Try to picture a customer who rings up the toll free customer support number. Obviously nobody calls up the customer care number to gab. The customer calls only when they are stuck in a difficult situation and need help, or they have some queries and need answers. And they expect the call center agent to offer it – answers or help or both.So now if the agent would turn around and say ‘I don’t know’, then there is every reason for the caller to feel exasperated. The caller thinks, and also often says things like ‘Then who on earth will know’, ‘Isn’t it your job to know’, ‘Please connect me to someone who knows better’, in response to the flat ‘I don’t know’ statement of the agent.
Agents should know
The customers are absolutely correct when they say that it is the job of the agents to know. Just like there is no substitute for hard work, similarly, there is no substitute for knowledge either.
Therefore it is the practice to have rigorous training sessions for all the agents before they take their seats in the inbound call center. These training’s are directed at equipping the agents with complete technical knowledge about the product, its features, how-to-use-it and how-to-fix-it.
At Bluechip Callcenter, we also conduct a written test to evaluate the understanding of the agents. If their fundamentals are completely clear, then they have to go through a series of mock-calls. Only after their knowledge is verified through a series of tests, are they allowed to assume full-fledged work.
If not, then Agents should find out
Despite a thorough training, it might be possible that the agent might not recollect the right answer at the given moment. It is only human if you forget. Or it is also possible that the customer’s question was not part of the syllabus you got trained in, and you have no clue about it. Situations lie these are the true test of the skills of the agent. A naïve or unprofessional one will simply blurt out ‘I don’t know’. But a more refined and experienced agent will say ‘Let me find out’. If the query can be answered with just a quick reference, then the agent may request the customer to hold for a few minutes, while the agent looks up the answer. Or if searching the answer requires more time, then the agent should offer to call back with the answer.
It is okay if the agent doesn’t know the answer at the moment, but it is necessary for them to be prompt enough to find it out. So the agents should never utter the forbidden phrase. Because knowing the solution is not just their job, but their responsibility also!