4 training drills to improve soft skills within your contact centre

Soft skills are essential to contact centres. These are the personal attributes that enable us to interact and communicate effectively and collectively with each other and customers alike.

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Here are four training drills that will improve the soft skills within your contact centre.

1. Read emails aloud to enhance writing styles

Each employee in your business is equipped with a different skill level of written communication. Call centres have evolved into multichannel operations and staff must know whether their communication abilities are satisfying expectations.

A frequent problem is that they can use an excessively formal manner. To help them see how they are heard in conversation and email, print off some examples for them to read aloud.

2. Challenge unhelpful thinking

‘Below the line’ and ‘above the line’ thinking refers to attitudes. Below applies to blaming, reactionary or unhelpful thinking, whereas above applies to proactive, accountable and helpful thinking.

It is easy to fall into adapting bad habits and unhelpful thinking, which spreads negativity. To challenge this, think of some scenarios and responses and ask your trainees which responses are above and below the line. For any scenarios that are below the line, additional or alternative responses should be provided.

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  1. The WOQ method

    One of the most difficult things for any contact centre agent is how to overcome an objection. A popular technique is the WOQ approach: welcome, overcome and question.

    This method teaches agents to engage with the customer’s objection, counter it, and take back control. Gather real-life objections that have been encountered to use as practice for your agents.

    4. Open questions

    Customers who are cold called often want to spend as short amount of time on the phone as possible; therefore, answering a lot of questions can be frustrating for them. The perfect solution is to ask only a few ‘open’ questions that enable them to define their needs.

    Closed questions do not move the conversation along effectively, with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ the usual answer. Pair up trainees and ask each to practise asking closed questions and then open questions, which will encourage a questioning pattern that prompts customers to offer their information.

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