The job of a Communicator encompasses more than just handling phone calls. Today’s contact center is a demanding environment that requires agents to have a broad range of talents and abilities in order to do their job successfully. While there are fundamental skills that every agent should have—including excellent communication skills, a professional demeanor, and the ability to multi-task—there are, I think, three qualities that outstanding Communicators share: empathy, resiliency, and adaptability.
Empathy: “I can understand how frustrated you must feel right now.” It’s a simple but powerful phrase. This and other expressions of care and concern show customers that they are being heard and that their point of view is respected and understood. Outstanding Communicators don’t simply rush into the information and problem-solving phase; they take a “time-out” for a moment of empathy. Doing so puts the customer at ease and changes the tone of the conversation. Knowing that someone cares is often enough to calm a rattled customer, a tactic that immediately begins to change their perception of the service experience.
Resiliency: Challenging customer interactions are a fact of life in the contact center. Outstanding Communicators have the skills to cope with distressing situations and continue to perform at the top of their game no matter how the previous call went. They know how to manage stress and don’t let it affect their level of motivation. People who are self-confident and have a strong sense of purpose—they genuinely want to help—are likely to be more resilient. They also know when to seek help from others.
Adaptability: The contact center is a place of change: no two customers are alike, service interactions vary, and technologies evolve. Communicators who love to learn are an asset because learning happens on an almost daily basis inside the contact center. Those who have the natural ability to “go with the flow” are also usually less prone to stress, and feel positively about change—a feeling that’s likely to be contagious.
Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.