Being a call center agent is demanding. It requires maintaining an understanding, patient, and caring nature while working with frustrated or angry customers and navigating surprise roadblocks.
Despite their hard work, public perception of agents isn’t always favorable. And within the contact center, leaders don’t always consider agents to be the valuable assets they are.
It’s likely that common myths and stereotypes about agents are impacting the way leaders run contact centers and how many resources they offer agents, which hurts customer experience in the long run.
These are the three biggest misconceptions about contact center agents and why they aren’t true. Plus: what you can do to change the narrative.
Misconception #1: Agents are just in it for the paycheck.
Of course, agents need a paycheck to pay their bills and support their families. But being an agent isn’t solely about the money.
There’s a purpose behind the role of a call center agent. The agent is doing much more than talking to the customer; they’re actively guiding them to a solution.
So, those who don’t care about customers won’t last in customer service. Agents need to love working with people and care about helping them to do well at their jobs and remain satisfied with their work.
“A customer service agent is more than a person answering the phone and reading a script. They’re there to help a customer get to the next step. When done right, that can make a huge impact on a customer’s day.”
—Jenny Dempsey, Consumer Experience Manager at Apeel
Why do customers feel agents don’t care?
It comes down to complex customer issues. If customers are dealing with complicated problems and finally get to the agent only to answer the same questions over again, they feel frustrated, naturally.
But agents aren’t putting customers through the same conversations because they don’t care about providing a satisfactory experience or are too lazy to look up the customer’s history. It’s because agents are typically flying blind, trying to solve each puzzle without having any of the pieces. They want to help customers solve issues quickly and efficiently but often lack the right information to do so.
Contact centers need to give agents the full context of each customer’s journey so they can avoid creating a poor customer experience while they search for information.
Misconception #2: Agents are lazy.
There’s a great amount of flexibility built into the role of the agent, which causes contact center leaders—and customers—to believe that agents tend to slack off. There’s a pervasive stereotype that agents sit in their chairs all day and passively read scripts for every call instead of sincerely helping customers.
But that simply isn’t true. If an agent is reading from a script, that means it’s all they’ve been given.
Each agent can only work as well as the knowledge, training, and technology they have access to. Bad training and technology = bad customer service.
While it may seem like agents aren’t putting in much effort, they’re doing the best they can with what they have. For agents to do better and deliver a satisfactory experience, contact centers need to equip them with the right information.
Misconception #3: Agents don’t know what they’re doing.
One source of this misconception is when agents don’t receive thorough training and aren’t equipped to work effectively.
But if agents are well-prepared with knowledge on how to resolve most customer scenarios, there’s another way this misconception comes into play. That’s when leaders don’t effectively communicate change with agents.
When IT updates a consumer-facing website or when contact center leaders alter a specific process, agents need to be informed. When these changes aren’t clearly communicated to agents, they pass inaccurate or incomplete information to customers.
Without the right information, even the most knowledgeable agent won’t be able to assist their customers.
Contact center leaders need to be proactive about communicating change to ensure agents accurately resolve issues. Bringing important conversations to your agents not only gives them what they need to succeed but also makes them feel valued and confident.
Change the narrative around your agents—both in the contact center and outside of it.
Agents care about more than their paycheck. They’re not lazy or unskilled.
Agents are compassionate and capable people committed to solving customer issues. They just need the right resources to get there.
Ensure your agents meet customer expectations by helping them from start to finish, whether they need simplified technology, better training, or more transparency.
See how Vistio can help you support your agents.