7 Proven Call Control Techniques that Empower Contact Center Agents

Call control refers to the ability of a customer service agent to guide and manage a conversation with a customer

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7 Proven Call Control Techniques that Empower Contact Center Agents - CX Today News
Contact CentreInsights

Published: February 23, 2024

Anwesha Roy - UC Today

Anwesha Roy

In a nutshell, it’s about maintaining control and steering the interaction towards a positive resolution.

Think of it like being the captain of your own ship. You’re responsible for navigating through any rough waters that may come your way. Whether you’re dealing with an irate customer, handling multiple inquiries at once, or trying to stay calm amidst chaos, call control is what keeps you on course.

This means you’ll have to employ techniques and strategies that keep the conversation focused, concise, and effective. The goal is to offer exceptional service while ensuring that both parties can speak their mind, and are in agreement.

7 Call Control Techniques to Guide Tricky Conversations

When you work in a contact center, dealing with tricky conversations is, in many ways, all in a day’s work.. Here are seven call control techniques every agent needs to know and implement:

1. Ask closed-ended questions

These are questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” or with specific information.  For example, instead of asking, “Can you tell me about the issue you’re experiencing?” which may lead to a long-winded response, try asking, “Is your internet connection currently working?”

This lets you gather important data quickly without getting sidetracked by lengthy explanations. Agents can take charge  of the conversation while still showing empathy towards customers.

2. Succinctly summarize what you just heard

When you summarize what you’ve heard from the customer, it shows that you were actively listening and that you value their input. It also helps ensure that both parties are on the same page before moving forward with any solutions or further discussions.

To ensure call control through summarization, use simple and concise language that captures the key ideas/issues raised by the customer. Avoid rehashing everything they said word-for-word; instead, focus on capturing the essence of their message.

3. Be polite but firm with digressions

Sometimes customers may go off in an utterly tangential direction or start sharing personal anecdotes that have little relevance to their issue. While it’s important to be polite and empathetic, you also need to steer the conversation back on track.

Acknowledge what the customer has shared briefly, then gently guide them back to the topic at hand. For example, you could say something like, “I understand how frustrating that can be, so let’s focus on resolving your technical issue first.”

Instead of engaging in a meandering discourse,, politely reiterate their original concern and try offering solutions again.

4. Don’t let your impatience show

We all have those moments when we just want to get through a call as quickly as possible, especially if it’s a challenging or frustrating conversation. However, any sign of impatience can make the customer feel like they’re not being heard.

Instead, take a deep breath and remind yourself to stay calm and patient. Even if you’ve heard the same complaint multiple times in one day, treat each interaction as unique and give them the time they need. If you find yourself getting frustrated, try to shift your focus onto finding solutions as a call control technique rather than dwelling on any negative emotions you may be feeling.

5. Ground the call by referring to customer data

When you have access to valuable information about your customers, such as their previous interactions, preferences, or purchase history, it can help you retain control during tricky conversations. For example, if a customer has called before regarding a billing issue, acknowledging their previous concern can help build trust and alleviate any frustration they may be feeling.

Additionally, referring to customer data allows you to remind the customer gently of the real issue at hand and regain call control.

6. Avoid long silences or gaps in the conversation

When there are long periods of silence during the call, it can make customers feel like their concerns aren’t being taken seriously or that you’re not really listening. Also, they may digress into an unrelated topic or start explaining the issue in painstaking detail, which only delays time to resolution.

To maintain call control, here are a few tips to avoid those dreaded lulls:

  • Try to always have something ready to say or ask next
  • Practice active listening to prevent periods of absentmindedness where you might go quiet unintentionally.
  • If there are any technical reasons causing a pause in the call, let your customer know what you’re doing.

7. Remember to be friendly but not a friend

While being friendly can help build rapport and create a positive experience, it’s crucial to remember that you still need to maintain professionalism – otherwise, you may lose control of the call.

Being friendly means using polite language, showing empathy towards the customer’s concerns, and demonstrating genuine concern for their needs. However, avoid becoming too familiar or overly chatty with customers. Engaging in lengthy conversations about unrelated topics or sharing personal information is neither appropriate nor necessary.

Why Call Control is an Essential Contact Center Skill

Mastering call control techniques is crucial – not only for a better CX but also for agent efficiency and productivity. By retaining call control, agents can manage difficult conversations with ease and provide fast and effective  service to customers.

When implemented correctly, these seven techniques result in smooth and streamlined interactions, increased first-call resolution rates, improved customer satisfaction scores, and ultimately deeper relationships.

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