Call Center Etiquette to Coach Service Agents

How to train agents for exemplary customer service and monitor their progress

Call Center Etiquette to Coach Service Agents
Contact CentreStrategy

Last Edited: September 28, 2022

CX Today Team

Small gestures of politeness and mindful behavior can leave a positive impression on callers and improve overall customer sentiment towards a brand. This makes it crucial for call centers to train agents on proper etiquette and the rules to follow when handling an interaction.

Top Call Center Etiquette Tips to Coach Service Agents

When coaching customer service agents, here are the top areas to cover:

Prompt (But Not Hasty) Answering

Nobody particularly enjoys being on hold, even while making an important service-related phone call. A customer care representative with good phone manners should try to answer the phone within the first three rings. Answering the phone too soon may startle the consumer; answering it too late may make it seem that customer service is not a priority. A robust ACD system can connect agents with callers faster and more effectively.

The Tone of Voice

Agents will seem in charge and competent if they talk in a clear and calm voice, which will inspire trust. This will help remove any uncertainty and ensure customers understand them. It’s important to avoid stuttering and excessive repetition. A good idea is to sound pleasant and confident – which should emanate across the conversation.


Taking notes while attending to a caller will make capturing essential follow-up information easy. First, agents should record the caller’s name and contact information. Making notes can help agents understand what the consumer is asking for and will expedite response time. Adding notes to a CRM guarantees that all phone conversations follow a predetermined structure.

Intimation Before Putting On-Hold

If agents must put a client on-hold for some reason, they must first obtain their consent. This is a common omission in call center etiquette that may be annoying for the caller. When agents return to the line, they must always sincerely thank the customer for their cooperation. Playing music while on hold is also a practice that can improve caller experiences.

Communicating Respect

Agents should maintain composure, respond reasonably, and handle each caller as if they were their most valued client. Respect also entails making an effort to understand the caller’s requirements and attempting to fulfill them genuinely. Agents should make an effort to understand the root causes of the customer’s issue, recognize how their situation influences their behavior, and react compassionately.

Competence and Preparedness

Agents must possess a certain level of expertise to handle the caller’s demands thoroughly. When a customer’s expectations are too complex, they must direct them to an associate with greater understanding and experience who can successfully address their problem or concern. Before a call, agents can also prepare by quickly looking up the customer’s CRM record and interaction history.

Avoid Absentmindedness

Sometimes, during a call, the customer will encounter tell-tale signs that the agent is not present – for example, if an agent asks why the customer is calling when they already stated why at the beginning of the call, or if the agent asks for the customer’s name multiple times during the conversation. Agents must disconnect from all other activities and concentrate only on the caller.

Letting the Customer Talk

The cardinal principle of telephone etiquette – and politeness in general – is not to interrupt. This is a major no-no for contact center workers talking to existing and future clients. It is critical to train contact center personnel to listen – for as long as needed – to make customers feel appreciated and respected. Listening to a consumer’s narrative (even if they are very unhappy) will help them feel heard and respected.


After answering a call, the first task for an agent is to identify themselves. Instead of just answering the phone with “Hello,” contact center employees should follow a playbook to guarantee that the caller understands whom they’ve reached and that the person answering the phone is ready to assist.

Background Noise

Background noise can be both distracting and unprofessional. Agents should refrain from activating their speakerphones. This allows both parties to hear one other and ensures they pay close attention to calls. If the workplace is loud or congested, noise-cancelling headsets can help conduct noise-free calls.

Adaptive Communication

Some customers prefer different communication strategies. Agents should detect this and react appropriately. If a client is talkative, starting a conversation with them can be helpful, for example.

How to Coach Service Agents on Call Center Etiquette

The first step to effectively educating contact center agents is to discover what they are already aware of. Managers should let agents make simulated calls and monitor how they react to customers (studying their tone of voice, decorum, articulation, and response efficacy). Various live call training techniques are also available, including call whisper, call monitoring, and call barge – geared to coach agents.

  • Live call monitoring allows managers to listen in on agents’ conversations with consumers without their knowledge. This is an excellent approach to learning how well agents adhere to contact center etiquette guidelines.
  • Call whisper, like live call monitoring, is a technology used to listen in on discussions between staff and customers. With this technology, the agent is aware that a supervisor is present.
  • As a final resort, call barge can be deployed. If agents handle a problem poorly, a supervisor might intercept, or join the conversation, to review the issue.

Senior leaders and decision-makers should create contact center etiquette standards, invest adequate resources for practical training, and stringently monitor compliance.

Check out our guide to handling problem callers for more ideas to improve call center etiquette.


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