Nobody was born with soft skills. In fact, as you’ll soon read, few people actually have soft skills, even in a call center environment where you need them to keep your job. So how can a person succeed without any soft skill strengths whatsoever?
We tapped into the wisdom of the Call Center Geek himself, Thomas Laird!
Let’s talk about soft skills, right? Can someone actually succeed without having a strength in the soft skill area?
Almost Nobody Has Soft Skill Strengths
The thing that we’re finding is that almost nobody has it. Or that very few have it. So then, everybody’s in a texting world now. Very few, especially if they’re in that millennial, if they’re in their 20s and even getting into the 30s, they’re really interacting like you and I. This is probably even weird because it’s like face to face.
Everybody’s Texting – Onboarding Must Take that into Account
Everybody’s texting. Everybody’s using different types of languages with how they interact. They talk to their friends differently than you can talk to a customer. So, it’s really, really important in that onboarding training and your ongoing training that you’re constantly working on that.
Focus on Education
One of the things that we do, you know, is we have an hour of education that we don’t bill the clients. But every single program, they just go and we don’t talk about any of the monitoring report, we do that in a different area. We’re not talking about monitoring or quality.
We’re just talking about those types of soft skills – how you’re going to talk to each-other. If a client or if a customer calls in and they say this – what are some of the things that you can impart or come back with that are the proper tone.
Tone Is the Message
A lot of it is – we’re seeing this as well – it’s not really what you say. We say the tone is the message, right? it’s kind of how they say it. The rep will be like: “what do you mean? I said exactly what you want me to say!” Well, you did, but that tone that you had is something else that goes along with some of that soft skill.
It’s an industry issue. Because of just how society is right now. And it’s not wrong. It’s just kind of where we are and what needs to be changed depending on the program.
Different Types of Messages for Different Clients
Let me just add this too Christian – for us, the really cool thing about being a BPO is we have a lot of different clients with a lot of different cultures. Right? We have some tech startups where we can be like “hey, what’s up man? How you doing?” – you can talk like that on the phone, right? But then we have other financial services: “Ma’am thank you for calling, this is *company name*” – there you’re very formal.
So that’s another thing that kind of makes us a little bit better. Because we have so many different ways that we have to communicate, you kind of get good at it depending on what the client is looking for.
It’s a Constant Struggle to Make Improvements
Well obviously, you’re going to have those reps that can do multiple ones really well and then you have some that are actually just really good at one or the other. So it does give you some variety to do there.
So, it sounds like definitely soft skills is something you focus on, you teach on it. It’s something that’s not inherently common with some of the reps out the gate. But it’s something you’re constantly working on. It sounds like you have a program that focuses on it. It’s not like a “one and done” – like “I did it and everyone’s alright.”
You have to constantly be reinforcing that so you would say that: yeah, absolutely you can teach it for those that may not have it. Or you can teach it well enough that if you have a program in place that does some frontend and then maintenance ongoing, that it absolutely can be done enough to make a positive improvement in the experience.
Tools, Technology, and QA Help
Yeah and I think that some of the technology that we have now helps with that. Right? With sentiment reporting, with analytics, with those types of things we can really look at tone and be able to have reps now.
Obviously, that’s part of everyone’s QA, when they’re doing QA monitoring and quality assurance. But now with some of the tools that we have from that standpoint I think it’s made things better where you’re being more proactive in catching it than before when we were just trying to listen and catch a needle in a haystack with what an associate’s doing.
Summing It Up
From what Christian and Tom have been saying, it seems like a person can definitely succeed without any soft skill strengths. The only question is how much time you’re willing to spend on training.
Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments! Looking forward to an interesting discussion.
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