6 Professional Skills Shared by Moms and Contact Center Agents
Do you think motherhood skills don’t apply to the working world? Think again. Ask any working mother, or father for that matter, if some of their parenting skills are transferrable to the workforce and they’ll tell you yes. Time management, negotiation, communication, crisis management, these are all vital skills we look for when hiring for different roles, particularly contact center agents. Though the school of life often comes with no formal certification, if you listed all the valuable, helpful skills that lead to agent success, these top 6 professional skills shared by moms and contact center agents should certainly be included.
Mothers must be masters of time management, often juggling daily responsibilities such as housework, errands, and appointments. It’s much like a busy contact center where there are many customers to serve, and multiple things to balance, such as taking calls/emails, managing breaks, training and one on ones with supervisors. Both are fast-paced environments, where it’s easy to get off track unless you keep to a schedule that allows you to be efficient with your time and to meet your responsibilities and deadlines. Agents soon learn that time management is especially important in a contact center because it allows them to serve customers effectively and to meet their key performance indicators (KPIs).
Mothers also need to be good communicators and often convey authority by being knowledgeable and clear. Clear, effective communication is also vital in a tech support or customer care role, where you may need to guide customers through various steps or instructions. Often, agents may need to distill complex concepts into much simpler explanations and must convey information clearly, which is a great professional skill that many gain on the job. Our itel agents also learn many of these essential communication skills at our in-house foundational training, where we teach agents how to be excellent communicators through active listening skills – because a good communicator is also a good listener.
Ever tried negotiating a bedtime with a young child? It can be daunting. Mothers learn early on how to win people over through skillful negotiation, or to find compromises which satisfy both parties - an incredibly useful trait in professional environments. This is particularly true when it comes to agents who provide third party collections services, where payment arrangements may need to be negotiated with customers. This is when agents need to show empathy and understanding, and be respectful, but also firm when trying to recover unpaid debt, without harassment or threats. This is when good negotiation skills come into play and often result in more effective debt recovery rates.
Mothers must often hone the skill of focusing on several tasks at once. They may need to make dinner, while also helping with homework and tackling a phone call. Multitasking is a skill critical for agent success in a busy contact center environment, where agents will be on the phone with customers, while also navigating different systems and resources. They may need to serve different channels, such as email or live chat, or different lines of business simultaneously, which is why cross training is so important. It optimizes workforce productivity and management by allowing agents to serve several lines of business within a single account, allowing companies to flexibly shift workers where they are needed most.
Mothers are used to dealing with crises, whether it’s a playground injury or something much more serious. They’ve learned how to stay calm in stressful situations by addressing challenges methodically and focusing on resolutions. It’s a skill that can only be learned through experience. Also, it’s a vital professional skill for customer care agents who must remain calm when presented with high-stress situations, such as irate or distressed customers. In a crisis, agents need to be able to detect and defuse customer frustration, so they can address their concerns promptly and present solutions. Sentiment analysis tools, such as the ones we employ at itel, that detect customer emotions through speech patterns and keywords, can help agents in assessing and de-escalating problems quickly.
Being a Persuasive Influencer
Mothers are some of the most powerful influencers in their children’s lives. They will influence a child’s values, beliefs, likes and dislikes, and must persuade them to try things they may not initially want to try, such as vegetables. The ability to influence is not only a useful skill for parents but also a highly sought after skill for customer care or sales agents, who often act as brand ambassadors promoting new products and services. We actively recruit agents who can demonstrate strong persuasion techniques, and our itel Sales Academy further teaches agents how to close the sale or to upsell through skillful and subtle persuasion techniques.
Why We Embrace Parents and Their Professional Skills
These six professional skills will lead to professional success in the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) or contact center industry, and success in all areas of life. These valuable skillsets, hard-earned through motherhood or fatherhood, or through on-the-job experience, lead to better outcomes for clients and customers. They also allow agents to excel in their roles, leading to many other opportunities for promotion, professional recognition, and advancement.
Unfortunately, in 2020, according to the International Labour Organization, over 2 million moms left the workforce, either by choice or necessity, and many are hesitant to return. Years spent out of the professional world have many women feeling “left behind”, not knowing how to address these gaps in job applications or worrying that they will be perceived as lacking the necessary skills or experience to successfully re-enter the workforce.
This is why, when looking at our company hiring practices, we strive to be diverse, welcoming, and open to people from all walks of life. Although we have a youthful workforce, many are also parents or single parents, and we are happy to provide a place of comfort and opportunity where all people prosper, and the strengths and skills accrued through parenting can be applied.
Contact center careers also offer the flexibility that parents need to balance the demands of both work and family life. Many shifts have later or earlier start times that allow them to pick up or drop off their children at school, while evening and weekend shifts allow parents with babies and infants to trade off with their partners, so that once one is home, the other can take on some work shifts. While our comprehensive healthcare benefits help families to remain healthy, happy and to get the care they need in order to thrive.
So, if there was ever any doubt, we say, look to these 6 professional skills shared by mothers and contact center agents, and know that these transferable life skills can set you up for success in your career and at home.
Interested in becoming part of our itel family? Check out our Careers Page and open job listings.