So you’ve passed the call center interview, done with the product knowledge, and will now go through the last stage of training: your call center nesting. Call center nesting is last the stage of training when you have to apply all that you’ve learned from your lectures, and that is, to take calls and officially perform the full tasks of a call center agent. The only difference between call center nesting and a regular shift is the duration. While a regular shift lasts for 8 hours, call center nesting only last around 2-3 hours. The remaining hours will be spent with your trainer going over a lot of questions. Here’s how to pass call center nesting and land your job offer.
Stages of a call center nesting test
1. Shadowing: listening to live calls.
This usually lasts around 1-2 days. Consider yourself lucky if it lasts up to 3 days.
Your trainer assigns a tenured rep as your partner and you’ll both wear a double jack headset that allows the tenured rep to take calls as usual, and lets you listen live.
The agent’s task: To answer your questions.
However, make no mistake of pestering your agent with questions every 3 minutes, especially if those questions can be easily addressed during your lectures. Your agent’s free time is limited so make the most of it by asking smart questions.
A good rule of thumb would be: do not ask questions that were already discussed during training! Like seriously.
Take note of the most common inquiries and issues.
Common issues will make up 80% of the calls so the more you prepare for them, the easier your life will be during the actual nesting stage.
Take note of the solutions.
Let’s say, one of the common customers’ requests is order cancellation. That means you have to take note of the process involved in cancelling an order.
Here’s a sample note you could write for yourself:
If customer wants to cancel an order:
1. Ask why she wants to cancel.
2. If the reason was order error, cancel the order.
3. If it’s because she wasn’t happy about a minor issue that can be easily fixed, try to retain the order, and see if she agrees.
4. But if she pushes through the cancellation, cancel the order.
Note: The solution will vary according to the company’s policy. If the company allows you to just go ahead and cancel the order without asking a question, then go right ahead, cancel the order. What’s written above is just a sample note.
Now compare it to not having that note everytime a customer cancels an order. Chances are, you’ll annoy the hell out of your trainer.
Take note of the step by step processes and tools involved.
In the previous company I worked for, agents need to email the Refunds department before the cancellation is approved. In other companies, it’s as straightforward as clicking a cancel button. Whatever it is that facilitates the customers’ requests is called process.
Tools, on the other hand, are the computer programs involved used within those processes. For example, the tool needed to cancel an order might be different from the tool to call back a customer. Therefore, familiarize yourself with all of the company’s tools. There’s an average of 5-10 tools in an account. Count yourself lucky if you have less.
Before your nesting period though, your trainer will go over the company’s tools and discuss their function.
2. How to pass call center nesting (the actual)
At this point, your trainer will explain the grading system of how you’ll be rated. The grading system will of course vary from one call center to another, but here are the things you need to really know like the back of your had in order to pass.
The call flow
At this point, you have to know the call flow as if it’s second nature. There’s no way you’ll pass without executing it properly. Every part you miss during your calls is be a deduction from your score. As a review, here’s what makes up a basic customer service call flow:
The opening should contain the company’s name for branding, the agent’s name, and a “how may I help you?”
Thank you for calling PisoPinoy. This is Candace, how may I help you?
Empathize if the customer experienced an inconvenience that your company caused. On the other hand, if she’s only requesting for a mundane task like email subscription, just assure her that you’ll do it for her.
I’m sorry that you have to go through multiple errors while placing the orders. I’ll definitely look into it now to see what’s wrong.
Sure, I’ll happy to subscribe you to our weekly email list!
Find out the problem through probing questions
After the customer states her problem, you should already have a clear understanding about the customer’s exact goal for calling. If it’s not that clear, then probe further.
Ask probing questions, if and only, you don’t know the exact cause of the customer’s problem. Usually, customers describe their problems in vague terms that are different from the terms you learned from the training. It’s your job to zero in on the exact problem by asking probing questions.
Customer: I have a hard time checking out. Your site doesn’t let me order. When I put the items in my basket, it doesn’t do anything. It just freezes. What is going on?
You: (Empathize first.) Are you seeing any error message when you attempt to place the order?
Customer: Bear with me, what exactly is an “error message”?
You: It’s a message in red letters that explains the reason why the order isn’t going through. Can you check if you’re seeing a message in red on your checkout page?
Customer: Ah! I see it now. It says, ‘Error 303: Please use an international card.”
Due to the series of probing questions and answers you said to the customer during the call, you’re able to zero in on the exact cause of the error.
When asking probing questions, keep them to a minimum as much as possible. Don’t ask unnecessary questions just to have something to say. If you’re confused, put the customer on hold.
Here’s the proper way of putting the customer on hold: state how long it’s gonna be, why you’re putting her on hold, and ask permission.
Linda, can I put you hold you for 1 to 2 minutes to check this with my supervisor?
If you need more time, make sure to get back to her within the promised hold time and ask for more time.
You: Thanks for holding, Linda.
You: My supervisor says this is the first time he’s encountered this kind of issue. Can I ask for another 2-3 minutes? He’s already looking into it now.
Most customers will understand it but brace yourself for the minority who will won’t be happy about it. (Such is life in customer service.) If they’re impatient about it, then just rephrase why you need extra time and how it’ll solve her problem.
Customer: Well, the fact that he’s a supervisor really is surprising. How could he be a supervisor and not know everything?
You: This is our first encounter with this issue. But he’s already checking your file right now as we speak so we should be able to get you an answer shortly.
If you aren’t sure yet if it’s the company’s fault, do not apologize. The moment the customer gets an apology, she’ll instantly assume it’s your company’s fault and will likely start demanding unreasonable requests.
Apologize though, if it’s clearly your company’s fault.
Provide the resolution
Now that you have a clear understanding of the exact cause of the issue, it’s time to give the customer’s resolution.
What if the customer doesn’t approve of the resolution? Or what if she has a different resolution in mind? In that case, provide an alternative, or a kind of compromise alternative that will both meet the customer’s wish halfway, while still following the company’s policy.
Let’s say the customer is demanding for a refund for damaged item that’s beyond your company’s allotted time frame. If your company policy allows, you can issue a 50% refund.
Most company place their own “compromise” rules or exceptions to provide a better experience for the customers, so use of them. Of course, if you aren’t sure whether it’s possible, ask your trainer, all the time.
Offer additional assistance
Is there anything else that I may help you with today?
One sentence and one sentence only, but if you miss this, it’s a big deduction from your score.
Thank you for calling ABC. Have a great day. Bye!
This should include the company’s name for branding, and a short parting words. If you wish you can include your name but usually isn’t necessary.
What to expect during call center nesting
You’ll forget most of what you learned from training during actual nesting.
Especially on the first day taking calls. Half of your mind will juggle through a lot of half-digested information in your memory, and the other half will be busy thinking of what to say next to the customer. If you aren’t a native English speaker, the harder it is.
Not that your training was useless. Your brain is just getting used to the deluge of information that it usually doesn’t handle in such a short period of time.
Expect to feel confused and overwhelmed.
The product training alone will boggle your mind. Don’t expect it to be any easier when the call center nesting comes. The good news? Like any challenge, there’s always a way to pass this. But it’ll require all your effort.
Don’t pretend to know everything because you don’t.
If you need to ask, ask. However, once you get the answer, take note of it. Don’t let it go. Don’t trust your memory to remember everything. Write it down!
Expect to ask a lot of questions, but make sure they’re reasonable.
There’ll be questions that won’t occur for you to ask until you’ve actually talked to customers over the phone. This is normal and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. Give it 2-3 weeks and you’ll get the hang of it.
But remember to never ask questions about simple facts that you can locate in your manual for seconds. That’s just inconsiderate of everyone’s time.
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