1. Talent acquisition: A changing of the guard.
It’s no secret that recruiting in call centers – and many other industries, for that matter – has been largely transactional in the past. There have also been times when circumstances have caused call centers to go back to the dark ages where butts in seats were king and talent acquisition just wasn’t a realistic approach.
So, where do you fall? Are you still finding yourself struggling to acquire high-quality talent that’s a good fit, or are you still primarily checking the box of the job requirements? And, beyond this, are your profiles and job descriptions in sync? In other words, have you taken the time to outline the type of attributes candidates should possess in order to be the most successful in the long term in the position?
For many call centers, the changing of the guard in this respect has either been slow or nonexistent. As a result, many facilities end up hiring the wrong people. This, of course, creates a snowball effect that impacts not only the quality of your customer service program but also your brand and retention rate – which all ultimately threaten your goals and bottom line. And since it is well understood that retraining and/or replacing employees is one of the number one blows to a budget, you can take steps to avoid this by hiring the right people in the first place.
So, how do you get the profiles right so you can hire properly from the get-go?
- First, you must understand which roles are highly specialized and which are not – and with the highly specialized roles, you must know which certifications and/or skills to look for. For instance, content moderation positions require individuals with very specific experience and knowledge, while more general customer support roles don’t.
Second, you need to establish the type of person who can excel in each role. Even if you can’t find someone with years of experience in that exact specialized role they’re applying for, you should know the type of person who is best suited for it so you can find them. This is where having an understanding beyond simply checking the box of job description requirements will come into play. Understanding the bigger picture of the role will lead you to identify and source the right candidates for the position.
2. Insufficient vetting of skill sets.
Let’s say you handled the first stage of recruiting well. You had your profiles established, and you made sure to extend an offer to the people who had the right traits for the role and fit the necessary qualifications. Sounds like you did it all correctly… right? Well, not necessarily. The next big error we see that’s regularly made in call center recruitment is a lack of adequate skill testing. Many facilities simply take applicants’ resumes at face value and fail to properly test that they do in fact have the skills they claim to.
Think about the example of someone who is supposed to be bilingual. How does your call center assess their language skills? We’ve heard of many instances in which a call center will ask another agent to speak to a candidate in the languages they say they’re fluent in – and then check that box and move on. But just because someone can get by conversationally in a given language doesn’t mean they can use verbiage specific to your industry in that language too. It also doesn’t mean they can write in that language, which is crucial for an agent who has to manage the chat. If your call center doesn’t have the right tools or processes to test language skills or other specific skills needed, there’s a high likelihood you’ll be putting employees in place who won’t fulfill their roles.
At Conectys, we have extensive skill vetting processes in place to ensure our team members are all qualified and experienced in the areas we need them to be. We use Berlitz language testing, skill simulations, and hold our new hires to very high standards. If the call center you work with isn’t doing this, you can’t trust them to provide you with the right personnel to maintain your brand image and help you achieve your goals.
3. Mismanagement of volume.
The next challenge we’ve seen in countless call centers is a lack of ability to staff up (or down) as needed based on volume. If you have a marketing campaign you just released, or run a business which is highly seasonal, you’ll have different customer support coverage needs at different times. If your call center isn’t able to get you increased staff when needed, and then pare down when they’re no longer needed, you’re not going to have the most effective or cost-effective support.
At Conectys, we work with blended solutions so we can offer shared environments, dedicated environments, or a blend of the two. We also regularly add seasonal and/or temporary workers as needed. Many facilities may not have the expertise to manage this, as payment and labor tracking for different types of employees can get complicated. Since we use our own cloud-based software, ConectysOS, it’s easy for us to log all employee types, code them in the system, deliver reporting to temp agencies, handle payroll, and manage the entire process. This allows us to give our customers the exact support they need when they need it.
If you’d like more tips about what to look for in a call center, or how we can offer our expertise to you, please contact us.