Consumer and Business Contact Center
Our client operating a busy consumer and business call center in the fastest growing city in the United States, Las Vegas was having problems retaining staff. The call center was a virtual revolving door with turnover approaching 100% per annum. Of course, this level of attrition not only meant that the inexperienced staff handled most of the calls, leading to lower quality and lower first call resolution, but it was also expensive to constantly train the new staff. In the end, the call center was unable to keep with the demands and was forced to bring a third party recruitment firm in further adding to the costs. Even then they often had positions they could not fulfill. The offered compensation was lower than that being offered to make beds at one of the casino hotels. Given this backdrop of change, it was not surprising that call center staff morale was at an all-time low.
Colin and his team of consultants began by looking at the hiring, staff assessment, training, coaching, quality assurance, compensation and career path open to the call center agents. In short, we examined all of the ‘moving parts’ directly connected or impacting upon new agents. The staff selection and assessments were weak and did not support the activities required of the agents.
Working with our client we developed a skills and competency map which identified all of the skills and competencies that were important for an agent to possess in order to be successful and productive in the agent role. We established some guidelines for this exercise; the skills and competencies needed to be able to be objectively assessed, we wanted to ensure that subjectivity did not play a role here and that the only options for scoring the skills and competencies was a pass or fail grade. In the end, 15 skills and competencies, as well as the associated tests, were developed and put in place to screen all new applicants. The third party recruitment firm was dropped and an additional resource was added to the recruiting team. New recruiting and advertising sources were identified, these included papering the local area immediately around the call center, job fairs, and billboard advertising. The job descriptions for the agents were changed to create three distinct positions within the center tied directly and objectively to skills and competencies, quality scores, first call resolution, productivity, and leadership.
Within six months the center was fully staffed with no ‘open’ positions. The new agents demonstrated better skills, higher QA scores and ramped up more quickly than many of the veterans. The caliber of staff improved, the morale in the center improved, in part due to the 3 levels of agents. In addition, overall, the center improved quality, resolution rates and actually reduced their hiring expense. This was all achieved without increasing the starting rate of pay. The net result was a more effective, more efficient call center, with greater tenure, improved morale and a waiting list of ‘hire-able’ staff.
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