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People your Single Biggest Expense and your Biggest Asset in your Call Center

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By Colin Taylor
People are the key to any successful business and this is especially so in call centers. The sales and customer service staff in the call center are the face of the organization. Each time a customer speaks with the call center the person they speak with is the company. The customers’ opinion of the company and the brand improves or erodes based upon an interaction with the center. A Purdue University study that found that 92% of customers based their opinion or an organization based upon their interaction with the company’s’ call center.

Too many organizations fail to invest the proper effort and attention in selecting new staff. This is manifest in: vague job descriptions, no defined skills,competencies, no skills testing, weak or absent background and reference checks. It is not surprising to me that the staff selected may not be well suited for the role.

With the cost for a new hire ranging from $7,000 to $10,000 the company is making a significant investment. This level of investment warrants attention, especially in an industry with chronic turnover issues. So what are the best practices, that any contact center can implement? Here is quick reference list that will help you to improve your selection and retention in your center.

Make sure your job descriptions relevant to the role. Describe the role accurately, surface details related the task activities, systems interactions, level of activity etc. State required skills (keyboarding, math, typing etc.). Identify the background checks that will be completed; i.e. references, background checks, personality profile, credit check, criminal check, drug test etc. – there is no point bringing anyone into the office who knows they can’t pass one, or more of these tests. Be sure to follow through on all the background checks you have committed to.

Employ role play tests and/or listen to real call problems and ask the candidate how they would respond. Remember we can’t expect them to have the correct answer, but we want to see their listening skills, attitude and approach to problem solving.

In our next post we will examine how to align your hiring and recruiting process with your training and on- boarding process.

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