Many businesses are finally starting to recognize that their call center agents are essential for their marketing efforts. They may be the most crucial investment in marketing any organization can make. As marketing guru Seth Godin says, “Marketing used to be advertising. Now, marketing is everything you do. And what you do either adds to the experience or takes away from it.” Every person in your organization is marketing your business, values, and attitudes towards your customers, especially your call center agents.
Call center agents represent your brand and every value your company claims to hold dear. They could be the catalyst for lifelong customer loyalty or the reason a customer chooses to give their business to your competitor. Providing quality customer service is one of the best ways to stand out from the competition, and it starts and ends with your call center agents. Keep reading to discover why they’re so essential, where to find them, and how to get them on your team.
Is your call center your most important asset?
We’re living in a time where talent is the number one commodity in your business. Not your equipment, not the real estate you hold, but the people that make up your organization. Forbes lists five reasons why your employees are your biggest asset, with number one being that “[y]our people are your biggest resource and can affect public perception of your brand.” And this is an essential point. In many ways, your employees are your brand. Successful organizations recognize this, and so the competition for top talent is fierce.
Call center agents need to possess specific skills to excel in their roles
We found that there are specific skills that set the top performers apart. The soft skills and personal attributes most in demand include:
- Willingness to learn
- Ability to adapt to any situation
- A patient and positive outlook
- Emotional intelligence
- Ability to problem solve
- Motivation to succeed
- Focused on teamwork
- Excellent communication skills
The employees who interact with your customers have the biggest impact on public perception, so it’s essential that they possess these attributes.
Call center agents are right on the frontline, fielding questions from your customers, solving their problems, and listening to their complaints and concerns. They are the face of your brand, forming the customer’s impression of who you are as a company and whether you’re worthy of their business or not. An article in Retail Touchpoints notes, “customers are willing to pay more and are more likely to purchase from you again if they’re happy with your service.” The article highlights that your contact center is one of the most important assets you have for building customer loyalty. The same article also notes that one of the keys to attracting top call center talent is opening your doors to virtual agents.
Virtual Agents, Virtual Recruiting, and Volume Hiring
Virtual agents work remotely rather than on-site at your company. Many virtual agents are experienced call center employees who have decided to freelance to achieve greater work-life balance or tap into opportunities outside their geographic location. Choosing virtual agents can allow you to expand your talent pool and find the workers that are the best fit for the role, improving your KPIs and customer service as a result.
But finding these workers can be difficult if you don’t know where to look. That is why many companies are turning to automated virtual recruiters to meet the demand for more agents.
Some of the benefits of using virtual recruitment automation include:
Gain high-quality output in high-volume hiring situations
Deploy proven frameworks for testing candidates’ skills
Improve the speed at which you make hiring decisions
Reduce recruitment costs by eliminating manual processes
Minimize recruitment bias
Standardize the hiring process for reliable and repeatable results
Virtual recruiting processes save time, reduce costs, and improve your hiring efficiency. Opening your doors to virtual agents and using virtual recruitment techniques to tap into the global talent pool can also help you address high-volume hiring needs.
Need to hire call center agents fast and accurately?
When you need to hire many agents in a relatively short period, third-party assessment solutions like the LearningBranch platform are your biggest ally. Traditional hiring methods are too time-consuming, inefficient, and unreliable to compete. Assessment software can help you assess the on-the-job skills of your candidates and rank each against the other on specific metrics like language skill, communication skills, and job fit. Assessment tools help you see how a candidate would perform on the job before you hire them, saving you time and allowing you to make unbiased, data-driving hiring decisions.
Challenges For Today’s Retail Contact Centers
Modern retail contact centers face many challenges, especially in the post-pandemic world. Brick and mortar business has shifted online, and many consumers are wary of a total return to pre-pandemic life. Call center agents have become the only human point of contact with a brand that many shoppers have in this environment. As agents play an increasingly important role in the modern approach to retailing, they are expected to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Provide exceptional and highly personalized customer service
- Support inbound and outbound campaigns
While agents are being asked to provide next-level service, call center managers are dealing with challenges of their own, including:
- Reducing costs
- Hiring and retaining quality representatives
- Providing uniform experiences across all channels
- Leveraging data to improve UX
- Addressing cultural and language differences between agents and customers
Pre-hire assessments can help ensure you’re hiring people who possess the communication skills needed to provide next-level customer service and address all the issues listed above. The right hiring decision can significantly impact your bottom line, but how do you find suitable agents in the first place?
3 Tips For Hiring The Right Call Center Agent
With human capital the most significant investment your company can make, hiring the right people is critical. We’ve found three essential steps you need to take to ensure you’re bringing on the right people for your needs.
1. Hire Contact Center Agents Who Fit Your Ideal Profile
How do you know someone will be a good fit for your organization if you don’t have an ideal employee profile? Systematically benchmark your top-performing agents skills using a data driven framework. Applying this profile ensures that new hires fit in with your company culture and help you reach your company goals.
2. Prepare A Questionnaire That You Will Provide To Each Candidate
Once you have a benchmark in place, you can create a hiring rubric for each candidate to assess their fit. AI-powered assessments can help you eliminate hiring bias, promote diversity and inclusion within your organization, and increase the efficiency of your hiring process. Assessment solutions like LearningBranch also allow for a high level of customization and testing in multiple languages and skills when hiring globally.
3. Candidates are graded based on their responses
Unlike traditional standardized tests that evaluate candidates on biased parameters, LearningBranch pre-hire assessments grade candidates based on their spoken and written responses to customers’ questions. Candidate scores are available instantly, and you can view customized reports that give you the most transparent picture of your hiring options and outcomes.
Ineffective hiring practices can put a strain on resources and negatively impact your bottom line while still leaving you with new hires that were selected by instinct rather than data-driven decision-making.
In today’s competitive job market, finding a call center agent that can serve your customers well enough to inspire their loyalty is like striking gold. The level of service you can provide will define your company and determine whether a customer turns to social media to applaud or attack your brand. This is why hiring, training, and retaining the right people is critical for your business growth and profitability.
Transform your call center by recognizing the role that your agents play in the customer’s experience and brand advocacy, and by leveraging technology to improve the efficiency and speed of your hiring process by assessing candidates on the skills that matter. With the help of our pre-hire assessment solutions, you’ll be able to face the challenges of the modern recruitment landscape head-on. Contact us to learn more.
Let us help you find great people.
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