Not too long ago, if a customer encountered an issue, their options for getting it resolved were much more limited: calling customer service, visiting a representative in person, or sending an email. Today, customers are in full control of their options which include posting a question on an independent forum, posting a review on social media, “googling” which may take them to many different websites, sending an email, or making a phone call. There are two dynamics that must be addressed in this environment:
- Companies must follow the customers to where they are searching for information
- Speed of response and accuracy of information are both critical to success
As customer communication channels expand and develop, your contact center strategy must absolutely evolve to stay up with, or better yet, get ahead of your customers. With information readily available at the click of a button, customers are addressing basic inquiries and issues easily and quickly through digital channels while saving more complex issues to be handled over the phone. To be successful in this environment, contact center leaders need to attract and retain a different caliber of contact center associates. These front-line employees must have higher levels of troubleshooting and complex problem-solving skills and the ability to create a caring, engaging, and personalized experience. Customers are also more time-starved than ever, so contact center associates must work quickly and effectively to build confidence and trust.
As a result, it is critical to ensure the recruiting, screening and training process for contact center associates is highly effective. Here are three ways companies can boost their call center strategies by hiring and retaining the most skilled talent:
- Identify key competencies required for success and attract the right talent.
While common skills such as courteous behavior or building rapport will always be fundamental to a successful contact center representative, today’s associates, who are primarily tasked with dealing with more complex problems, should be prepared to think on their feet, multi-task, and have excellent issue resolution skills. Successful companies identify very specific competencies and skills that are required and have proven, through validation testing, to drive the desired business results. It is also important to analyze the effectiveness of your recruiting sources and job descriptions to ensure they accurately target the competencies and experience that front-line employees need to be successful.
- Review your career pathing and compensation model.
Retaining talent is one of the most challenging and critically important aspects of managing a contact center. The ability to learn, grow, and prosper are critical factors that all new hires evaluate when deciding if they should accept an offer from a company. Contact centers are a great place to enter a company as you have the opportunity to learn all about the products, service model, and cross-functional teams that deliver on a company’s brand promise. If the compensation is lagging behind competitors, it may be difficult to attract and retain associates with the desired skillsets. Hiring and training new associates is time-consuming and costly, so be sure to look at the entire end-to-end model when reviewing your compensation approach as the ROI can be substantial.
- Leverage applicant screening tools.
Resumes are helpful for screening potential candidates’ basic qualifications but, when it comes to hiring high performing contact center associates, resumes alone rarely provide an accurate view of the prospective candidates’ ability to be successful. Given the importance of this decision, it is highly recommended to leverage advanced screening tools for prospective candidates before offers are made. These testing and simulation tools have gone through comprehensive testing and validation to ensure only the best candidates are considered for selection. Companies can identify the “skills for success” by leveraging insights exhibited by their highest performing contact center associates. Companies can ensure applicants are ready to meet the demands of a more complex contact center by testing them on skills that will be essential in their future roles during the interview process.
As customers leverage more digital channels to address their needs, they are reaching out to contact center associates to resolve only their most complex problems and it is essential not to let your contact center strategy fall behind. Leveraging these best practices will result in a successful contact center filled with high-energy, motivated associates who are ready to deliver a differentiated experience for your customers.
Learn more about how Northridge can help with your digital contact center strategy here.