The concept of the call center became popular because of businesses’ emphasis on customer service. Call center employees are vital because they communicate with clients about problems with or questions about their purchase. Depending on the business model, call centers handle both inbound and outbound calls and may be located within the company or outsourced to a third-party that specializes in handling calls.
Many people like the over-the-phone interaction that comes with call center work, but it can also be very stressful. While some customers are polite, others are rude and want to blame the person on the phone for their frustration with a particular product or service.
Call center recruiting can be challenging for companies or the customer service staffing agencies that they contract with. It is not easy to find a candidate with the skill set necessary for a call center job—let alone dozens of candidates. These positions often require volume hiring to line up an entire team of representatives to work together in handling customers concerns.
If you are looking to hire and maintain the best call center employees, here are a few tips compiled from leading volume hiring firms.
- Pick the right interview questions – Call center employees must have specific experience, personality traits, and knowledge in order to do the job right. When interviewing job applicants, ask pointed questions that reveal a person’s level of commitment to the customer. You can ask about specific strategies that they would use to handle an angry customer and about their philosophy on the customer being right. Don’t be afraid to ask them a question out of left field to see how they hold up under pressure.
- Focus on an applicant’s personality – Pay attention to an applicant’s demeanor and see how they would fit with the current team. Are they negative or defensive? Do they seem like a team player? No matter how competent an employee is, if they can’t get along with other workers and with customers, they aren’t a good choice for your company.
- Emphasize company policies – Right from the get-go, let applicants know where you stand on customer relations. If they don’t agree with your philosophies, it’s better to know up front.
- Provide thorough training – The call center agents are the voice of your company. If someone has an unpleasant phone conversation with them, they may associate your company with that agent and never come back for more. Provide thorough training for all of your employees to teach the company’s objectives. Do role modeling to help employees prepare for all kinds of real-world situations. That way, they won’t get caught off guard and can stay calm when conversations with angry customers fire up. And remember that training is not a “one-and-done” process. You should offer ongoing training to troubleshoot issues and ensure that employees are using the highest degree of professionalism in their interactions with clients.
- Motivate your agents – Call center agents benefit from frequent motivation and feedback. It can be boring to spend your day dealing with repetitive customer issues. At other times, it can be stressful when customers speak disrespectfully and make impossible demands. Do little things to keep your employees excited about coming to work. Offer rewards and incentives for top-notch work. Praise your employees frequently, and treat them to lunch out or lunch in on occasion. If you stay engaged, you’ll be less likely to hemorrhage call center employees like some businesses do.
Good call center agents can make or break your company so hire with care and do what it takes to keep good employees invested and on board.