With customer expectations growing, demand surging, and technology evolving, the scope of call center operations is expanding. A successful call center needs agents at the top of their game, and hiring the right people is the first step towards delivering excellent customer service day in, day out. However, we all know that hiring the right staff, and retaining those staff members, is easier said than done. In fact, according to the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC), U.S. call centers have an average turnover rate of 30 to 45%, a figure well above the national average for other industries.
By implementing call center assessments, you can simplify the hiring process and ensure that you’re recruiting the best agents for your team—in terms of skill set, personality, culture fit, and expectations. It’s also worth noting that call center assessments can be used to train existing agents, or even as onboarding exercises for new team members. Whether you’re hiring or coaching, you need to know how to create a great call center assessment.
The pandemic accelerated the transition to online customer service, and as a result, customer expectations have escalated, raising the stakes for contact centers. A recent report from Customer Contact Week Digital (CCWD) found that 60% of customers would consider switching to a competitor after two or fewer negative experiences, while 17% said they would look elsewhere after a single bad interaction. With customers ready to jump ship at the first sign of trouble, hiring agents with the right mix of skills and personality traits to thrive in a contact center is essential. Using the contact center assessments detailed below, you can get a sense of whether or not a prospective hire has what it takes to thrive in your organization. Remember that every company is unique, so it’s important to create call center assessments based on your specific needs.
In a job that revolves around person-to-person interactions, having the right personality is a must. Certain traits are common among successful agents, and carrying out a personality assessment will allow you to determine whether or not these traits are present in a prospective hire. Things like empathy and emotional intelligence are highly sought-after in the contact center world, but the best approach is to identify the qualities that you want in your specific call center and focus your assessment on those areas rather than sticking to a generic questionnaire. Some typical questions in a personality assessment include:
Ultimately, the questions should focus on the candidate as a person rather than the specifics of the role.
As the scope and scale of call center operations expand, many organizations require a multilingual team to handle a global customer base. When you’re dealing with a broad range of customers from different countries and backgrounds, it’s essential that your team is equipped to effectively communicate with anyone who may get in touch. The diversity of your team should reflect the diversity of your customer base. Multilingual agents are a huge asset, but it’s important to verify language competency before hiring. In some cases, candidates may claim to be fluent in their application but fall short in reality. In order to avoid this, you should carry out language fluency assessments that test applicants on grammar, comprehension, listening, and speaking in any languages they will be required to use in the role. You can even set benchmarks in order to automatically eliminate those candidates who don’t at least meet the minimum requirements.
Dealing with upset customers is part and parcel of the call center experience. That’s why, you need to be sure that any potential hire is capable of handling a frustrated customer with the care and competence necessary to find a resolution. Many people find it difficult to handle rejection and rudeness, but call center agents must be able to take angry customers in their stride and continue to provide a certain standard of service regardless of how irritated the customer may become. To determine whether or not your potential hire is capable of dealing with upset customers, you can carry out an assessment based on past experiences and potential scenarios:
With the advent of social media and other online platforms, there are more channels of communication available than ever before and, with this, an increased workload for the contact center agent. In order to manage all of these channels and handle the additional volume, contact centers have implemented a range of digital tools, and it’s important that any new hires are capable of using these tools effectively. While past experience with the specific tools your contact center uses would be useful, it shouldn’t be viewed as a dealbreaker. What you really need to look out for is a general level of computer literacy which shows that a candidate is capable of picking up new technologies quickly. As part of this assessment, you should discuss what tools the candidate has used in the past and ascertain their level of familiarity with different communication channels such as email, live chat, social media, and instant messaging. Additionally, given the prominence of text-based communication in modern contact centers, a typing test could be beneficial. Agents should be quick enough to keep up with the volume of conversations across different channels and accurate enough to maintain a professional brand image.
Whether or not a new hire is a good fit for the organization’s culture will go a long way to determining their happiness in the role and their suitability for the job. Even if an agent has the necessary technical and soft skills to do the job, they’re unlikely to stay long if they don’t feel comfortable within the organizations’ culture. As part of a culture fit assessment, you should also gauge the expectations of your prospective agent. Expectations can vary significantly from person to person and, while some people are capable of adapting to a new role in a new organization, others may struggle if there is a mismatch between what they hope to find in the new position and what it actually offers. As noted at the start of this article, U.S. call centers have a high rate of employee turnover, and unmet expectations can be a frequent contributor to this persistent industry issue.
Call centers run on agents, but finding the right agents for your organization—and keeping them there—can be tricky. By carrying out call center assessments, you can determine whether or not prospective hires have the suitable skill set and personality to fit the organization’s culture and thrive in your call center. From soft skills to technical ability, there is a range of practical assessments you can use depending on the specific requirements of your business. The most important thing is to identify the unique needs of your contact center and design your assessments based on these needs. Using Scorebuddy, you can analyze 100% of agent-customer interactions to determine what your contact center needs to succeed and tailor your hiring process to add the requisite skills and personality traits to your team. Get in touch today to request a demo and see how Scorebuddy could boost your contact center’s performance.