Despite the importance of call centers in customer communication and the evolving technologies that support them, customer service recruitment continues to remain a challenge. Not only do recruiters need to fill roles quickly and efficiently, but they also need to make smart hires to reduce turnover and increase success. As a global leader in staffing and call center workforce solutions, Work4 partners with call centers leaders across the world. Below are some of the top call center hiring challenges our industry clients face and our recommendations for how to tackle them.
1) High Turnover
One of the number one problems call centers have consistently faced is high employee turnover. The unfortunate reality is that not everyone has the thick skin, talent, or tenacity to effectively manage working in this industry. That’s one of the primary reasons call center employees routinely come and go. Other issues cited as factors are the cubicle work environment, low pay and benefit margins, and reduced advancement possibilities.
How To Tackle It:
The process of hiring call-center representatives, whether it’s telemarketers, customer service reps, or tech support agents, can seem like a never-ending task. According to a recent Linkedin report, compensation remains one of the biggest call center challenges in recruitment. Ensure that your benefits and compensation plan matches or exceeds that of your competitors. Recognize and reward top performers to increase job satisfaction and reduce your churn rate.
2) Limited Talent Pool
There’s no denying it, we are currently in a tight labor market. A reality that affects not just call centers, but the customer service industry as a whole. Pair that with the fact that candidates today have different expectations than they did just a few years ago and you have a real issue with the size of your talent pool.
How To Tackle It:
Consider switching to a flex, hybrid or remote model. Some studies show that a flexible work schedule is one of the perks employees value most. If you want to win and keep top customer service talent, you may need to step up your benefits to meet these evolving expectations. As an added bonus, when you expand your business to allow for remote work, you open up your talent pool from local to national.
3) Unstructured Recruitment Process
If your facility doesn’t have a structured recruitment process it can leave both candidates and HR staff confused and unsure of what to look for. But, the bigger issue is that it can lead to inconsistent quality of hires.
How To Tackle It: The solution, of course, is to ensure each application, interview, and screening follows an optimized structure. It can be beneficial to sketching out your recruitment funnel to better visualize your candidate journey. This process will help you understand the candidate touchpoints with your organization and locate the weaker parts of your process. Helpful tools for structuring your recruitment process include an Applicant Tracking System, (ATS) to organize your candidates. Or a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system to build and maintain relationships with job candidates.
4) Finding the Right Talent
Almost every consumer can share with you at least one bad experience with a call center rep. Since your reputation rests in the hands of your front line, every negative experience reflects poorly on your brand. These days your candidates need to be skilled enough to be able to think about the repercussions of each interaction. Not just as they relate to a one-on-one conversation, but with the power of social media, a one-on-one conversation that could potentially be viewed by millions. That means it’s more critical than ever for you to become highly selective in your hire choices.
- How To Tackle It: One of the top reasons a new hire doesn’t work out is that they shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. To ensure you’re hiring the right candidates, put a high priority on screening out the wrong ones early. There are certain essential communication and interpersonal skills needed to be a successful call center representative. Pronunciation, speech, voice quality, linguistic or writing skills, are all elements that can’t be read on paper, yet are critical to the success of your operation. To hire the best call center agents, you need to look beyond the resume.
5) Correctly Assessing Essential Skills
All too often, call centers fail to take the time to truly study what skills they should be looking for in potential employees, let alone how to assess them. Identifying and testing for critical skills is essential for hiring top-quality lasting talent.
- How To Tackle It: The answer to this is twofold. First, invest the time to create candidate profiles by observing the habits and traits of your top-performing people. Next, consider implementing digital skills testing and assessments into your screening process. To help you get going, here are a few examples of the talents beyond customer service that call center employees should possess.
- Stress management
- Communication skills
- Effective problem-solving
6) Inadequate Onboarding
Due to the high turnover factor, call centers often find themselves in a position of rushing new recruits straight to work and expecting them to be productive from the start. An expectation that can lead to the onboarding phase being neglected entirely. When a company fails to embrace the onboarding process it can lead to a negative impact on your workforce. Your onboarding process should be used to both generate enthusiasm and provide new hires with the tools they need to succeed in the long term. It’s the stage where employees learn how to implement best practices, and settle into their new work environment. When call centers neglect to set time aside for onboarding, new employees typically find themselves under excessive pressure prematurely, which can lead to burning out and inevitable quitting.
How To Tackle It: In an attempt to avoid hiring in a crunch, should focus on anticipating busier times and do your best to hire in advance. That way you will have the time to implement a solid onboarding system to help new hires settle in faster and become productive quicker.
7) Limited Training Budgets & Time
In line with the onboarding process, many contact centers don’t allocate enough time or budget to train new employees. Leading to inconsistency in training and development becoming another glaring problem faced by call centers. It’s not uncommon for new hires to simply be partnered with a seasoned staff member and told to watch and observe. However, like with most things, in the beginning, people are taught the proper techniques. But over time, we all develop bad clothes. Seasoned employees can often pass on the bad habits that they’ve developed over the years to new hires.
How To Tackle It:
Having a solid training plan in place will not only help you retain your employees but also enable them to provide the best service to your customers. An investment in high-quality training and development for your employees not only provides value to staff but keeps everyone on the same page. By setting a clear standard of what’s expected from new hires, they’re more likely to reach or even exceed your expectations.
8) Employee Retention
The recruitment process shouldn’t end after hiring and onboarding a suitable employee. The first 90 days of a candidate’s employment are a crucial time. And, it is often the most dangerous for attrition, as this is when new candidates might waver and leave. This is the time when efforts should be taken to maintain momentum, motivation, and encourage employees to invest in their jobs long term.
- How to Tackle it:
To retain staff for the long haul, you need to start measuring the success of your recruitment processes by evaluating the performance of new employees. It’s worth noting that retention is directly influenced by the quality of management, employee benefits, and office culture. Use analytics to measure potential pain points within your workforce. Then take steps to improve your internal processes to ensure you provide employees with adequate support.
4) Start Improving Your Hiring Process Today
Here we’ve outlined some of the top challenges call center recruiters face. But, to get to the steps outlined above, you first need a quality candidate pool to choose from. If you’d like to see how Work4’s proprietary candidate lead generation system can help you to fill your candidate funnel faster and more cost-effectively, click here to learn about our free trial.