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Study Recommends Contact Center Self-Assess to Ensure Optimal Hiring Practices


TMCnews Featured Article

August 07, 2008

Study Recommends Contact Center Self-Assess to Ensure Optimal Hiring Practices

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Call center hiring is one of the most daunting tasks as it is layered with high costs, high probability of attrition, a specific desired skill set for a job that can be both challenging and stressful.
For some individuals, the contact center environment can be the perfect job. Perhaps they have the option of a flexible schedule or they can work from home or perhaps the job is providing necessary skills for the next anticipated step in their career path.

The reality in this industry however, is that many people are placed in the position of contact center agent without the proper skills, training or a realistic view of the demands of the job.

It is for these reasons and others that many contact centers deal with high – and rising – attrition, battling to keep costs under control while the cost of hiring continues to clime.

Forrester Research (News - Alert) recently published a “Self-Assessment for Contact Centers” authored by Elizabeth Herrell. In this research repot, Herrell takes the position that all firms should perform an audit before making outsourcing or upgrade decisions.

Such self-assessment is essential to not only ensure that the customer is provided with the best possible customer service, but to also produce to most efficient contact center possible.

Consider for a moment that personnel typically accounts for roughly 65 percent of the total cost of contact center operations. When the contact center collaborates with IT managers, areas that drive up costs or lead to inefficiencies can be identified. The area that should always be at the top of consideration is hiring and training practices.

Herrell notes that contact center managers should carefully document skills required for agents that will promote efficient operations and only hire those individuals who meet the criteria.

Those agents who feel better able and prepared to handle their duties are more likely to enjoy their work and remain on the job longer than those who feel the duties they face are overwhelming or far-reaching. Training plays a key role in ensuring that these agents are ready for the tasks to which they are assigned.

Once an agent is put in place, it is imperative that contact center managers deliver coaching and skills development tools, assign individual performance goals, identify career paths within the contact center and provide the necessary training for advancement.
One of the biggest shortfalls that will often plague the contact center is that the recruiting and retaining of contact center agents is not viewed on an ongoing process that is constantly changing.

Without an active and involved role in the process, the center is more likely to hire individuals not suited for the job. Such mistakes lead to higher attrition that generates higher costs. 

For more, check out the Call Center Hiring channel on TMCnet.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan�s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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