Call Center Hiring Featured Article
Effective Call Center Hiring for the Virtual Environment
October 30, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
While the call center was once viewed as a cubicle-filled room with little more than computers and phones for agents to man the lines; the virtual call center is becoming more common. Organizations with a heavy customer service channel are hiring individuals to work from home or remote locations to handle customer interactions. This strategy works well when the right call center hiring strategies are in place.
A recent Communications Briefings publication explored the recruitment processes necessary to support call center hiring for the virtual team. Companies are adopting virtualization technologies to support the virtual employee, reducing costs and improving the quality of care offered to the customer base. These benefits are only possible, however, when the right individuals are hired to fill the virtual agent role.
To ensure the success of the virtualization strategy, employers need to adopt a unique approach, managing in a completely different way than if the entire team where housed in the same location. For instance, employee motivation takes some creativity. How can the manager motivate the individual working at his or her kitchen table?
The truth is, the manager has much less influence over motivation and instead, the agent has to be a self-starter. Call center hiring processes must be able to identify those individuals able to drive their own performance and set and stick to work completion goals.
The right candidate for the call center hiring process also demonstrates self-sufficiency. He or she doesn’t have the benefit of IT working right next door or down the hall. Therefore, technological savvy is desired, along with the ability to troubleshoot common problems and take the necessary action immediately and independently. This trait can be difficult to measure, requiring the use of open ended questions to evaluate answers.
It may be assumed that all call center agents have good communication skills, but unless it is vetted in the call center hiring process, an individual may be brought on who offers very little in this area. He or she won’t have the benefit of interacting with other agents in the same environment and therefore must be able to communicate effectively with management and with the customer. Hiring managers need to keep in mind that non-verbal queues often present in face-to-face communications won’t apply, demanding stronger skills in the prospective agent.
Finally, candidates worthy of working in the virtual call center environment must be able to focus on the task at hand and effectively manage their time. Strong time management is a critical element to look for in the call center hiring process. Without the benefit of regular social interactions with other agents to help them stay on task and focused, at-home agents must be able to do this on their own.
The key to finding the right agents in the call center hiring process is to understand the challenges that exist for the individual working on their own and designing the recruiting strategy so that it effectively identifies those who can succeed and those better off in another industry.
Edited by Rich Steeves
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