The first two months of the new year are well under way – welcome to 2017! With this new year comes both new and continuing trends in the call center world that should interest everyone involved in the talent management pipeline.
Home Sweet Home
Data from the American Community Survey reveal that since 2005, the proportion of work-at-home employees has more than doubled, and up to 90% of the U.S. workforce would like to work remotely at least part-time. Call centers can expect increasing demand for work-at-home positions in 2017, and centers looking to snag the most qualified individuals will find work-at-home offerings to be a competitive advantage.
Just as with social media support, though, this trend adds a layer of complexity to call center talent management. Successfully developing and retaining work-at-home employees typically requires different development efforts, such as teleconferencing and targeted remote training, and recruiters often find that a specialized work-at-home profile must be developed to identify top talent.
Big Brother’s Big Data
By now, it’s common knowledge that our every move can be tracked online. The products you purchase, the social media posts you make, the websites you follow, and much more can be easily tracked, catalogued, and analyzed by specialized companies. But what you may not know is that this information can now be leveraged to facilitate improved customer interactions in call center settings. A recent Wall Street Journal article explained how one company uses such information to match inbound customer calls to specific call center representatives who are most likely to be a good match for each individual. This can help set representatives up for a smoother, more successful call.
Speaking of social media, call centers must be prepared to effectively service requests for social media support in 2017. Companies of all sizes now strive to develop a strong social media presence, and this means having representatives available to address both positive and negative comments in an efficient manner.
Representatives assigned to even part-time social media work must be able to adeptly use social media platforms, quickly identify solutions, and generate responses that will build rapport and address customer needs in an extremely limited number of characters. Savvy talent managers will recognize the importance of social media support in call centers and will work to solidify a focused pipeline in 2017.
Let’s Be Real(istic)
Call center jobs are unique in terms of what is required for employees to be both successful and satisfied in their roles. Companies that are on the forefront of call center hiring trends can make use of a variety of pre-hire tools designed to realistically immerse candidates in the call center experience. High-fidelity simulations, for example, can be used to test skills and knowledge— computer use, multitasking, identifying appropriate solutions— that are universally beneficial across call center roles, allowing companies to identify highly qualified candidates.
Customized realistic job previews, in which candidates are provided with firsthand video or audio accounts of what a “day in the life” is like, can help candidates better understand whether they would likely be a good fit for a company. Although these technologies are not new for 2017, their use is likely to increase as companies compete to identify talented individuals who will thrive and become long-term employees.
Looking ahead, 2017 is set to offer both new challenges and incredible opportunities for call center talent management experts looking to identify and retain talented individuals. Being aware of the trends above can give those in charge of recruiting, training, and developing call center employees a leg up in terms of creating and maintaining a solid talent pipeline.