As we all know, hiring can be frustrating especially when dealing with high applicant volume or resume shortcomings and vague requirements. But, if done properly, talent selection can help you overcome some of these challenges. In last week’s post I discussed how talent selection can help you hire the right home agents. Today I wanted to dig a little deeper and delve into the specific results that talent selection can help you achieve. Specifically I want to show you how talent selection can help reduce attrition in work at home programs, as well as improve call metrics, customer engagement metrics and sales production.
Reduce new hire attrition in your work-at-home program
People who have the right personalities and skills for the job are more likely to be successful and happy, and are less likely to look elsewhere. The same holds true whether you are hiring a traditional in-house role or if you are hiring someone as an at-home agent. However, the same skills and traits do not necessarily translate for both job types and it is important to make sure you are screening appropriately for the position being hired.
For example, remote agents need different competencies (abilities, behaviors, and skills) than brick-and-mortar agents because their jobs lack in-person supervision and interaction with coworkers. Hiring processes that do not measure autonomy and other competencies may not screen out job candidates that are not the right fit for a home agent role. By developing job profiles and administering assessments that identify specific skills and personality traits necessary for remote contact center agents, you can screen out people who are likely to be unhappy or unsuccessful.
Improve call control metrics
The metric I want to focus on is Average Handle Time (AHT). This key metric is important because it directly relates to production efficiency within your center. We have found that the best way to evaluate a job candidate’s ability to manage their average handle time is through a call center simulation. Specifically we want to simulate a candidate’s ability to enter information into a call center type system, document call details, and switch between tasks. Candidates that do well on call center simulations have proven to have better average handle time performance.
By introducing a simulation to the hiring process you are getting a virtual preview of how the candidate may perform once they are placed into a similar live situation. This reduces your risk of making the wrong hire.
Improve customer engagement metrics
Customer engagement metrics are very difficult to quantify in the traditional interview process. By adding assessments and simulations into your talent selection process you should be able to gauge how a candidate will perform with regards to metrics like first call resolution and customer satisfaction.
First call resolution: The old adage of time equals money holds true here. Your representative’s ability to solve the customer’s problem on the first call reduces the amount of customers who have to call back to get their problem solved and the number of customers who are dissatisfied with your customer service. Through job analysis studies, we know that candidates that want to solve problems and can solve problems tend to resolve calls more effectively leading to better first call resolution results. Assessments that evaluate personality (measures the will do) and problem solving and learning (measures the can do) tend to predict which candidates will meet your first call resolution production goals.
Customer satisfaction: Customer engagement involves creating experiences that your customers enjoy. One metric used to measure this is customer satisfaction (CSAT). Research and practical results suggest using multiple types of assessments to evaluate a candidate’s potential to meet CSAT production targets. First, a simulation requires a candidate to demonstrate decision making ability in a service or sales environment. A personality assessment will measure the candidate’s friendliness, dependability, and desire to help. A problem solving test will measure the candidate’s ability to probe for information and use that information to solve problems. Combined, these types of assessments can help evaluate the entire candidate.
Improve sales production
Unlike first call resolution and customer satisfaction data which is usually based on downstream customer surveys; sales data is directly tied to an agent employee. Many call centers are pushing for revenue which means more cross-sell and up-sell offers. Evaluating job candidates that can sell becomes critical to meeting these performance targets. Combining assessments with structured interviews will enable you to measure the candidate’s ability to quickly create rapport with a customer, probe for their needs, and present choices to them in order to close the sale.
Add it up
Hopefully you can now see how important talent selection is in driving an objective process that produces financial results. By hiring the right people that do their jobs well, your company will increase profits and reduce costs. Understanding how to effectively screen, especially for remote agents, will increase the likelihood that customers will continue to do business with you. It will also reduce new hire attrition which in turn reduces the amount of resources you spend finding, hiring and training new people. This will allow you to focus on making good employees excellent ones. But remember, it all begins with the proper talent selection tools and process.