This blog post is adapted from the authors’ contribution of Chapter 7 – “How to Measure Contact Center Skills Using Multimedia Simulations” – in Simulations for Personnel Selection published by Springer.
In our previous blog posts we talked about why do contact centers work hard, compentencies critical to contact center employee success and challenges in hiring for contact center work. In today's blog post we will be discussing digging deeper into competencies.
Contact centers are an efficient and cost-effective alternative to in-person interactions with customers. The key to hiring the right contact center employees is to identify the competencies that underlie effective performance and measure them accurately.
The most common jobs in an inbound contact center require a core set of 15 competencies. However, three of those skills are particularly important: computer navigation skills, keyboarding skill and multi-tasking.
In most centers, employees need basic computer skills before they are hired since training generally requires a new hire to interact with a computer. In addition, the contact center job almost always requires the employee to toggle between multiple screens, use the Internet, and search databases, among other computer navigation skills. Candidates lacking basic computer skills struggle with training and frequently fail. Those who successfully complete training tend to become frustrated when on the job, which often leads to early attrition.
Keyboarding skills are second to computer navigation skills. Keyboarding is different than typing because it focuses on speed and accuracy of data entry rather than typing formal, punctuated sentences. During calls, representatives input identifying information to access databases necessary to address a customer’s questions.
After the call has ended, representatives enter notes that summarize the purpose of the call and its resolution. Candidates who don’t have keyboarding skills often fail to meet productivity goals.
Multi-tasking, one of the most essential contact center skills, is also one of the hardest to measure. In most inbound, phone-based contact centers, representatives will have to talk and listen to customers while entering information into a database or reading a summary of the customer’s account. The skill to “talk and type” or “talk and read” is frequently hailed by industry insiders as an essential factor for an employee to be successful.
Employees who struggle to multi-task tend to become overwhelmed by the job, fail to meet performance standards, provide poor service, and usually leave the job early.