Over the past several years, customer support roles have experienced tectonic shifts, thanks - in large part - to major advances in technology. In turn, greater demands have been put on frontline hiring teams from leadership to increase revenue without increasing the amount of manpower.
This has led to the emergence of the omni-channel customer service agent: a Jack-of-all-trades who is capable of performing multiple roles simultaneously – usually service, tech support, sale, and sometimes win-back and retention.
For the HR departments, this means the nature of the skills, abilities, and motivations required to carry out the duties of certain roles must be re-assessed in order to keep up with customer service (and leadership's) demands. More and more customer service agents must act as an all-in-one contact point for a client's service and technical support needs, while finding opportunities to upsell a company’s offerings. However, not every job candidate fits the bill for these diverse roles.
Omni-Channel Service: What the All-in-one Hire Looks Like
These days, it has become necessary for many businesses to identify candidates who are capable of navigating different types of roles – like the service-sales-tech hybrid – with the same degree of efficiency.
So how do those responsible for frontline hiring balance the need to, say, deliver great customer service and the need to generate sales?
If both are necessary, hire for both.
Your current customer service agents may have joined your company at a time when roles were static and they may have developed a way of doing things that might not mesh well with the skills an all-in-one representative needs today.
However, it is important to understand that everyone, both new hires and incumbents, be competent in these hybrid roles.
In order to make sure this is the case, you can conduct a job analysis and validation to tell you what’s most critical for job success. Then you can determine how to use recruiting and hiring tools to predict those key outcomes and identify the profile of candidates who are likely to succeed in both arenas.
Applying a filter that takes into account the hiring analytics you are looking for can help paint a picture of which candidates would be a good fit for your business's omni-channel agent roles. By applying hiring analytics in such a way that you look for core competencies essential for every function of the hybrid role, certain candidates should start standing out.
Advantages and Challenges of Omni-Channel Support
The ability for someone fielding a tech support call to turn it into a sale is one of the biggest advantages of having all-in-one employees. Those who generally work in a tech support or service capacity are in a unique position to give customers product or service recommendations while they are in direct contact with them.
Yes, initially, re-defining job roles to determine which skillsets are most important is a process that will take some time. However, for businesses transitioning to these types of roles this process isn't just an advantage - it's necessary to deliver the quality of service your customers want while meeting your business's goals.
While hiring restrictions put in place can cause the hiring process to move more slowly, in the long run, you will still end up with better employees and lower attrition if your job analyses have been conducted correctly.
How Human Resources Departments Can Adapt
Not everyone can excel in a hybrid position that for instance, requires both service and sales skills. However it is important to use hiring analytics to separate those who will likely do well in omni-channel customer support roles from those who will not. The old method of relying mostly on education and interviews won't work, because those criteria simply will not give you an in-depth look at the applicant's multi-role potential.
When searching for omni-channel agents, your hiring process should be set up to show you, from an objective point of view, whether or not a potential hire has the tools that successful employees in your company possess.
The differences between a specialized employee and one who fills many roles may not seem like much on the surface, but using hiring analytics, you can get an idea about how to find the type of talent you need.
Topics: Contact Center Hiring