Hiring staff is expensive in terms of recruiting time. How to set transparent expectations early?
The call centre industry is transforming. They have traditionally been hubs to receive and answer customer phone calls, today they have to be an “omni channel” centre communicating over a variety of communication channels. Despite this need to evolve with technology, call centre recruitment still encounters the same major issue as in the past.
High employee turnover
The biggest challenge to employment in the industry is high employee turnover with attrition rates of 20-35%. This is especially pronounced for entry-level representatives.
Hiring staff is expensive in terms of recruiting time, financial expense, and training, it is a scourge for any organisation. A Cornell study reports that on average, the cost of hiring one call centre representative equates to 16% of the gross annual earnings of a call centre worker. Furthermore, within a call centre the quality of delivery will be negatively affected.
Employees in this industry quit for a number of reasons, including the repetition of the job, low satisfaction in the role and conflicts with management or team culture. An employee needs to be a good fit for the role and the company to be able to retain the job into the future.
How does a call centre recruiter avoid hiring the wrong people?
From the beginning one must communicate what the organisation is about and what it is expecting from employees within the role, this will assist in drawing in the most appropriate applicants.
This would entail:
- Presenting the company’s culture and the job role clearly.
- Selecting those candidates with the skills and temperament necessary to be a call centre representative.
1. Presenting the Company and Job Role
To set transparent expectations early is very important. Applicants should apply for a new job opening knowing the details about the position, and the company culture. This will remove disappointment, as it minimises the applicant encountering unexpected situations after being employed.
Be frank in your job ads, include the good, the bad and the realities. Too often the job ads are couched extremely positively and don’t reflect the realities. Give applicants an introduction to the realities they will face as an employee in the job ad and reinforce these with the initial screening questions that help them to understand its requirements.
Let candidates know that they will be dealing with frustrated customers who will need to be dealt with courteously if this is the reality of the role, or sales promotion of a product, as well as the fact that they will need to be on the phone for extended periods.
2. Assessing for essential skills and attitude
It is often the case, that call centres have not completely defined the important skills and the resilience they require from an applicant, this has made it hard for many to attract the right candidates and for those skills and temperament. It goes without saying that assessing critical skills is important when recruiting top talent.
How does one pinpoint the important skills and temperament needed for the job? The best way is to identify the skills and the attitudes of top performing call centre operators.
Besides collecting data from your existing best staff, industry data is available to narrow down the skills needed.
Skills needed by call centre employees include :
- Strong problem solving abilities
- Effective communication
- Customer service
An applicant may have all the skills needed, however it is crucial that they have the mindset to be satisfied and perform within the role into the long term. The average Australian call centre representative has a tenure of 1.5 – 3 years. In order to endure the nature of the job one must again look to existing high performing employees and collect data related to their temperament.
A company like Expr3ss! does exactly that. By asking a series of questions during the hiring stages against high performers in the role help assess and pinpoint whether the call centre applicant’s temperament match up with what has proven successful when in role. This recruitment software predicts which applicants will perform the best in the job into the long term.
Predictive hiring technology is the next-generation of features a recruitment system must have to help recruiters reduce turnover. It not only selects top talent based on skills aided by a smart candidate management system, it shortlists those candidates with the compatibility of the those with the attitudes and temperament to thrive in the role.
More details about predictive hiring can be read here.
This article focused on pre-employment considerations to help reduce call centre turnover, however there are of course very important areas during the job that will have significant impact in terms of retaining call centre staff, these include: allowing enough time to hire before anticipated volume or seasonal impacts, offering attractive salaries and bonuses, thorough onboarding, constant training, allowing remote employment (including working from home) and learning why employees leave early during exit interviews.