Too many contact centers approach potential agents as simply a warm body in a chair, and anyone who can talk on the phone and operate a keyboard will do. Given the high turnover in the contact center industry, this is clearly erroneous thinking, and more progressive organizations have built a picture of what the perfect call center agent is so they can spot those special traits in candidates.
Englewood, Colorado-based TeleTech (News - Alert), a call center outsourcing giant, has done just that in the form of a helpful infographic. Entitled, “Anatomy of a Great Call Center Employee,” the graphic outlines what managers should be seeking in candidates for call center jobs.
Active listener and conversationalist. It’s no secret that contact center agents must do a lot of talking, so hiring an extreme introvert wouldn’t be a great idea. But good agents must do more than talk: they need to be excellent listeners so they can interact with customers in the most meaningful way possible.
Passionate. It’s been proven again and again that employees who believe in what they are doing are more likely to become engaged with their jobs and stay that way. Look for employees who are passionate about helping people and gain satisfaction from it.
Team player. The contact center is no place for hyper-competitive lone wolves who won’t collaborate, share information and techniques and demonstrate best practices to others. According to TeleTech, comfort in working with others and making an effort to get along are key to achieving team success.
Flexible schedules. For TeleTech, full coverage for clients all the time means that employees must be flexible in the hours they can work and expect to work rotating shifts: sometimes early, sometimes late. While not all contact centers have this need, if yours does, be sure to look for people who are able to meet these needs rather than springing this information on them after they’ve been hired.
Tech savvy. While call center work once required working little more than a telephone, today’s agent needs to not only talk and listen, but operate eight, 10, 12 or more applications simultaneously. According to TeleTech, successful agents must know their way in operating desktop PCs and basic computer software. Typing skills are also critical.
By building a model of your perfect contact center agent in advance, before you begin the hiring process, you’ll waste less time interviewing people who are blatantly not suitable from the get-go. Winnowing down the traits successful agents must have is likely to be one of the most critical pre-planning activities a company can do. With more intelligent hiring, less time and money is lost training and replacing unsuitable and unsuccessful candidates.