Call Centers are one of the most difficult places to retain employees for the long-term. Beginning with a plan for success will make a tremendous difference. Proper hiring and managing techniques can reduce turnover costs, improve profits, improve employee morale, and increase customer satisfaction.
Include your existing employees in the search.
Offer referral bonuses or recognition to encourage your current employees to refer their friends. Too many times, companies don’t have a way of letting their own employees know that they are looking for a new employee. Outside of their own department or team, employees are too often unaware of the company’s needs. You won’t get referrals until you ask!
Profile your most successful call center representatives.
Identify and study your best performers. What past experiences, skills, or personality traits do they share that you might duplicate in new hires? Where did you find those successful call center reps? Go back to that same referral source again.
Benchmark their skills. Identify the skills that are necessary for success and then use objective assessments to measure those skills in your best performers. Use validated tests to insure accuracy and fairness in your methods.
Know why employees leave your company.
Many companies interview employees on their last day of work and the standard answer for leaving is generally pay or benefits. Reach back to employees that left your organization six months ago and ask them the same questions. With a little distance, they might be less concerned about hurting feelings and give you the real reason they were unhappy.
Hire in the method that they will work.
Its just common sense, if you are hiring someone to talk on the phone all day, then you should interview them on the phone. Similarly, email agents should be required to correspond with you via email during the hiring process. Communication skills are key and there is no better way to evaluate.
Provide full-disclosure of the job.
Be honest about the job. Let the candidate listen to recordings of actual calls – good and bad so that they’ll have a real understanding of what they are getting into. Everyone will assure you they can handle the phones. There is nothing worse than having a rep quit on their first day in the call center after training because they suddenly realized they really don’t like calling people.
Once you’ve got them, mentor them and recognize their accomplishments.
Everyone wants to learn, grow and be recognized for their efforts. Offer opportunities to learn new skills – even if they aren’t always directly attributable to their current job. Regular recognition of good work doesn’t have to be expensive – sometimes its as simple as a certificate or a doughnut, but it can make a real difference in team morale.
These six tips are just the beginning of improving the hiring and retention practices in your call center. Partner with a staffing service that is an expert in call center hiring practices to assure success.