10 Customer Service & Call Center Hiring Trends Right Now

As we settle into 2024, there is no better time to take a look at the year ahead. Customer service and call center hiring, training, and management will significantly change. Gone are the days of expansive call centers with endless rows of tiny cubicles. Modern call centers and companies with customer service centers are rethinking how they approach these departments’ hiring, training, and employee retention. By knowing the industry trends, you can ensure your company remains competitive as a desirable place to work in the eyes of top talent. Consider how your company can embrace these ten top trends when evaluating how you can improve your customer service and call center hiring in 2024. 

1. Remote Work and Virtual Call Centers

Virtual offices and remote work are here to stay. With this, customer service and call centers continue adapting to this new working style. Recruitment can expand far beyond the old geographical limitations without being tied to a large office center. 

Recruiting can take place on a global scale. Agents can work in a virtual call center from their home or remote office. This creates a more diverse team with more cultures and languages represented. It also gives companies greater flexibility in the times it can provide customer service. With agents working in multiple time zones, customers are better served when they need assistance most. This increases a company’s ability to provide high quality customer service or to reach new markets more quickly. 

Global recruitment also gives companies a significantly larger talent pool to pull from. This leads to an overall higher quality of agents hired. Over time, the entire team rises to a higher quality standard.

To succeed in a remote position, employees must have self discipline, motivation, and a commitment to quality. These are qualities that an in-person agent may not have because a supervisor or manager is present to keep them on track. However, these qualities are also essential for hiring employees who will grow with a company long term.

2. Increased Value of Technology Knowledge

More companies than ever are embracing ever advancing technology. There was a time when new technology was expensive to implement, making it cost prohibitive for many businesses to invest in it. However, this isn’t the case anymore. Technology is developing and progressing so quickly that it is becoming affordable faster and essential even more so. Companies now see the valuable long term ROI when embracing new technologies. With this, they need to hire employees who can quickly learn and utilize adopted technology. 

From AI-powered operations to integrating multiple software platforms, customer service and call center agents need to learn and adapt to using new technology quickly. Shorter learning curves mean full productivity sooner, resulting in a smoother hiring process. More competent agents can navigate multiple software platforms and types of technology smoothly, giving the customer a better experience. Recruiting and hiring efforts can focus more on an applicant’s technology experience. Agents with previous experience in the currently used software will be a valuable asset because they can become fully operational faster. 

3. Growing Multi-Tasking Requirements

New technology and multiple software platforms mean customer service and call center agents need to be able to multitask effectively. It has become standard for companies to use a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, phone, chat, and email. Hiring will focus more on looking for applicants who can effectively navigate these different communication methods and management software. For the best customer experience, agents need to be able to switch between each of these while maintaining a smooth experience without losing track of the customer’s journey or their own tasks. 

In addition, customers are more sophisticated and educated than ever. They utilize technology in their own life. This raises their expectation levels when communicating with agents. Companies need to recognize this so that they adjust their hiring standards. Agents need to be able to understand the customer’s journey so far and how they can improve the experience while also not losing sight of the company’s goals. 

4. Integrating Sales Skills

Many companies are taking a new approach to managing their sales and customer service departments. Traditionally, these departments have been organized and managed completely separately. This approach is no longer the standard. It is not the most cost-effective approach and requires significant resources to operate. The new approach is to merge these departments. 

A trend that will take hold in 2024 is a hybrid of customer service and sales in one department. This allows companies to target sales and customer retention opportunities with existing customers. This increases sales while also providing a customized experience when delivering customer service. Agents well versed in sales are able to recognize cross promotion and upgrade opportunities that an agent solely trained in customer service might miss. 

This new sales and customer service focus will influence hiring and recruiting. Companies will need to look for agents with a mix of skills required for sales and customer service. Alternatively, they may have strong skills in one area and show great potential for trainability and success in the other. Combining sales and customer service into one position can be polarizing for some applicants. Companies will need to clearly communicate the role’s demands and responsibilities to ensure applicants understand what is expected of them. Otherwise, they risk higher turnover rates as dissatisfied employees seek alternative employment. 

5. Hiring for Potential

Modern companies understand that for the organization to succeed, it needs the employees to succeed. Through the employee’s professional growth, the company will also grow. Hiring for future potential gives companies room to do this growth. Companies will focus on the applicant’s soft skills to hire for potential. This will include the employee’s emotional intelligence, motivation, and critical thinking skills. These foundational elements signal the likelihood of the employee continuing to progress in their career. 

Hiring for potential focuses less on the applicant’s previous accomplishments and work experience. Instead, hiring evaluation focuses on behaviors and thinking processes that will complement the role. During interviewing and screening, there will be fewer questions about previous accomplishments. Instead, hiring managers will present hypothetical scenarios and ask the applicant how they will address or resolve the dilemma presented. 

6. Customized Onboarding and Training

The previous approach of one-size-fits-all training is no longer the standard. All-day classroom or remote meeting training is ineffective for information retention. This is especially the case for remote workers, where distractions within the home can easily draw agent’s attention away from long-drawn-out training courses. The other drawback of this approach is the lack of relevancy. Not everyone needs the same level of training in all areas. Additionally, classroom training and real-world experience can vary significantly, leaving agents feeling unprepared despite long hours of classroom work. 

The new approach is to create shorter and subject or skill-targeted training courses. This approach improves focus and information retention, leading to increased agent satisfaction and long-term retention. It also lets companies tailor the training program post-hiring for each agent. The result is an extensive training program that directly addresses each agent’s needs. The result is a stronger overall customer service or call center team. 

The short training courses also look different from traditional training. It could include gamification, short bursts of micro-learning, or AI-driven control courses that adapt to the agent’s input. 

7. Focus on Relationship Building Skills

Customer service as an industry is changing with an increased focus on relationship building. However, for a company to build customer relationships, it needs to provide a personalized experience. From there, the customer needs to feel valued and listened to. For all of these to happen, the hiring process for customer service agents needs to change. Relationship building skills will become more valued. In addition, conflict resolution and communication skills are essential. 

The most valuable agents will effectively evaluate their customer interactions and provide valuable feedback. Companies can use this information to tailor future strategies. This starts at the hiring process by looking for agents who possess the skills necessary to do this. Critical thinking, attention to detail, and effective communication are all going to become more in-demand skills. 

8. Adaptability

Modern call center and customer service agents need to be adaptable in their roles. Not every call is the same, and not every customer has the same needs. Having agents follow a hard script does not provide the level of customer service needed. Instead, agents need to analyze the customer in real-time to quickly determine their needs. That way, they can provide a personalized service that will increase customer loyalty. 

Adaptability is a soft skill that candidates naturally have. Their personality allows them to stay in tune with the customer. Companies need to have a higher level of trust with these agents. There is no set script. Instead, there is a loose set of guidelines that help the agent direct the call to serve the customer’s needs best. 

9. Diversifying the Team

With remote call centers becoming the norm, this creates an opportunity for increased diversity. Companies can now hire individuals from diverse backgrounds. This lets companies use advanced technology to pair customers intelligently with customer service agents. This pairing helps companies give better service by pairing them with the ideal agent. While this may seem like a complex match-making process, it can improve the customer experience by getting them directly to the expert who can help them best. Perhaps that means matching customers with agents who have extensive experience in a particular area. Or it could mean routing customers to agents that previously worked with and had a positive experience with. The result is shorter wait and active service times. 

This new customer service and call center handling approach impacts hiring trends. Companies can now focus on hiring agents that fulfill specific needs. This creates a more targeted approach instead of generalized mass hiring. Open position listings could include more detailed information about the role, helping to create a more qualified candidate pool. 

10. Leveraging AI for Recruiting

Most companies will begin to use AI technology in their recruiting and hiring processes if they haven’t already done so. While you cannot and should not totally depend on AI, it can be a valuable tool to optimize hiring efforts. When applied to recruiting efforts, AI can become a part of candidate relationship management (CRM) systems and applicant tracking systems (ATSs). This organizes and streamlines applicant management for a faster hiring process. AI can also be used to write or improve job descriptions to match better the changing roles of customer service and call center agents. 

For companies looking to embrace AI fully, it can create an interactive experience for applicants. Companies can use it to prescreen applicants through assessments. These assessments could identify company roles for which a candidate would be the best fit. It can also become a resource for applicants by answering questions in real time. It could even identify passive or lost candidates that a company could reengage for potential hire. 

Plan for Customer Service and Call Center Hiring Trends

With these ten trends changing the hiring landscape, companies need to reevaluate their recruiting and hiring practices. By staying current, companies can target and attract top talent. This starts by opening up customer service and agent positions for applicants worldwide by creating remote positions. They can improve operations by prioritizing soft skills, flexibility, and relationship building skills. Then, companies can reduce turnover rates by adapting to a new training program that customizes training to the agent’s needs. Finally, companies looking to make the most impact will consider combining sales and customer service for a relationship focused approach to serving customers. 

Work with BOS Staffing to update your recruiting efforts and increase the quality of your call center and customer service team. 

Break Into Finance with These 6 Hot Financial Career Options

Break Into Finance with These 6 Hot Financial Career Options

If you have a knack for numbers and math, then pursuing a career in finance is a smart career choice.…
Legal Jobs You'll Love (Without a Law Degree)

Legal Jobs You'll Love (Without a Law Degree)

Plenty of legal jobs do not require you to graduate from law school. They will let you pursue your passion…
Stop Making These 6 Common Interview Mistakes & Land Your Dream Job

Stop Making These 6 Common Interview Mistakes & Land Your Dream Job

After sending out resumes and applying to open positions, you have landed the interview and have a chance to impress…