Once you’ve determined the location, strategy, services and structure that’s right for your call center, you still have one of the toughest parts yet to go—recruiting and hiring.
Unfortunately, many call centers fall into the same hiring traps and pitfalls. Here’s five common ones we often see—and how to avoid them in your own call center, whether you’re hiring for the first time or doing ongoing hiring to maintain or scale your team.
1. Undefined Job Roles and Requirements
By far, one of the biggest hiring pitfalls call centers fall into is providing unclear job descriptions, or a lack of accurate job duties and responsibilities for potential employees or agents. Many call centers make this mistake for one of two reasons—either:
- intentionally, with the hopes that a broader (and less clear) job description will attract more applicants, making hiring easier, or
- unintentionally, with a lack of time or resources making it difficult to dedicate resources to crafting clear job descriptions and roles.
Whether this is intentional or unintentional, the results are the same—lacking clear job descriptions from the start tends to attract candidates who aren’t a good fit, thus increasing attrition (and hiring needs) over time.
Your job descriptions should also provide clear qualifications and skill requirements. While it’s possible—and necessary—to train for many aspects of a job for new hires, you should be clear on the basics and non-negotiable skills you’re looking for to ensure that agents are the right fit and to reduce onboarding and training time.
In short: don’t sugarcoat it and be clear from the beginning what you’re looking for. If you’re not clear about what you want, it makes it difficult to find the right fit. If you don’t have time to dedicate to this process, outsourcing can help. You can outsource some or all of your hiring processes, including analyzing team needs, crafting job descriptions, recruiting and building your team, onboarding, and so on.
Global Response can help with outsourcing your hiring processes or your call center, relieving you of the burden of creating great job descriptions and building your team. Not only can you easily create better job descriptions and communicate those clearly to potential employees, but you can also ensure you’re hiring the right people for the job, therefore reducing attrition and “quiet quitting” due to job dissatisfaction.
2. Ineffective Recruitment and Screening Processes
Another major hiring problem many call centers run into is ineffective recruitment and screening processes. Hiring is so much more than advertising a role, interviewing a few candidates and then hiring one. Recruitment‚ which comes even before hiring, should include:
- Sufficient sourcing processes
- Effective advertising strategies
- Effective screening & assessments
- Clear and efficient interviews
- Background checks
Sourcing and advertising for your roles should involve multiple platforms, as well as internal and external networks, as relevant. Ideally, your sourcing should be location-independent, or should consider a variety of locations that make sense with your goals.
In addition, many call centers employ inadequate screening and assessments during the hiring process, which fails to weed out ineffective candidates and often results in poor hiring decisions that result in poor service levels, additional time and resources spent on hiring and management, and poor long-term fits.
When implementing screening strategies, look for both hard and soft skills in prospective employees. Training can provide agents or other employees with the knowledge and practical skills they need, but it’s difficult to make someone more patient or empathetic—necessary skills for call center agents. To find employees who will thrive in your call center, make sure to effectively screen for these essential soft skills in your recruitment process.
At Global Response, our hiring process is thorough, aiming to create a process that allows us to hire the best people, the first time. We use placement testing to review resumes, skillset, experience and more to understand where employees will best fit within our organization, and employ skills, grammar and language pre-screening to ensure that candidates meet our internal quality standards. For candidates that pass our pre-screening, we have interviews with both the recruiting team and the account manager to get to know the candidate better and ensure which program and team they’ll be the best fit for.
3. Limited Candidate Pool and Diversity
An often overlooked mistake often made with call center hiring involves limited candidate pools and not making a wide enough search to get the best candidates.
Unless you have a legal reason to do so—say, governmental funding for your business that restricts employees to certain locations—there’s really no reason to restrict your team to one geographic area. Use nearshoring and offshoring to your advantage! You can also use hybrid teams—with some employees located domestically, while others work from nearshore or offshore locations, or completely remotely. Blending your teams in this way not only gives you access to more talent and a wider workforce, it gives you access to a variety of backgrounds, skills and multilingual fluency, while (in many cases) reducing the costs of your workforce.
Tapping into alternative talent pools—whether through other geographic areas, remote workers or hybrid teams—not only gives you access to more talent, scalability and skills, but it also creates a more diverse workforce for you. Limiting diversity—whether intentionally or unintentionally—can create a static and uncreative workplace for employees, as well as leave out exceptional talent. A more diverse workforce also allows your team to better connect with customers through more diverse backgrounds and experiences—ones that likely mirror the diversity of your audience.
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4. Inadequate Training and Onboarding Processes
Although it’s no secret that insufficient training and onboarding will negatively affect your employee retention and undermine your hiring efforts, they’re an often neglected aspect of hiring.
For many call centers, hiring is considered to be finished once the candidate signs the contract—however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather than assuming candidates will be loyal to your company once they begin their roles, consider instead what you can do to create employees who will be loyal.
Consider this: a recent study found that 62% of call center agents said they needed more skills-based training to succeed. Training shouldn’t be a one-time program that happens with onboarding. Instead, it should be ongoing and meet agents’ current skill levels as well as encouraging them to tackle new challenges and grow and develop in their positions—or reach for higher positions within your company.
Of course, ongoing development and support needs to be matched with sufficient training from the beginning. Whether it’s inefficient onboarding, creating bottlenecks in getting new employees up and running, insufficient ongoing training, or a general lack of development and support for employees, call centers absolutely must invest time and resources to employee training, development and growth if you want to see employees thrive in their roles and stay loyal to your company.
After all, when employees don’t get the training and support they need—especially during the onboarding process—they tend to get overwhelmed and burn out quickly, leading to low morale, high turnover and increased mistakes.
Working with an outsourcing partner can take this crucial step off your plate while ensuring that your agents are taken care of, from hiring to onboarding and beyond. When outsourcing—whether it’s your hiring process you’re looking to outsource or your entire call center—look for a partner with a strong emphasis on employee training and retention.
For example, at Global Response, we pair new employees with account managers and trainers who carefully monitor agents’ progress through our onboarding and training programs. We also provide expansive coaching and training in both customer service and experience as well as more specialized skills such as back-office operations, product knowledge and technical support. In addition, our team leads conduct regular QA monitoring, measure retention, provide ongoing coaching and support and implement new processes as needed to deliver exceptional customer service—and an excellent employee experience as well.
5. High Attrition and Employee Dissatisfaction
What all of this comes down to is high attrition and employee turnover, and low rates of employee satisfaction. While this isn’t often thought of as a “hiring problem,” you can see from the examples given above that many of the causes of high attrition and dissatisfaction begin long before the employee is ever hired.
Call center attrition rates are particularly high, compared to other roles, and there’s a number of reasons why:
- Repetitive work
- Dealing with frustrated or angry customers
- Lack of career growth or development opportunities
- Lack of recognition
- Inflexible working schedule
- High workloads or stressful work environments
The good news is that none of these problems are intrinsically linked to call centers (perhaps with the exception of dealing with frustrated or angry customers). All of them can be improved to increase job satisfaction and reduce attrition—you just need appropriate retention strategies to engage and support employees.
To determine what these strategies should be, get data from your current employees—ask for feedback regularly and understand the core reasons behind why employees leave or stay. Be sure to do exit interviews when employees leave to understand why they’re leaving and where their dissatisfaction, if any, lies. Know what matters to your employees and what you need to do to retain your most valuable agents.
For example, are employees most motivated by competitive compensation or benefits? Higher earning potential or a stronger pathway to career development and growth? Do they need more recognition or more training? Would they rather be paid more or have a more flexible schedule? Understanding your employees’ answers to these questions—and doing your best to provide solutions—will help you retain your employees longer.
Avoid These Hiring Problems with the Right Partner
When managing a call center internally, all of these pitfalls can require a lot of time and resources to avoid—which is why many businesses choose to outsource their call centers. By outsourcing, you can alleviate hiring problems while scaling your call center efficiently, improving quality and creating excellent results for your customers and your bottom line.
With Global Response, you can get help with hiring—or simply outsource the hiring altogether with a built-for-you call center that offers:
- exceptional customer service and quality
- services that meet your needs
- a results-oriented team designed to achieve your goals
- best-in-class talent, hired and trained by industry experts
- agents who act as brand specialists for your company
- world-class technology to manage, analyze, and improve your services
- and more!
Global Response is here to make your call center management easy and effective, so your call center can support your customers with excellence. Curious how we can help alleviate your hiring needs or growing pains?
Connect with a Global Response agent today for more details on how we can support your business growth.