Call center hiring is changing as rapidly as the industry itself. Just three stats will tell you what’s happening in the call center industry:
- Less than half (47%) of customer interactions will take place via voice this year
- 52% of call centers worldwide offer customer interaction via social media
- Top KPIs have shifted from revenue to customer satisfaction
Digital transformation has arrived for inbound call centers, driving the need for call center hiring teams in telecom, financial services, healthcare and more to realign with changing business operations and priorities. To find out if your call center hiring strategies are still relevant for the modern call center workforce, read on.
Emerging Call Center Trends
Let’s take a closer look at the data above. What’s surprising about the decrease in call center phone interactions is not that it’s happening, but that it’s happening so quickly. In research by Deloitte, contact center executives expected a decrease in voice interactions from 64% in 2017 to 47% this year. They also projected use of chat, messaging and text to rise from 6% to 16% in the same time frame. For service reps (CSRs) skilled in handling customer inquiries and complaints by phone, that’s a significant shift in technologies, process and communication styles in just a short time. This “omnichannel” model has an impact on call center hiring.
Call centers are switching to multiple channels in their pursuit of a superior, differentiating digital customer experience that is also less costly to execute. The modern call center service experience is:
- Personalized – Customers expect CSRs to greet them by name, have their purchase and service history at their fingertips, and be able to answer in-depth questions about the product or service.
- Fast – Customers today prefer options for self-service and for instant access to a CSR who can handle more complex questions and activities.
- Digital – Customers do their banking, get insurance quotes, pay bills, enroll in health insurance and so much more via mobile. When they need customer service, they prefer to interact with knowledgeable CSRs on smartphone-friendly channels.
experience-related KPIs have become top priority for call centers not only because customer satisfaction drives bottom-line financials, but also because new approaches to service change call center hiring. For example, with chat technology, one CSR can manage five or six chat requests at the same time, cutting customer wait times. With AI-driven organized email queues that route the same types of queries to a CSR expert, the CSR can improve both customer response times and response volume. The cost per interaction drops from dollars to pennies.
What It Means for Call Center Hiring
Digital transformation is changing what effective call center hiring looks like:
The new ideal candidate isn’t just phone-service savvy. He needs strong tech skills and the ability to handle multiple platforms at once, including team collaboration tools. Multitasking capability is a must for handling a half dozen customer chats simultaneously. He also needs not simply a positive service attitude, but the ability to quickly grasp customer context (purchase history, likes/dislikes and other data) and turn that into a personalized service experience. Interacting with customers on social media platforms means he needs sharp public communication skills. Finally, there’s the ability to identify and solve customer issues quickly, without losing his cool.
Increase in remote call center employees. CSRs can provide a digital customer experience from any location. With continuing talent shortages, advanced call center cloud technologies and the cost advantages of a virtual workforce, more call center hiring is dedicated to finding and engaging remote employees.
Continuing battle with attrition. Call centers continue their struggle with some of the highest turnover rates (30% to 50%) of any industry. Though AI technologies which automate some call center activities may cut down on hiring demand and attrition, call center hiring is still high-volume recruitment. The five largest contact centers in the U.S. each maintain a workforce of more than 40,000 employees. Two are closer to 50,000.
How to Own the Market in Call Center Hiring
You can engage, interview and hire better call center candidates faster with shrewd strategies and innovative HR technology in your call center hiring workflow:
- Identify qualified talent faster. Use on-demand text interviewing to engage hundreds of candidates at once. On-demand text scales the power of SMS messaging, allowing you to find candidates able to work second/third shift, who are bilingual, or meet other qualifications in just hours, not days. When text recruiting is part of an integrated interviewing platform, you can automatically advance qualified candidates to the next step in your call center hiring process, and politely let others know to continue their job hunt.
- Check fit and reduce attrition. Use on-demand video interviews to get to know hundreds of candidates quickly. Ask situational judgment questions in your interview. Test their problem-solving skills with common call center-issue scenarios you ask them to respond to. Quickly identify the strongest candidates and forward their recorded responses for hiring managers to review.
- Reduce interviewer bias. Use AI-enabled unbiased candidate review technology to put the focus on candidate performance. Montage’s unbiased candidate review is integrated with our on-demand video interviewing platform. It masks candidate identifier information while hiring managers review recorded candidate interviews and make their decision.
- Make smarter call center hiring decisions. Use combined on-demand interviews and assessments to quickly and efficiently evaluate any number of candidates.
All of these strategies can help you update your call center hiring process so you can consistently make great hires for your organization. Text interviewing transformed call center hiring for one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers - find out how today.