With customer expectations growing, demand surging, and technology evolving, the scope of call centre operations is expanding.
A successful call centre needs agents at the top of their game, and hiring the right people is the first step towards delivering excellent customer service day in, day out.
However, we all know that hiring the right staff, and retaining those staff members, is easier said than done.
In fact, according to the Quality Assurance and Training Connection (QATC), U.S. call centres have an average turnover rate of 30 to 45%, a figure well above the national average for other industries.
By implementing call centre assessments, you can simplify the hiring process and ensure that you’re recruiting the best agents for your team—in terms of skill set, personality, culture fit, and expectations.
It’s also worth noting that call centre assessments can be used to train existing agents, or even as onboarding exercises for new team members. Whether you’re hiring or coaching, you need to know how to create a great call centre assessment.
Why Are Customer Service Skills Such a Hot Topic?
The pandemic accelerated the transition to online customer service, and as a result, customer expectations have escalated, raising the stakes for contact centres.
A recent report from Customer Contact Week Digital (CCWD) found that 60% of customers would consider switching to a competitor after two or fewer negative experiences, while 17% said they would look elsewhere after a single bad interaction.
With customers ready to jump ship at the first sign of trouble, hiring agents with the right mix of skills and personality traits to thrive in a contact centre is essential.
Using the contact centre assessments detailed below, you can get a sense of whether or not a prospective hire has what it takes to thrive in your organization.
Remember that every company is unique, so it’s important to create call centre assessments based on your specific needs.
#1. Call Centre Assessment: Personality Assessment
In a job that revolves around person-to-person interactions, having the right personality is a must. Certain traits are common among successful agents, and carrying out a personality assessment will allow you to determine whether or not these traits are present in a prospective hire.
Things like empathy and emotional intelligence are highly sought-after in the contact centre world, but the best approach is to identify the qualities that you want in your specific call centre and focus your assessment on those areas rather than sticking to a generic questionnaire.
Some typical questions in a personality assessment include:
- How do you stay motivated when the workload threatens to become overwhelming?
- Do you prefer extensive training or learning on the job?
- What would you do if a customer became angry and began to shout?
- What was the worst customer call you’ve ever had to deal with? How did you resolve it?
Ultimately, the questions should focus on the candidate as a person rather than the specifics of the role.
#2. Call Centre Assessment: Language Fluency
As the scope and scale of call centre operations expand, many organizations require a multilingual team to handle a global customer base.
When you’re dealing with a broad range of customers from different countries and backgrounds, it’s essential that your team is equipped to effectively communicate with anyone who may get in touch. The diversity of your team should reflect the diversity of your customer base.
Multilingual agents are a huge asset, but it’s important to verify language competency before hiring. In some cases, candidates may claim to be fluent in their application but fall short in reality.
In order to avoid this, you should carry out language fluency assessments that test applicants on grammar, comprehension, listening, and speaking in any languages they will be required to use in the role.
You can even set benchmarks in order to automatically eliminate those candidates who don’t at least meet the minimum requirements.
#3. Call Centre Assessment: Dealing With Upset Customers
Dealing with upset customers is part and parcel of the call centre experience. That’s why you need to be sure that any potential hire is capable of handling a frustrated customer with the care and competence necessary to find a resolution.
Many people find it difficult to handle rejection and rudeness, but call centre agents must be able to take angry customers in their stride and continue to provide a certain standard of service regardless of how irritated the customer may become.
To determine whether or not your potential hire is capable of dealing with upset customers, you can carry out an assessment based on past experiences and potential scenarios:
- Has a customer ever demanded to speak to your manager? If so, what did you do?
- Have you ever had to deal with a customer who didn’t receive their order? If so, how did you resolve their issue?
- If a customer complained about shipping times, how would you handle it?
- If a customer wasn’t happy with the quality of an item they received, how would you assist them?
#4. Call Centre Assessment: Computer Literacy Skills
With the advent of social media and other online platforms, there are more channels of communication available than ever before and, with this, an increased workload for the contact centre agent.
In order to manage all of these channels and handle the additional volume, contact centres have implemented a range of digital tools, and it’s important that any new hires are capable of using these tools effectively.
While past experience with the specific tools your contact centre uses would be useful, it shouldn’t be viewed as a dealbreaker.
What you really need to look out for is a general level of computer literacy which shows that a candidate is capable of picking up new technologies quickly.
As part of this assessment, you should discuss what tools the candidate has used in the past and ascertain their level of familiarity with different communication channels such as email, live chat, social media, and instant messaging.
Additionally, given the prominence of text-based communication in modern contact centres, a typing test could be beneficial. Agents should be quick enough to keep up with the volume of conversations across different channels and accurate enough to maintain a professional brand image.
#5. Call Centre Assessment: Culture Fit
Whether or not a new hire is a good fit for the organization’s culture will go a long way to determining their happiness in the role and their suitability for the job.
Even if an agent has the necessary technical and soft skills to do the job, they’re unlikely to stay long if they don’t feel comfortable within the organization’s culture. As part of a culture fit assessment, you should also gauge the expectations of your prospective agent.
Expectations can vary significantly from person to person and, while some people are capable of adapting to a new role in a new organization, others may struggle if there is a mismatch between what they hope to find in the new position and what it actually offers.
As noted at the start of this article, U.S. call centres have a high rate of employee turnover, and unmet expectations can be a frequent contributor to this persistent industry issue.
Call centres run on agents, but finding the right agents for your organization—and keeping them there—can be tricky.
By carrying out call centre assessments, you can determine whether or not prospective hires have the suitable skill set and personality to fit the organization’s culture and thrive in your call centre.
From soft skills to technical ability, there is a range of practical assessments you can use depending on the specific requirements of your business. The most important thing is to identify the unique needs of your contact centre and design your assessments based on these needs.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Scorebuddy – View the original post
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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.