In the Call Center, Training Matters

January 21, 2016

WFO, or workforce optimization, is an idea that’s been around for a while, but has only recently begun to gain more traction in the call center field. The idea behind it is, if you can optimize what your workers do and how they do it, your bottom line will see the difference. Yet what many fail to see is that the staff you hire can have a bigger influence than the people you already have in place.

That’s the position of Jennifer Waite, Product Marketing Manager at cloud call center leader inContact. In a recent blog post, Waite took a deeper dive into WFO, and came up with some insights worth sharing.

“The hiring process is often overlooked as a key step in implementing an effective WFO strategy,” she maintains. “An agent’s relationship often begins many weeks prior to handling the first customer interaction and academic research has found that the candidate’s perception of the hiring process has a direct impact on his or her overall satisfaction with the company and his or her performance potential.”

As such, Waite concludes that the hiring process — and the new hire’s perception of it — is just as important to a successful WFO strategy as the selection of the right technology. She looks at three distinct parts of the process and why they’re important:

Attraction: “A company’s website careers page will capture active job seekers – those who know what they are looking for and where to look – as will the leading career sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Yahoo Jobs, and the like,” Waite says. But passive job seekers need to be attracted as well. Social media can play a big role in helping draw them, she adds. 

Selection: A critical part of the selection process is to screen candidates for their ability to handle the rigors of contact center work. “This is normally done through a recruiter-led telephone screen in which a recruiter asks the agent candidate a series of questions that are designed not only to validate the candidate’s skills, but also to gain some perspective on his or her communication style, energy and personality which are critical success factors in customer-contact positions,” Waite says. Basically, it’s designed to assure that the candidate will fit in with the team already in place.

Retention: “This is where the worlds of recruiting and WFO effectively come together,” Waite believes. New agents need to go through a comprehensive training program to prepare them for the rigors of contact center work. But if done properly, new employees will soon become veterans, and their example will be something the next generation coming up behind them will want to emulate.

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