Tips for Screening Call Center Agents During the Interview Process
- Call center agent screening during the hiring process looks for a specific set of interpersonal skills.
- Good call center agents know how to organize their time in effective ways.
- They’re good at listening carefully to both customers and trainers.
- They have good memories and know how to take notes to boost them.
- Agents that will stick around know how to keep calm in the face of stress.
- Above all, they are able to understand the feelings of those they talk with.
- Boomsourcing finds agents with these abilities and helps develop them further.
Building up customer service or sales teams requires that you find people with the right attributes to work in a high-pressure contact center environment. The office itself might be a pretty laid-back place, but dealing with customers never is. Whether it’s a question of dealing with complaints, inquiries, tech support, or sales pitches, this line of work calls for a certain degree of interpersonal skill. Call center agent screening during the hiring process takes that requirement into account.
Top 5 Attributes to Look For During Call Center Agent Screening
There are many facets to the screening process that human resources and recruiting personnel manage. There are also certain key attributes that apply especially well in a call center environment. Here are five of the most important ones that are relevant and easily visible during the interview process:
This one’s pretty simple, and candidates that don’t have it are easy to spot. Arriving on time, having a resume free of proofreading errors, and simply looking presentable are all good signs.
This attribute also has to do with the ability to handle multiple responsibilities effectively. In the past, it was thought that the ability to multitask was good, but more and more research is showing that multitasking is detrimental to productivity.
That doesn’t change the nature of call center work, which involves a lot of back-and-forth from the phones to the CRM and the knowledge base. The key is to make sure that agent candidates know how to prioritize their time, so they can switch effectively.
“To remain focused but at the same time cover a lot of ground, try structuring your day into half-hour chunks. Work on something different just about every half hour.
“I do this and to some people this sounds like multitasking. But it’s actually focused work, because I do nothing else during each half hour. I don’t check my phone, email, or switch tasks at all during the half hour. Even though I do many different things in a day, each one stays fresh in my mind for when I get to it the next day.” (Jim Davies, via Quartz)
Make sure your call center agent screening helps you identify and train agents who aren’t constantly distracting themselves, and watch your productivity skyrocket!
This is also an incredibly important and regrettably uncommon skill. Research has shown that when listening normally, most of us retain less than 20% of what we hear. That’s a customer relations disaster waiting to happen if they’re calling with a problem!
Good call center agents will have the skills necessary to pay close attention to what the person on the other end of the line is saying. They may take notes during the conversation, and they’ll acknowledge each point they hear. Importantly, they will verify the accuracy of their own understanding of the issue by rephrasing it in their own words and asking the customer if it’s correct. Only when they listen carefully and are sure of what the problem is will they be able to address it. No shortcuts!
Knowledge Retention and Recall
This skill is bolstered greatly by the previous two. Agents deal with a wide range of issues relating to specific products and services, so they need to be able to quickly draw from a deep reserve of knowledge on the subject. They can achieve this as long as they’re listening or reading carefully from their training materials, and not overloading their minds with distractions.
Agents who are constantly having to refer back to their knowledge base or training materials or supervisors for questions they’ve already encountered before may have a problem in this area. If so, they may need to declutter their minds by reducing distractions and ineffective multitasking, and by implementing strategies like note-taking whenever they need to look something up. Specifically, agents should have a pen or pencil and a notepad to use because writing things down by hand has been proven to improve memory recall.
Sometimes, customers are just awful to phone agents. No secret there. Other times, call center work can be boring and monotonous.
Because of these shifts in activity and the feelings they generate, it’s very important for call center agents to have a high level of emotional resilience.
“Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. More resilient people are able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor.” (verywellmind.com)
Emotionally stable agents are better-suited to the stresses of call center work, and less likely to quit out of frustration. Instead, they’ll be better prepared to keep building their careers. This is probably one of the most important traits to look for during call center agent screening. That’s because it contributes more than any other to reducing turnover.
This trait is also closely related to some of the others on this list. Empathy means understanding and even sharing the feelings of another person. This is impossible to do without really listening to them. When we do have it, though, it makes it easier for us to understand the customer’s problem and why they’re talking to us the way they are. This understanding contributes to our own emotional stability as well. No call center agent screening is complete unless it takes into account the candidate’s sense of empathy.
Boom Agents: The Complete Package
When you hire Boomsourcing to provide your organization with an outsourced call center team, this is what we provide you. We train our agents to listen attentively, and we provide them with all the tools they need to work in a highly organized way.
That means that not only do you get to save money by outsourcing your call center roles, but you also get the very best kinds of agents on your side, every day.
Contact us today to make your customer support and sales outreach even more organized, attentive, smart, stable, and empathetic!