June 2, 2014 – When it comes to call center outsourced services companies, their product is their people. The kind of inbound call center customer services representatives you, the client, want and need depends on your product and your markets.
The capabilities of inbound customer service call center representatives usually depends on their age, experience and education. Generally speaking, the more they have of all three the higher the skill level.
For companies seeking an outsourced customer service call center capability in support of a low-cost, high-volume product, they probably don’t need highly skilled call center services agents. This is because high-quality customer service is neither expected or required, making a recent high school graduate (or GED) hired for entry-level work is an adequate alternative.
But for retail, ecommerce, business services, manufacturing, technology and healthcare companies with a more complex product or service at a higher price point, for which customers expect quality customer service, the entry-level representative will fall short of customer expectations.
For this kind of company, the “advanced agent model” is needed. What does this mean? It means hiring a call center outsourcing service with customer service, order processing and help desk representatives who are more educated, experienced and older than is typically found in call center environments.
It means a contact center where more than half the agents have at least a two-year college degree (and many more are pursuing their bachelor’s degree); an average age of more than 30 years old; and at least three years of sales or call center experience before they were hired by the outsourcer.
Call centers of this type typically pay their representatives more and offer better employee benefits than average call centers with entry-level employment qualifications. Better pay and benefits has the added benefit of a more stable workforce, so the supervisors and agents who work on your program will tend to remain on your program and build their skills and knowledge of your company.
Ask your prospective call center outsourcers about their screening and testing procedures during the hiring process. You want one that puts applicants through at least two rounds of interviews. The screening process should include mock customer service phone calls, in which the applicant’s phone presence and cross-selling capabilities are tested and re-tested. Applicants should also prove they have computer skill proficiency, an aptitude for learning new computer applications and the ability to type at least 30 words per minute.
Most important, you want a contact center with people who derive personal satisfaction out of helping people (that is, your customers), getting them the information they need, finding the products they want and resolving the issues they have. These are people with the inner drive to do their jobs well and to continually improve their skills. These are people who make up the “advanced agent model.”
Call Center Services