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Guest Blog: Skills and Benchmarking – Where to find the right agents for your contact center - Calabrio - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

Guest Blog: Skills and Benchmarking – Where to find the right agents for your contact center

The contact-center industry lacks visibility into job applicants’ capabilities across verticals and geographies. Brent Holland, EVP at FurstPerson, walks us through research on data captured from global contact-center applicants to help close the knowledge gap and provide insight into the relative strengths and limitations of talent pools.

Contact centers are an efficient, cost-effective vehicle for businesses to communicate directly with customers. A contact center is usually either a bricks-and-mortar facility or home office from which a person interacts with consumers via telephony and other technologies (e.g., live chat, email, and social media) while accessing real-time data to answer questions, solve problems, solicit new business, and myriad other activities.

Contact center agents draw on a vast array of skills to produce the customer engagement, contact handling efficiency, win-back percentage and revenue production companies expect. Although most industry-insiders recognize the complexities of these jobs and the unique skills sets required by employees to execute duties effectively, finding and hiring the right talent remains elusive in many contact centers. The sobering truth is that every company can improve the way in which it evaluates applicant potential for on-the-job success and matches people to the ideal job(s) and environment(s).

It is especially important to improve the process considering as much as 40% year-over-year increases in turnover among the hourly employed at an average cost of $4,284 per person1.

Before companies can improve quality of hire it is essential to understand the relative strength of the applicant pool in their respective markets – critical intelligence that has thus far remained elusive. FurstPerson’s 2017 Global Benchmarking Study sample consisted of 1,237,654 English-speaking job applicants who applied to contact centers between 2014 and 2016 in 293 locations distributed across 13 countries; sample sizes ranged between 587,558 (USA) and 294 (Dominican Republic). Job applicants applied to seven different types of contact center jobs, though not all jobs or contact center skills’ assessments are represented in every country. The study measured contact center skills using a variety of assessments and work-sample simulations. Note that the research summarized below has been standardized to permit direct comparisons across markets.

Socioemotional Tendencies

This research explored three socioemotional factors (Fig. 1) that underlie success in many contact center jobs. Results across eight countries portray important differences that could impact service quality. Colombia, Mexico, and Philippines achieve the lowest scores on Emotional IQ, suggesting that the candidate pools in these geographies are more vulnerable to stress and pressure than candidates in other regions. Interestingly, however, the Emotional IQ tendencies do not correspond to a substantially higher likelihood of burnout, suggesting that Emotional IQ could be more influenced by cultural factors and, therefore, may not have the same implications for job performance across geographies, though additional research is needed on this topic. It is important to note, however, that El Salvador achieves both the highest Emotional IQ score and a 17% lower score on potential for burnout than other countries. Creative problem solving illustrates the strength of applicants in Canada, El Salvador and Mexico in terms of identifying new solutions to everyday problems.

 
 
Four Important Contact Center Skills

Figure 2 summarizes four assessments used to measure contact center skills critical for common jobs. The tools include a written English skills assessment (1stScribe®), an inbound customer service simulation (CC Audition® Service), an inbound sales simulation (CC Audition® Sales), and a live chat simulation (CC Audition® Chat).

English Writing Skills

In terms of written communication skills (Fig. 3), the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Canada outpace other countries by a sizable margin. El Salvador and Philippines’ applicants demonstrate below-average performance on constructing complete sentences (34% and 35%), grammar (41% and 39%), instructional writing (41% and 43%), and overall writing skills (39% and 35%), though candidates from both countries outperform applicants from Columbia, India, Mexico, and St. Kitts. Columbian, Indian and Mexican applicants score similarly on most dimensions.

 
  Inbound Sales Skills

Inbound sales roles are critical in contact-centers. By accepting incoming customer inquiries, representatives are presented with the opportunity to identify a need, educate the customer, position an offer, and close a sale. Those representatives with the greatest likelihood of success possess strong multi-tasking, data-entry, computer, and job-specific sales skills. One implication is that the best inbound sales representatives tend to draw on a broad skill set that allows them to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, such as searching for account or promotional information while interacting with the customer, to create a seamless, engaging experience.

Across the four markets with sales-related skills’ benchmarking data (Fig. 4), the USA (52%) and United Kingdom (49%) achieved the highest overall sales scores; it is important to note, however, that Filipino applicants came in a close third.  Applicant scores showed the most variability on Data Entry Accuracy, with a range of 21% (Mexico) to 52% (USA) whereas scores appeared more consistent on Multi-Tasking – 42% (Mexico) to 51% (USA). The relative weakness of Mexican applicants on Computer skills is important and points to a critical development need if the country’s contact-center industry wishes to remain competitive for inbound sales jobs.

Live Chat Skills

In Figure 5 the markets show the most consistency in terms of computer ability. For example, Philippines’ applicants demonstrated computer skills equivalent to applicants in the United States. Conversely, chat applicants from Canada, Columbia, and India scored slightly lower than the Philippines and United States.

The data varies across geographies on the data accuracy scale. Applicants in Canada, United States, Philippines, and Dominican Republic achieved comparable scores. However, Columbia and India perform at a significantly lower level on this dimension. One implication of these findings is that chat programs based in India and Columbia may struggle with quality assurance and efficiency-related metrics compared to programs in other markets.

Scores on service orientation and multi-tasking show a similar pattern across markets. The United States, Canada, Philippines, and Dominican Republic achieve the highest scores on service and multi-tasking scales, reinforcing their position as the strongest chat-related markets in this study.

Inbound Customer Service

The pattern across all four scales is virtually identical (Fig. 6). India, United States, Philippines and Canada perform best across the scales; the lone exception for for India is Accuracy, with the score falling below the United States, Philippines, and Canada. The results reinforce the strength of international markets’ technology and engagement skills, though the simulation does not take into consideration English language accent or conversation ability.

Conclusion

As companies extend the footprint of their global operations, the markets they choose for expansion will impact their ability to recruit individuals with the skills necessary to perform at a high level. The above results suggest that El Salvador-based applicants perform best on Emotional IQ and Creative Problem Solving while Philippines’ applicants possess the lowest Burnout Risk. In terms of core contact center skills, United States’ applicants perform best on English Writing and Inbound Sales, India does best on Inbound Service, and Canada achieves the highest score on Live Chat Skills. Job candidates in the United Arab Emirates and Canada (English Writing) and United Kingdom and Philippines (Chat and Inbound Sales) perform nearly identical to those in the United States on specific skills. This blog offers a summary of which regions would perform best with which channels and in which particular roles, but for a deeper understanding of who your center should be hiring, and where, feel free to get in contact with FurstPerson.

Notes

  1. Call center recruiting and compensation survey (2009). FurstPerson, Inc.

 

Source: https://blog.teleopti.com/2017/11/02/skills-and-benchmarking-where-to-find-the-right-agents-for-your-contact-center/

Publish Date: November 2, 2017


2021 Buyers Guide Remote Agent Solutions

 
1.) 
3Fiftynine

Branches
Making sure agents can work remotely isn’t a problem with Branches. The system shows accurate information, real-time. No fear of missing out on important updates anymore.

2.) 
Amtelco

Web Agent
Our Web Agent application is a web browser-based telephone agent interface for the Genesis Intelligent Series (IS) call center platform. The Genesis Web Agent application makes any personal computer a professional telephone agent station.

3.) 
Centrical

Centrical Business Continuity & Remote Work Solutions
Centrical Solutions Help Sustain Business Continuity,
Keep Employees Engaged and Connected During COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Centrical, provider of the holistic, real-time employee engagement and performance management platform, offers contact centers ways to

Keep calm and keep working remotely.

We offer solutions for business continuity in a crisis that provide effective engagement, communications, and reskilling of employees working from home, among other things. They will let you:

Reduce anxiety and isolation
The times we’re in require an extra effort to communicate and keep everyone connected. With Centrical, you can create an ongoing stream of communica...
(read more)

4.) 
Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire
Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:

5.) 
Consilium Software

Consilium UniAgent™ Mobile
As we enter the next stage of the global pandemic, Contact Centers are faced with a new set of challenges to enable their Agents to Work-from-Home without impacting Customer Experience (CX). UniAgent™ Mobile is the ideal solution to enable Work-from-Home Agents using Tablets or Smartphones or PC without any VPN. UniAgent™ Mobile is compatible with Cisco CCE, CCX, PCCE and HCS-CC contact centers (both bridged and nailed connection). UniAgent™ Mobile is available as On-Premises or Cloud Solution which can be hosted in the Private Cloud, or on the Public Cloud (AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, etc.). UniAgent™ Mobile can be deployed in conjunction with Cisco Unified Mobile Agent (CU...
(read more)

6.) 
Dalbar Inc.

CXA iCoach
As a leading expert in contact center business practices, DALBAR recognizes the challenge of consistently delivering exceptional customer experiences with the sudden shift to remote teams. Our self-evaluation and coaching solution for remote representatives and virtual contact centers will let you meet these challenges head on. DALBAR's CXA iCoach solution, combines our proprietary criteria and over 40 years of industry research. It allows Contact Center Managers and Quality Teams to continue to improve and provide a better customer experience even when they aren't at a physical location.

7.) 
Eckoh

CallGuard Remote
A flexible way to take secure, PCI DSS compliant payments from home or remote locations. It’s quick to deploy needs no changes to processes or systems.
CallGuard Remote prevents agents from seeing, hearing or recording card details so, the agent, their screen, and any call recordings are removed from the scope of PCI DSS. This simple approach means the customer effectively types their own payment information into the agent’s payment screen, but with the card details being shielded from the agent’s view. It’s simple, and highly effective.

8.) 
Happitu

Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

Try it free for 45 days!

9.) 
MattsenKumar LLC

Virtual Contact Center Solutions
Our virtual contact center services help our clients to run their customer support processes (phone, chat, and email) remotely. Our well trained remote agents can help them deliver the best experience for their customers irrespective of the channels. With our data security measures, engaged workforce, and the right reporting tools, our clients are guaranteed with a satisfied customer base.

10.) 
MFE International

Oracle LIVE Experience
Live Experience offers HD voice, video, Screen sharing and annotations for customer mobile users. Agents interacted with users using desktops or mobile. Applications are for Financial Services, Retail, Travel and Hospitality, Digital Services, Utilities, Coporate IT where remote HD video, screen share or annotation is needed for a great customer experience.

11.) 
Nuxiba Technologies

CenterWare
Maintain your business operation from anywhere, even if your agents are at different locations!
Don't let COVID-19 stop you. Use our cloud contact center hosted software and continue your operation.
Monitor active campaigns in our administration module, have your agents receive and dial calls, access reports, have multi-channel interactions, and obtain 24/7 support.

Easy setup and usage, request a quote or schedule a live demo today!


12.) 
Orion Learning Services Inc.

Learning & Development
Learning & Development - For Remote Workers
Learning & Development for Remote Agents, Supervisors, Managers and Administration/Support Staff

Orion Learning is a global leader in providing accredited learning and development solutions for organizations globally. We offer call/contact center certification programs for Agents, Supervisors and Managers, business certifications and examinations for wide range of topics including project management, change management and service management, leadership soft skills and a full suite of assessment tools which can be used for recruitment, talent management, succession planning and coaching/mentoring. We deliver our solutions to global community and all of our solutions are delivered digitally.

13.) 
Vads

VADS Indonesia Remote Agent Solutions helps your company with various features that can make it easier for you and your company to stay productive, can be accessed anywhere because it uses cloud-based licenses so that it can help you and your business activities run smoothly.The features that keep your company activities running and productive.

14.) 
Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS with its work from home agent ready call center software helps you to have complete control over your contact center operations. Agents can log in from any where , home, office or any other place where they are through their mobile phone or desktop , or even through our ID mobile app . With centralized recording & reporting , you gain visibility of all contact center metrics , and you can manage your center the same way as you were doing when working from office.
 



View more from Calabrio

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