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Article : Changing the Talent Game for Call Centers by Eliminating the Interview Process

#contactcenterworld

Author: Chandal Nolasco Da Silva-Boies, VP Demand Generation, HiringBranch

Interviews are often viewed as the golden gate bridge between an application and an offer, and yet if you ask anyone - candidate, call center, or employer - not a single person will tell you they like doing interviews. The main issue for call centers and employers is that interviews are a manual process that inevitably take time and are increasingly difficult to scale for higher-volume hiring needs. Interviews also leave room for bias from the interviewer, and this bias can become more pronounced if there are different people involved in the assessment process.

Between efficiency, biases, and just plain discomfort, interviews are inherently problematic in the hiring process and yet are deemed absolutely necessary. The question is: can an agent be hired for a call center role without an interview, and still provide great service for that role? Spoiler alert, yes they can! In fact, one global call center study revealed that agents hired without an interview were selling 10% more! Read on to find out how.

Call Center Hiring Today

Call centers were deemed an essential service by the Department of Homeland Security during the pandemic because they play the "best-supporting role" for industries like healthcare, energy, and more. All of these critical business support centers are constantly hiring agents to propel call and email resolutions across the planet. Each one of these agents has to go through a multi-step hiring process that can be long, and onerous for candidates. There could be as many as 9 steps, including:

  1. The online application and resume upload
  2. A computer exam or many (a basic English test, a Business English test, a basic math test, a basic computer knowledge test, and a typing test.)
  3. Initial interview
  4. A group or panel interview
  5. Assessment or examination (multiple choice, fill in the blank, etc.)
  6. Call simulation
  7. Final interview
  8. Job offer
  9. Basic training

This is a long hiring process, which can cause call centers to lose good candidates. One study found that the average Time-to-Hire for a customer service representative was thirty days for a part-time representative and thirty-eight days for full-time. This is way too long given that:

"Candidates who are an Above Average fit for a CSR position are on the job market for an average of just five business days – and during that time they will have applied to an average of three different Call Centers – and they will have received two job offers."

Call centers will lose nearly a quarter of the above-average candidates for taking too long, which means they’ll be stuck with the below-average ones to fill their customer service roles.

Shrinking Time-to-Hire

If call centers want more high-quality candidates in the hiring process, they need to reduce their Time-to-Hire. Manual processes, like interviews, are what slow hiring teams down and many use technology to increase their hiring speed.

Different types of pre-hire technology exist to help call centers work through their high-volume hiring needs, but most systems don’t correlate hiring performance, and so confidence in these systems can waiver. Assessments are one form of technology that can help hiring teams fill customer service positions more effectively.

This Fortune 50 has 2 million associates internally and more than 6 million through third-party sellers. They collectively operate in a dozen languages by phone and email from 20 different global sites. By implementing a soft skill assessment they are now getting a 99% accuracy rate on good hires. That also translates to "8,000 USD per poor hire not hired, cutting 50% of hiring time." They’re not alone. In fact, 51% of call centers think that soft skill assessments will help them improve CSAT scores among other key metrics.

If gaining time can help call centers capture better talent, and soft skill assessments can help them do just that, what else could they do?

Replacing Interviews with Assessments

What if a soft skill assessment was so effective at selecting high performers that call centers didn’t even have to interview? Imagine how much time that would save! Meet Sarah Wise. She’s the Operations Director at Fundraising Direct, a company that helps charitable organizations with their fundraising initiatives around the world. With an ongoing mandate to hire customer-facing or otherwise known as frontline workers, Fundraising Direct is always hiring.

Candidates used to be invited onsite to a group interview, they’d then be put through to an individual interview and eventually to training if they made it. With the Pandemic, hiring took a hit, and interviewing became even more difficult. According to Sarah, they were using Skype, group interviews weren’t possible, and "it was incredibly time-consuming," she says. They weren’t able to effectively assess a candidate's linguistic skills and to get fifteen candidates was hours of work, Sarah explained. They adopted an assessment technology that allowed them to save time, but it was so effective they stopped interviewing altogether.

By creating an automated speaking test that scored candidates on conversational fluency, ability to follow directions, and more, Fundraising Direct reduced its hiring process to just three simple steps. "As I’m saying the words now, journeying back to 2018 and pre-pandemic, I can’t believe there are literally three steps to our recruitment," Wise said to Fortune Magazine recently.

Effectively, they have:

  • Reduced Time-to-Hire by 79%, from two weeks to just two to three business days
  • Eliminated 90% of their interviews
  • Reduced hiring costs by 1.5 full-time employees’ salary
  • Been able to reinvest in employee coaching for better performance
  • 72% of hiring campaigns surpass targets and pledges have increased overall by 10%

The Fundraising Direct team says after moving to an assessment technology it created a very intuitive experience, not just for their team but for the candidates interacting with it as well. The team doesn’t interview anymore, and rarely even has to provide instructions on how to engage with the assessment, says Wise. She says:

"Since we’ve gone interview-less we have seen an improvement in the quality of candidates coming through in the fundraiser position; as we like to promote internally in the Operations and Accounts team, this has seen many fundraisers promoted to managers and coordinators company-wide. This is beneficial as they have a ‘from the ground up’ knowledge of the company and what is required from both Accounts & Operations management to please the client and deliver successful campaigns."

Not only is Fundraising Direct saving hundreds of hours a month, but they are also blowing past their hiring quotas, and their new candidates are performing better than previous ones who were hired with an interview, generating more revenue for their clients.

Training Up Higher Quality Candidates

While call centers have a lot to gain from effective soft skill assessment technology, at the end of the day, some just won’t be able to attract enough high-performing candidates to fill all the roles they’re hiring for. There could be a few reasons for that including problems in the hiring process like we discussed above, or even poor employer branding. For some, it could be that they’re geographically limited or located in highly competitive areas. For these call centers, they could reduce their Time-to-Hire drastically and eliminate interviews altogether but still have difficulty getting enough high-performing candidates.

If a call center can attract enough medium to low-performing candidates, a soft skill assessment can help them to identify which skills these candidates lack exactly. Knowing this, agents can participate in personalized training designed to enhance whatever specific soft skills they lack for the position they’re applying for. Call centers can benefit from soft skills training via assessments and improve the outcomes of their performance through this route as well.

#contactcenterworld

 

 


About HiringBranch:
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Today's Tip of the Day - Speech Recognition

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, February 23, 2024

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2024 Buyers Guide Dialer Solutions

 
1.) 
Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


2.) 
Avyukta Intellicall Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

Dialer CRM VoIP CTI Cloud Solutions
We are a single roofed solution for Dialer / Hosted Dialer / VoIP / CRM and CTI Solutions . With 300+ call center clients in above 9 countries and recent features such as :

Dynamic custom agent crm popup

avatar module

10+ Custom Reports

Cloud Telephony with/out "Host your Trunks" option

and End to End CRM on the cards we are supposed to grow exponentially within the next 6 Months

3.) 
Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire
Companies of all sizes rely on the cloud-based call center platform Dialfire and its powerful predictive dialer. Dialfire is ready to use within minutes and easily personalizable. From small ad-hoc to large multi-step campaigns, Dialfire offers high scalability. Adapt customer masks and automate workflows per mouse click. Integrated scripting and APIs ensure a smooth connection with external systems.

4.) 
Noetica

SmartBound™
Advanced outbound solution including predictive dialing, featuring patented technologies such as Live Person Detection (LPD™) and SNoDrop™ using Artificial Intelligence to deliver compliant & effective predictive dialing with 0% abandoned call rates. The solution includes its own CRM system as well as visual campaign creation and management as well as automated data import and export capabilities. The package comes with highly visual and open call scripting technology and an SDK (Software Development Kit) is also available for embedding the dialer into your own user front end.

5.) 
PhoneBurner

PhoneBurner
Reach more contacts, in less time with PhoneBurner. Powering thousands of client and millions of calls, our cloud-based software eliminate repetitive tasks so agents have up to 4x more live conversations. Unlike other dialers, PhoneBurner delivers 100% delay-free connections with no awkward pause. Conversations start off with promise, not hangups.

- Call 60-80 contacts per hour, per agent
- Instantly leave voicemails
- Send 1-touch emails
- Automate workflows and call logging
- Record and transfer calls
- Access reporting and analytics
- Intelligently distribute leads
- Dial from local Caller IDs
- Get free white-glove onboarding

Scales to any size team with no contracts, no setup fees, and no per minute charges. Start a free trial without a credit card.

6.) 
PrimoDialler

Predictive Dialler
A predictive dialler is an outbound call system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers. Also known as Power or Auto dialers it will automatically help agents make more calls, generate higher rates of connections, increase conversions, manage voicemail, no-answers and disconnected numbers.

We’ve made it easy to get started, we offer packages to best suit your needs and don't tie you into long term contracts. Don't take our word for it take out a no-commitment free trial!

7.) 
Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
The InterDialog Dialer is an independent & intelligent auto dialer software that controls the outbound calls using various algorithms. This call center dialer works as Predictive Dialer Software, Progressive Dialer Software, Preview Dialer Software or Power Dialer Software based on the requirement of the process. It allows the system to create groups/caller lists and then dials out to multiple calling groups/lists at the same time, thus helping target a wider market segment in a shorter period of time.

The predictive dialer software and automatic dialer algorithms used by the InterDialog Dialer are designed to improve efficiency by lowering the wait time, the number of dropped calls and t...
(read more)
 

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