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Call Centers: Conflicting Priorities make Service Delivery a Balancing Act.

Even with the backlash against overseas outsourcing, the call center business in North America has continued to experience growth. Why are businesses of many types looking to call centers for their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) functions?

According to industry guru Nadji Teherani:

However, there are challenges. Frieda Barry, Executive Director of industry group CIAC (Call Center Industry Advisory Council), points out, “The absence of qualified individuals is hurting recruiting efforts and the ability of call centers to operate at an optimum level. The need to have individuals that are competent to hit the ground running is ever pressing. Until now, very little has been done to validate the call center profession or to promote working in call centers as a credible career choice. The industry... is also hindered by negative perception of call centers... as telemarketers.”

She adds, “Working in a call center is not viewed as a legitimate career. Most people end up working in a call center while waiting for a perceived better job to come along. Rarely when you ask a person what profession he/she will pursue do you get the response: I want to work in a call center."

No matter which industry insider you ask, the first challenge they name involves people:

HR professionals constantly seek the most efficient ways of deploying their call center capabilities. These efficiencies include flexible workforce solutions that focus on staffing, training and retaining quality call center personnel.

And, that last item includes the next big challenge: You’ve hired them, can you keep them? As call centers have looked to rural labour markets for their locations, the inelasticity of those markets has come back to haunt them. In Montreal, when you fire someone or they quit, your universe of potential applicants shrinks by a millionth. The same action in Middleton, Nova Scotia might reduce it by a few hundredths. Do this a thousand times a year, and Middleton is out of applicants!

These are typical call center turnover stats:

Finally, what if they don’t quit – but don’t show up for work either? Absenteeism for many call centers is at the 30-40 percent daily level!

How can HiringSmart help? By giving you the tools to help you gather the information that matters in the recruiting process then using this information through the life of the employee to engage and motivate increasing your call center productivity and key performance measurements. Ask us about our Sales Assessment tools for outbound calling and our Customer Service Profile for inbound calling.


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