Hiring, Training, and Retaining Remote Contact Center Agents

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By April Forer

In an employee market it is difficult to hire and retain loyal employees. When there are labor shortages, you must up your game as an employer. Hiring and training contact center agents remotely creates new challenges but having the right processes and technology in place makes all the difference in creating a smooth experience.

Consider the following steps when hiring and training remote contact center agents:

Attract Relevant Candidates

It’s frustrating to receive incomplete applications or applicants that don’t meet the job requirements. You can attract new candidates by determining where best to post your job openings, providing detailed job and company information, asking for employee reviews, and using online applications.

There are various platforms available to recruit new candidates, so how do you decide which to advertise your open positions?

Decide what traits your ideal employee should have to help choose which platform (such as LinkedIn, Monster, or Indeed) is best. You’ll have a better chance of reaching your ideal employee by advertising your job posting where they’re likely to see it.

When completing your company profile page, post photos and images to give candidates a good perspective on your company culture. Being transparent will help recruit better qualified candidates and save you time and money.

Give potential employees reasons on why they might want to work there. Explain or show what the work is like.

Ask your current remote contact center agents to leave employee reviews online. Employee reviews are a helpful way for candidates to verify that your company is legit.

They also provide applicants a first-hand review of the pros and cons of working there. You’ll want to be prepared for any negative feedback. Many of these platforms allow the employer a chance to respond so you can address and react to any feedback you may receive.

If you’re still using paper applications, it’s time to evolve your technology. You can streamline the recruiting and hiring process by using an online application. Having an online application makes it easier for candidates to apply and speeds up the review process.

Filter Applicants

Reviewing job applications can take lots of time, but if you don’t filter them first, you’ll spend even more time interviewing unqualified candidates.

Automation is key to help make this step more efficient. Use simple yes and no questions in your online job application to see if candidates meet your requirements.

For example, you could use a basic script application with simple yes/no responses. If the applicant answered “no” to being available to work weekends, then they would automatically receive a decline email and filtered out of your pool of qualified applicants.

Using a multi-step application process will help filter your candidates even more, so you can find who your best candidates are. Starting with a short initial application, then advancing to a longer follow-up application for those who qualify, followed by a skills test will save time and qualify better candidates.

Another tip for filtering your candidates is to decide on dealbreakers. What are the must-have requirements for this role (availability, typing speed, bilingual, internet speed)? Any applicant not meeting these requirements should immediately be removed from consideration.

Also, ask another associate to be involved in the process. It’s good to have a second set of eyes to review things that you may not have noticed or that could be red flags.

When it comes to interviewing, using a video platform, instead of the telephone, will give you a better perspective on the applicant. Require the applicant to have their web cam on so you can see how they present themselves, view their work environment, and build a rapport.

Watch out for any lag in their connection that could present a problem in the future or any technical issues that could indicate a concern in working remotely and independently.

When you’ve filtered your applicants down, make a list of your top candidates and backups. Once you make your offers, you can move on to any backup candidates if any of your top candidates decline the offer.

Onboard New Hires

Do you have a documented onboarding process for new employees? The onboarding process is crucial to ensuring a pleasant new hire experience. Use paperless forms to speed up the process and avoid lost paperwork.

An employee handbook and policies help set employee expectations from the start.

Welcome your new hires and introduce them to the team to make them feel welcome and connected. Assigning a mentor is a smart way for new hires to build a rapport with a more senior employee and someone they may feel more comfortable directing questions to.

Schedule an orientation process to discuss day-to-day activities, communication tools, and other items. Make sure technology is properly setup and functional.

Train Staff

Simplify remote training with the right technology. Contact center software that is accessible through a web-browser makes working remotely easy, such as the Web Agent application which allows your contact center agents to work anywhere with an internet connection.

Record training videos for independent viewing. Use quizzes and exams to test the knowledge and effort of your new remote contact center agents.

Technology features like audit, barge, and coach are helpful during training. Supervisors or managers can listen to live calls and join the conversation when assistance is needed.

They can also speak to the agent to provide instructions or advice without the caller hearing them. Using a survey and scoring tool can help improve agent performance.

Engage and Retain Employees

Make your team a priority by scheduling regular meetings and follow-ups. Use this time to receive feedback on what is and isn’t working, re-train, and teach new skills to employees.

Offer incentives and awards to challenge and engage employees. Helping your employees grow and learn new skills also helps retain them.

A Better Experience

Hiring, training, and retaining new employees is a time-consuming process. Having procedures in place with technology to streamline the process creates a better experience for both the employer and employee.

You’ll not only save time and money, but you’ll have more success in finding employees that meet and exceed your requirements.

April Forer is the marketing specialist for Amtelco. Amtelco is a leading provider of innovative software solutions designed for call centers, contact centers, and enterprise businesses of all sizes. 

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