pretty sure I’m not going to surprise anyone if I tell you that many
contact centers are struggling to fill agent positions today. Given the
incentives provided by the government in the form of unemployment
benefits, supplemented by additional COVID-related unemployment
payments, there are more than a few furloughed workers who are finding
it more financially feasible to remain on unemployment benefits than to
go back to work.
During a recent conversation with a NACC member
regarding this particular problem, I was told by this member that her
employer had to furlough 70 contact center workers at the beginning of
the pandemic. When circumstances allowed this contact center to recall
their 70 workers only six returned to work. This left 64 empty remote
or in-house agent seats.
This is a story that is being
replicated throughout the industry as contact centers scramble to fill
seats left vacant by the pandemic and now need to get back to business
as usual. It is a circumstance that is forcing the industry to think
outside of the box when it comes to hiring or finding qualified workers
to fill those vacant seats.
In our recently completed annual
survey of contact center professionals, we asked respondents to rate
each of the four generations still active in the workforce how suitable
each generation was with remote work. Their responses are illustrated
in the table below.
Generation Z and Millennials led the pack with their compatibility with
remote work in the “Very Well” category, Boomers shined when it came to
being “Fairly Well” compatible with remote work.
realities of today’s recruitment and hiring challenges, I submit that
“Fairly Well” compatibility with remote work isn’t that bad and can
likely be improved with training, coaching, and selective hiring
practices. In other words, don’t overlook the potential of a part-time
workforce of retirees looking to supplement their retirement incomes
with a WFH employment arrangement as a means to overcome worker
shortages on both a short-term and long-term basis.
raised to have a strong work ethic and aren’t afraid to put in a hard
day’s work. This is a generation that isn’t afraid of responsibility
and is goal-centric. They like competition and are motivated to be top
performers. Generally speaking, Boomers don’t mind being given specific
goals to reach and will even create goals for themselves to reach. All
this adds up to being ideal employees in tough times such as these.
this is simply food for thought for contact centers that are struggling
to find motivated, loyal and experienced employees to fill those empty
seats. Don’t overlook part-time retirees as a possible solution to
today’s hiring challenges.
Picture Of The Month
apologies to those of you who are a little hinky when it comes to
snakes, living here in the high Sonoran Desert we often get summertime
visitors that cause us to take a step or two back when we walk out the
door. That was the case with this particular visitor, who arrived
unannounced at my front door. Fortunately, this was a gopher snake,
dangerous only to the rodents upon which this breed of snake feeds.
They are always welcome here during the summer during which they reduce
the rodent population and, being territorial, these constrictors will
also take on any rattlesnakes that decide to invade their hunting
Album Of The Month
long as we’re talking about Boomers in this issue of In Queue, I
thought it was appropriate to highlight this 1973 album of bluegrass
music recorded live at The Boarding House in San Francisco. The album
features Jerry Garcia on banjo. That’s right music aficionados –
Grateful Dead Jerry Garcia. His missing right middle finger never
stopped him on guitar, and it doesn’t stop him from leading the
good-time sound and the solid musicianship of this group of bluegrass
legends. Check it out.
Use This Call Center Requirements Checklist To Find the Love Of Your (Business) Life
much easier to find a partner to date when you know what you’re looking
for, and the same goes for when you’re trying to find a call center
partner. Don’t go into the relationship blindly, instead use this call
center requirements checklist I’ve created to help you navigate the
Before the call center requirements checklist, allow this quick deviation. It’s
been a very long time since I was on the dating scene, but here is my
list of ‘potential partner’ requirements that I used before meeting the
love of my life!
First impressions are lasting impressions. Did they make a good first
impression? It’s hard to overcome if someone isn’t professionally
groomed, has terrible manners, or is annoying. 2. Are they interested in who you are and what your goals are? Do they take time to get to know you and show interest in what makes you tick? 3.
Do you have shared core values? At our core, we all have beliefs that
we hold dear. Those beliefs are our values. You can’t compromise your
values in the long term and achieve true long-term satisfaction. 4. Is it easy or hard? If the relationship is challenging, then move on. 5.
Do you find yourself wanting to spend more time talking with them or
less? Do you have lots to talk about, or is it uncomfortable? If you
have meaningful conversations about a wide range of topics, the chances
are that you’re a good match. 6. Are you better because you’re in a relationship
with them? You know how some people help you maximize how much you
accomplish because they inspire you, cheer you on, or provide the
support you need at just the right time? 7. Are they there for you
when something terrible happens? Bad things happen. That’s life. Can
you count on them to help you through it? 8. Can you trust them? If you can’t, then move on. 9. Do you respect them? If you don’t, then move on. 10.
Do you want to spend the rest of your life with them? If no, then move
on. Life is short. Get out there and find your perfect match.
you wondering how the requirements for choosing the right personal mate
translate to choosing the right call center partner? In my experience,
there is a direct correlation, and it isn’t much of a stretch.
Relationships are relationships. People are people.
There are two parts to a call center requirements checklist.
1 is the service and solutions checklist. Part 2 is the relationship
checklist. I recommend spending just as much time evaluating how a
potential call center partner scores on the combination of parts 1 and
Megan Hottman provided some ideas for what to include for Part 1 in a previous blog post. And here are some additional ideas put together by A.J. Windle, our Director of Client Engagement.
I want to focus on Part 2, the relationship checklist.
For the following questions, answer “Yes,” “I think so,” or “No.”
1. Have my interactions with the company been positive and professional? 2. Have they asked what my goals in outsourcing to a call center partner are? 3. Have they told you what their company values are? 4. Are their company values aligned with your company’s values? 5. Has it been easy to get requested information promptly? 6.
Have you enjoyed the interactions you’ve had with the company? You’ll
be spending a fair number of working hours each week with your call
center leadership team. It is more fun (and typically more productive)
if you genuinely like them. 7. Does the company provide some value-adds that you won’t get elsewhere? 8.
Have they shared their problem resolution process with you? Problems
will occur, and it is good to know how they typically address issues. 9. Would you be comfortable signing a long-term contract with them? 10. Do they return your calls and emails timely? Are they available when you need them? 11. Do you trust them? 12. Do you respect them?
Tally up the scores.
Yes = 5 points
I think so = 3 points
No = 0 points
Here’s a guideline on how to interpret the total score:
60 Points: Go for it! You have the beginnings of a great call center partner relationship.
Not every relationship is perfect. However, if you had zero scores (a
no answer), carefully evaluate why you answered the question that way.
It could be a warning sign that this relationship isn’t right for you.
40-49 Points: Warning bells should be going off!
1-39 Points: Move on. Find a company that meets all of your requirements, including the relationship requirements.
Author: Angela Garfinkel is
the President and Founder of Quality Contact Solutions, a leading
outsourced telemarketing services organization. Angela has the pleasure
of leading a talented team that runs thousands of outbound
telemarketing program hours daily. Angela can be reached at email@example.com or 516.656.5118.
Creating A Positive Customer Experience
again, this month's Infographic was designed by NACC Advisory Board
member Mark Pereira and is another timely topic for customer service
professionals. Mark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ed.
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