Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent
by Susan Hash

Is your current recruiting and hiring strategy the same one that's been in place for the past five or 10 years? If so, you've just uncovered a key reason for high turnover in your contact center. Here are three tips that will help you compete for — and hold onto — highly skilled service staff.

Define Your Mission Statement

What type of employee do you need to carry out the organization's strategies and goals? Although many contact centers are still hiring based on phone skills, consider the additional competencies that your staff will need as your center moves into the Web 2.0 world, such as negotiation skills, the ability to communicate via email and text messages, and even social media savvy.

Screen Out Unsuitable Characteristics

Poor screening techniques contribute to high turnover. Most centers use a "screen-in" methodology in which job applicants are stack-ranked to match most of the characteristics of an ideal customer service rep (e.g., empathetic, friendly, organized, efficient, etc.). However, matching those characteristics doesn't account for how satisfied a person would be with a job in which they have to use all of those qualities at the same time. A more effective technique is to screen out the characteristics that would be a bad fit for the job.

Focus More Attention On New-hire Retention

Most centers measure agent attrition monthly or annually, yet a substantial amount of turnover takes place in the first 90 days on the job. Set 90- and 180-day retention goals for your supervisors and managers to drive accountability for new-hire retention.

Help Supervisors Build Quality Relationships with Their Reports

An employee's decision to stay or leave often comes down to their relationship with their direct supervisor. Take a hard look at your supervisor-to-agent ratio. Does it allow supervisors to connect personally with every individual on their team? A good ratio that allows supervisors to effectively engage their team is 10 to 12 agents per supervisor - higher ratios result in declining performance, lower customer satisfaction and agent turnover.

Inside View - VSP Vision Care
by Susan Hash

Developing an engaged workforce requires a committed leadership team that values and trusts their most valuable asset — their people. Agent empowerment plays a key role in VSP's culture. Contact center staff are provided with the training, support and decision-making authority to give customers what they need. In addition to a comprehensive call center training program, the center offers agents training on job effectiveness and career planning, as well as business-specific training that's pertinent to changes in the business environment and how it impacts their jobs. Employees are also kept informed about the company's strategic goals and how their job fits into it. "We want our employees to be able to absorb changes and deliver the information to their customers, but our CSRs really need to understand the 'why' behind what we're doing, whether we're changing a product, service or policy," says VSP's Vice President of Customer Care Laura Costa.
Read the full story here.

Warm regards,

Linda Harden
Publisher, Contact Center Pipeline


Contact Center Pipeline is focused on driving success through effective contact center management. Each issue features in-depth perspectives on the call center market, best practices and trends, technology and people issues that impact the customer experience. Draw upon CCP's incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career and your center. Visit us at

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