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Performance Management

Best Practices on using contact center metrics, reports, dashboard and key performance metrics (KPI) to optimize customer service

7 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Call Center Agent

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Call centers have a high rate of agent turnover, so there is a frequent need to hire new agents. By screening candidates carefully, manager stand a better chance of finding suitable new employees that will stay in their positions longer, thus reducing the turnover rate.

The job interview is the best means to assess the candidate’s skills, experience and personality. Besides the obvious questions meant to gauge these qualities in an applicant, here are seven additional questions that should be part of the interview process.  

1.  What software applications are you familiar with?


Different contact centers use different systems for customer relationship management (CRM), quality assurance, call recording and workforce management. If the applicant is already familiar with the systems in place at your call center, that should expedite their acclimation into their new position.

2. Would you characterize yourself as a team player? If so, how?


Call centers work better with teams of agents that get along, and work together when issues pop up regarding scheduling, shift swapping and changes in procedures. Agents should be willing to help each other.

3. What was your most difficult customer encounter at your previous job?


This question assesses the applicant’s skill level, and the manner in which he or she was able to (hopefully) resolve a difficult customer’s issue.

4. Which areas of your job are you best at, and in which areas are you still striving to get better?


An applicant might be hesitant to respond to this, out of concern over acknowledging a limitation in certain specialties. But the ability to self-assess is important for a call center agent, as they will be called upon to review their calls through call recording software and identify the strengths and weaknesses of their performance. Someone who is already aware of these is ahead of the curve.

5. Describe a situation where you had to think quickly to solve a unique or unexpected customer issue.


While it’s important that agents “stick to the script” and follow company guidelines, there will be times when this is not enough. An agent should be able to think outside the box when necessary, and address a customer’s needs in a way that does not violate call center policy.

6. What do you enjoy about working in a call center?


If an agent cannot answer this question, he or she may not be the best hire. Employees who find personal fulfillment in their work always perform at a higher level.

7. Why did you leave your last position?


Sometimes agents are released through no fault of their own – perhaps the call center had to downsize, or moved to a new location. But if the agent was fired because of a personality conflict or job performance, this will require additional explanation to avoid a similar situation in the future.
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