There are signs of economic recovery all over the United States. Cities and states are easing restrictions as more people get COVID vaccinations. Businesses are reopening. Retail sales are strong. Customers are spending.
Yet, there is a visible shortage of call center workers. A growing number of company leaders are reporting a significant need to fill vacancies with very few candidates.
Show rates for call center training classes often are extremely low. Many employees report that attendance and schedule adherence are off as well.
Most call centers cannot hire enough agents to meet the increasing customer demand. This results in longer hold times and service-related issues that can increase customer frustration.
Fortunately, the shortage of call center agents should start to become easier in the near future. There are steps that employers can take to increase their hiring and retention rates.
Discover some reasons why hiring qualified call center candidates continues to be a challenge and some steps you can take for increased success.
Remote Call Center Work Can Be Challenging
A significant number of agents have limited internet connections at home.
- Many of these agents share their networks with other household members.
- There may be technical issues with the call center software or equipment.
- Accessing the company systems can be difficult.
The majority of agents lack an extra room or space to convert into a home office.
- Most agents have to share a workspace with other household members.
- Many of these family members include children being schooled remotely.
- Working among family members can lead to increased noise levels and distractions.
- Focusing on customer issues can be difficult.
Remote Work Can Lead to Burnout
While many workers are looking for remote work opportunities, they aren’t right for everyone. Working and living in the same place is causing increased levels of fatigue.
- Many agents struggle with isolation from their coworkers and the work culture.
- The majority of supervisors and team leaders lack training in remote engagement, management, and collaboration techniques.
- Feelings of isolation can lead to increased stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- Most agents are becoming increasingly stressed dealing with frustrated customers.
- The majority of agents are under pressure to resolve more issues in less time.
- A significant number of remote agents are experiencing burnout.
Other Industries Are Becoming More Attractive
A significant number of call center agents are using their transferrable skills to find jobs in other fields.
- Many warehouse and shopper jobs offer high hourly starting rates, sign-on bonuses, and stipends for COVID vaccinations.
- Most call centers cannot match the increased income and benefits.
- Business processing outsourcing (BPO) companies would need to increase the hourly rate compensation models they bill to their clients.
- The BPOs would have to charge separately for supervisors, program managers, attrition training, cost-of-living adjustments, and additional line items.
- The majority of clients do not want to pay significantly higher expenses to run a call center.
Call Center Agents Want More Than Increased Income
The psychological impact of the coronavirus pandemic has many call center candidates rethinking how they want to earn a living.
- A significant number of agents are changing their field of work to pursue their passions.
- Many agents are participating in job retraining programs or educational opportunities to upskill.
- These agents want greater career prospects for the future.
Call Centers Should Emphasize Career Paths
Operators of call centers need to point out the career opportunities available to agents.
- Offer hybrid work to help with work-life balance.
- Showcase the benefits of the call center’s training and skill development.
- Talk about the valuable customer service, problem-solving, and decision-making skills that can be developed and transferred to most professions.
- Point out that many call center agents go on to become professionals in marketing, training, consulting, or IT.
- Providing agents what they want helps increase attraction and retention rates.
Ask for Employee Referrals
Encourage your agents to talk with members of their networks about applying for a job with your call center.
- Employee referrals are among the most successful candidates.
- Because the referrals tend to have characteristics similar to the employees, the referrals tend to blend with company culture.
- Employees typically discuss details about a job opening, company operations, and other relevant information when referring someone they know.
- The referrals often require less vetting because an employee introduced them to the hiring manager.
- Employee referrals tend to stay with a company long-term because they have a personal connection with a coworker.
Partner with a Staffing Agency
A recruiter from a staffing agency that specializes in call centers can increase the speed at which you hire.
- Recruiters have a vast network of active and passive candidates to fill vacancies.
- The recruiter can match you with candidates who have the skills, experience, and qualifications you seek.
- The recruiter sets up the interviews and negotiates any job offers on behalf of the candidates.
- Because the candidates are prescreened, they can begin onboarding, training, and producing in a short amount of time.
Work with Salem Solutions
Ready to find the right call center candidates? Salem Solutions offers a variety of options to fill your call center staffing needs. Contact us to get started today.