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A significant number of businesses are focusing on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplace. Government call centers are among these businesses.   Many members of the workforce continue to be marginalized because of race, gender, socioeconomic status, disabilities, or lifestyle. These concerns have become even more visible during the coronavirus pandemic.   Diversity,… Read More »

A significant number of businesses are focusing on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workplace. Government call centers are among these businesses.

 

Many members of the workforce continue to be marginalized because of race, gender, socioeconomic status, disabilities, or lifestyle. These concerns have become even more visible during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges in the workplace typically begin with a lack of diversity at the executive level. White male company leaders tend to underestimate the biases and obstacles to inclusion that diverse employees face on a daily basis. These obstacles include lack of opportunities for growth, development, and promotions.

 

The lack of diversity in leadership typically results in little emphasis on the implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. This often leads to a substantial gap in views between how well company leaders believe their diversity and inclusion efforts are going and what the employees believe.

 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion depend on more than just race. Age, culture, gender, religion, physical abilities, learning styles, personality blend, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and life experiences matter as well.

 

Fortunately, steps can be taken to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in your government call center. The following tips can help.

 

Follow these guidelines to begin working toward a diverse, equitable, and inclusive government call center.

 

Minimize Bias in Recruitment  

Find ways to reduce the unconscious bias present in your recruitment practices.

  • Source diverse candidates by connecting with cultural and ethnic groups, sexual orientation groups, and physical ability groups at local colleges.
  • Partner with professional multicultural groups to source diverse candidates.
  • Use inclusive language in job descriptions.
  • Focus on hiring candidates who are open to learning the skills needed to be successful in a role.
  • Look for candidate dedication and the desire for coaching to improve performance when making hiring decisions.
  • Have a diverse hiring team compare and evaluate candidates during the final stage of the process.

 

Train Managers on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Frontline managers set the tone for the work environment, including diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

  • Provide unconscious bias and diversity training to increase awareness of these issues in the workplace.
  • Help managers uncover their own unconscious biases and take action to work toward a more cohesive work environment.
  • Provide managers with personality assessments to identify the communication preferences of their employees.
  • Encourage managers to use their employees’ preferred communication methods to more effectively connect.

 

Create a Frontline Diversity and Inclusion Team

Involve employees in building diversity and inclusion awareness within the call center.

  • Feedback about diversity and inclusion challenges needs to come from employees who experience the challenges on a day-to-day basis.
  • Ask the frontline team to review the call center policies for biases.
  • Request that the frontline team regularly survey employees to identify gaps between the company mission and diversity and inclusion initiatives and the employees’ workplace experiences.
  • Request that the frontline team members reach out to employees who may be feeling excluded or experiencing bias in the workplace.
  • Partner the frontline team with HR and management to drive diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the call center.
  • Have the frontline team and executives participate in diversity and inclusion awareness and feedback sessions.
  • Continuously talk with the frontline team about areas of misalignment and how the gaps can be closed.

 

Acknowledge and Celebrate Differences

Plan educational celebrations for each employee’s heritage.

  • Organize Lunch and Learn events to build awareness of the holidays that matter most to your employees.
  • Include cultural awareness months such as Black History, Women’s History, Asian/Pacific American History, Jewish American History, Pride, Native American Heritage, National Hispanic Heritage, and National Disability Employment Awareness.

 

Treat Employees as Individuals

Get to know employees on a personal level.

  • Find out what employees’ career goals are.
  • Talk about employees’ unique perspectives and life experiences.
  • Learn what motivates each employee to perform their best.
  • Discover employee preferences for language, communications, coaching sessions, performance reviews, growth opportunities, and workplace activities.

 

Focus on Employees’ Strengths

Each employee has different talents that benefit the call center.

  • Almost all employees have creative thinking skills.
  • Creative thinking provides fresh approaches to problem-solving.

 

Continue with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts

Creation of a diverse, equitable, inclusive work environment is an ongoing process.

  • Employees need to feel safe, supported, and respected on a daily basis.
  • The process takes time, effort, and resources.
  • Regular training on diversity, equity, and inclusion and communication about current events for employees at all levels is required.

 

Want Help with Your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts?

Salem Solutions has the diverse call center candidates you need to continue your work toward equity and inclusion. Find out more today.

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Read about the pros and cons of remote call center jobs and decide if they're right for you. Learn more.

Working as a contact center agent offers more flexibility than many customer service jobs since you can do it remotely. After all, this role mainly utilizes your voice and a computer. While the ability to work from home provides some excellent advantages, it’s not all smooth sailing. There are also potential downsides to consider.

Understanding some of the main benefits and drawbacks of working from home can help you decide whether a remote job is right for you.

 

Advantages of Working a Remote Call Center Job

Almost everyone wants a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home.

 

1. Flexible Schedule

Studies reveal a strong preference for flexible work arrangements, with 40 percent of individuals indicating they wouldn’t consider a job lacking flexible hours. Moreover, 16 percent of employees are willing to accept a 20 percent pay cut for this flexibility, while 17 percent would do the same to work remotely.¹ These statistics underscore the widespread desire for flexibility in work schedules.

With a flexible schedule, you can address personal needs without relying on weekends or paid time off (PTO). Whether you’re a parent managing childcare, a caregiver assisting family members, or need to attend appointments and run errands, you can organize your day around these responsibilities.

For example, a working parent could start their shift early, take a mid-day break to spend time with their kids after school, and then log back on to wrap up their hours in the evening. The freedom to construct your schedule is a massive perk.

No more stressing about rushing across town for a doctor’s visit or rearranging your day for a repairman’s appointment window. This lifestyle benefit is a game-changer for anyone needing more control over their time.

 

2. Work-Life Balance

With no commute to contend with, you regain significant chunks of time in your day. Use those extra hours for whatever brings you more balance – prepare homemade meals instead of rushed takeout, get in a workout during a break, or dedicate time to hobbies and interests.

The lack of an on-site workplace removes many disruptions and workplace politics that can blur the boundaries between work and personal life. You gain more autonomy over structuring your day and allocating time for work and personal pursuits.

Read More: Remote and Focused – How to Stay Productive at Home

 

3. Increased Productivity

Studies say working from home helps some employees to be more productive. Here’s how working from home can help you be productive:

  • Reduced distractions: A dedicated workspace at home can reduce distractions compared to a busy office setup. This could lead to improved focus and a higher call volume.
  • Comfort and control: Working in a familiar and comfortable environment can enhance personal well-being and increase productivity.
  • Meeting performance goals: Increased productivity translates to more efficiently achieving key performance indicators (KPIs) and quotas. Ultimately, this can lead to recognition and career advancement.

 

Read More: Home for the Holidays – How to Stay Focused While Working Remote

 

4. Expanded Job Opportunities

Working remotely expands your career opportunities by removing geographic constraints. You can pursue roles with companies located anywhere without the need to relocate. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, your physical location becomes irrelevant.

This flexibility removes the hassles of commuting to a physical workplace. No more wasting time stuck in traffic or on public transit – you can sleep in later since travel time is no longer a concern. Plus, when you finish work for the day, you can transition immediately to personal time without the need for a commute.

A remote customer service representative job also means you gain access to vacant positions across state lines or even nationwide. This is particularly advantageous if local job options are limited.

 

5. Save on Costs

Working customer service jobs remotely translates to significant cost savings for customer service representatives. Financial security is a major motivator for many workers; remote jobs can help you achieve that goal. Here’s how:

  • Reduced commuting costs: Studies show many employees struggle with gas prices.² Not having to commute means you’ll save on fuel, car maintenance, and potentially public transportation costs.
  • Work-from-home expenses: While your workspace may require some initial setup costs, you’ll likely save on professional attire, lunch outings, and childcare expenses.

 

 

Disadvantages of Working a Remote Call Center Job

Some disadvantages of working remote call center jobs include:

 

1. Lack of Technical Setup and Training

Setting up and learning to use the hardware, software, and technology for your remote role can be difficult. You also don’t have the same level of tech support as you would in the office. Especially with the following:

 

  • Equipment: You may need to purchase the hardware before getting reimbursed.
  • Software: Installation of the call center software can be complicated, especially without on-site IT support.
  • Training: Typically conducted through live or prerecorded video and text, which can limit interaction with center specialists and other customer service agents.
  • Limited Technical Support: Getting immediate assistance with technical issues can take time when working remotely.

 

Additionally, IT usually fixes these problems in on-premises settings when power outages or broken technology occur. Unless your employer provides support for these challenges, this can affect your productivity and the number of center sales.

 

2. Workplace Loneliness and Disconnect with Company Culture

Working from home means a lack of in-person interactions to immerse yourself in the company’s mission, vision, and values. Studies have found that 20 percent of remote workers say isolation is their biggest problem.³ Other top issues were communication and teamwork.

This confirms how working remotely can sometimes lead to loneliness and a disconnect between you and other center agents.

While video calls and virtual chats exist, they don’t fully replicate an in-person environment’s camaraderie and team spirit. Limited face-to-face interaction can affect team building, career growth opportunities, and networking with colleagues.

 

3. Lack of Support

In a fully remote customer support setting, center representatives often lack immediate access to supervisors for assistance. Imagine encountering a technical issue during a customer call – without a supervisor nearby, resolving the issue promptly becomes challenging.

This delay in receiving assistance can impact call resolution times and customer care experience, potentially adding stress to your day.

 

4. Poor Work-Life Balance

While working from home offers flexibility, it can often blur the lines between work and personal life. Here’s how it might affect you:

  • Easy Accessibility: Working from home removes the physical separation between work and personal life. This makes it easy to continue working beyond regular hours.
  • No Distinct Work Environment: The trouble with remote jobs is a lack of a separate workspace. This makes it harder to mentally switch off from work. People may find themselves constantly engaged in work-related tasks.
  • Increased Expectations: Remote work can sometimes create the perception that employees are always available. It can lead to heightened expectations for responsiveness and productivity. This pressure to be constantly accessible can compel individuals to work longer hours to meet these expectations, even during personal time.
  • Difficulty in Setting Boundaries: Without the natural cues of leaving the workplace, individuals may struggle to disengage from work-related tasks. This could result in prolonged working hours and decreased separation between professional and personal life.

 

Read More: Want a Remote Call Center Job? What Every Work-from-Home Call Center Office Needs

 

Remote or Not Remote: Which Should You Take As a Center Rep?

Call centers based remotely can offer flexibility, a good work-life balance, and the chance to be more productive. However, consider how comfortable you are with technology, potential isolation, and the need for immediate support. By weighing these factors, your work style and personal preferences will help you decide if a remote call center job is a good fit for you.

 

LOOKING FOR A REMOTE CALL CENTER JOB?

Working as a remote contact center representative has its positives and negatives. The right choice depends on your situation. Whether you prefer working remotely or the structure of working face-to-face, Salem Solutions can help you out.

We specialize in matching candidates with remote call center jobs that prioritize customer experience and align with their preferences and skills. Our extensive job board features many opportunities from reputable companies seeking professionals like you. Contact us today to take the next step in your career

 

References

  1. “Remote Work Statistics 2024: Crucial Factors and Trends.” PumbleHUB, 2024, pumble.com/learn/collaboration/remote-work-statistics/#:~:text=Over%2090%25%20of%20employees%20believe,connect%20with%20colleagues%20for%20work
  2. “The Costs and Benefits of Hybrid Workplace.” Global Workplace Analytics, 2023, globalworkplaceanalytics.com/resources/costs-benefits.
  3. “World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2022.” International Labour Organization, 17 Jan. 2022, www.ilo.org/global/research/global-reports/weso/trends2022/WCMS_834081/lang–en/index.htm.
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Customer data management streamlines how your call center’s information is gathered, stored, protected, and used. Effective management enhances customer satisfaction and complies with all laws and regulations regarding the collection, use, and storage of personal information. Your call center likely has many technology applications that leverage caller data. These data sources are used to drive… Read More »

Customer data management streamlines how your call center’s information is gathered, stored, protected, and used. Effective management enhances customer satisfaction and complies with all laws and regulations regarding the collection, use, and storage of personal information.

Your call center likely has many technology applications that leverage caller data. These data sources are used to drive user insights and engagements.

Integrating, managing, analyzing, leveraging, and protecting data is required to gain insights and deliver personalized customer experiences. These processes help your company maintain its competitive edge.

Follow these three tips to elevate your customer data management.

 1.    Create Unique Identifiers

Assign a customer ID or other unique identifier to use with all of your systems.

  • An identifier lets you provide customers the omnichannel experiences they expect.
  • Tracking will be available for each customer.
  • Analysts can associate each customer data point in any system.
  • This process leads to more accurate analysis and a more complete understanding of user behavior.
  • Customers can move among the channels and still receive personalized offers and experiences.

2.    Use Technical Tools

A unified call center platform with analytics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can deliver personalized omnichannel experiences.

  • Proper integration of applications from different providers is required to properly manage customer data.
  • These applications may include automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), workforce management (WFM), and digital and voice channels.
  • The cross-channel interaction provides agents with relevant context and history to create seamless omnichannel experiences.
  • The integration should prevent customers from having to repeat information to get the help they need.

AI creates the ability to analyze customer service interactions and provide meaningful information for the entire call center.

  • Engagement analytics tools can analyze these interactions from voice and digital channels.
  • The analytics provide insights into customer sentiment, contact drivers, and trending topics.
  • Agents can use the information to help customers.
  • Other departments can use the information to improve product features, marketing campaigns, and other areas that impact the customer experience.

3.    Implement a Customer Success Program

A customer success program predicts and proactively addresses customer needs and questions.

  • This program helps customers get the most from your company’s products or services.
  • The ability to predict user needs is based on data and requires AI analysis tools.
  • The tools provide an integrated view of operations and customers.
  • This picture allows for fast adaptation to changing customer preferences and expectations to optimize the customer experience.
  • A data-driven customer success program lets your company tailor the customer journey.

 

Implementation of a customer success program provides the following benefits:

  • Standardized customer data across your company.
  • Establishment of a single view of customer data from all business systems.
  • Leveraging data to measure customer experiences at all stages of the customer journey.
  • The potential for increased earnings, higher lifetime customer value, net promoter score (NPS), and employee commitment.
  • Potentially lower service costs.

The Best Way To Better Manage Customer Data? Build The Right Team!

Having the right people on your team that can help you better manage customer data. Need help finding the right people for your team? Trust Salem Solutions to connect you to talented professionals.

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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… Read More »

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.

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Beginning a job search can be frustrating. There are many approaches you can take that lead to variable results. Having a plan of action can increase your odds of success. The less time you spend finding a new job, the more time you have to enjoy your new opportunity. Use these four tips to begin… Read More »

Beginning a job search can be frustrating. There are many approaches you can take that lead to variable results.

Having a plan of action can increase your odds of success. The less time you spend finding a new job, the more time you have to enjoy your new opportunity.

Use these four tips to begin your call center job search today.

1.    Update Your Resume

Make sure all of the information on your resume is current. This makes it easier to customize for each job application.

  • Add your current employment dates and positions held.
  • Include your accomplishments and skills gained at your current job.

2.    Clean Up Your Online Profiles

Ensure your social media profiles present an image that you want employers to see. Most hiring managers look at online profiles to gain insight into candidates before deciding whether to contact them for interviews.

  • Take down any inappropriate photos, videos, comments, or other posts.
  • Maintain a clean image that shows your personal interests.
  • Add your skills, projects, and related information to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Ask your previous colleagues and managers to post recommendations for you.

3.    Reach Out to Your Network

Contact the members of your network who work in your industry. Let them know exactly what you are looking for in your new job.

  • Employee referrals are the best way to land jobs.
  • Your connections may know of job openings their companies are not publicly sharing.
  • A member of your network may introduce you to a hiring manager.
  • You may be able to set up informational interviews to learn more about a job and/or company.

4.    Partner with a Staffing Agency

Work with a recruiter from a staffing agency that specializes in your industry. The recruiter can help you find a job in less time than searching on your own.

  • The recruiter has a vast network of hiring managers with job openings that likely fit your qualifications and interests.
  • The recruiter’s insight into the job market provides clear guidance that can shorten your search.
  • You gain coaching to improve your resume and interview skills.
  • You can learn more about an employer, their hiring process, and the job than on your own.
  • The recruiter can match you with an employer and talk you up to improve the odds of being offered a job.
  • You should be able to finish the interview process in less time than if you applied on your own.
  • If you receive a job offer, the recruiter negotiates the best deal on your behalf.

 

Find Your Next Call Center Job

Salem Solutions is ready to help with your call center job search. Visit our job board today.

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When the coronavirus pandemic began, government call centers were overwhelmed by high demand.  This left customers and employees feeling frustrated. Hold times were extensive. Many customers’ questions went unanswered when the customers no longer could wait to speak to an agent. Many agents were upset because they continued to deal with frustrated callers. Thanks to… Read More »

When the coronavirus pandemic began, government call centers were overwhelmed by high demand.  This left customers and employees feeling frustrated. Hold times were extensive. Many customers’ questions went unanswered when the customers no longer could wait to speak to an agent. Many agents were upset because they continued to deal with frustrated callers. Thanks to advances in technology and human-centered design, government call centers are becoming modernized. Due to the shifts already occurring, dramatic improvement is possible for your government call center.

 

The following information can help you update your government call center for increased effectiveness.

 

Components of a Reimagined Government Call Center

Running an effective government call center requires a deep understanding of user needs and the appropriate use of technology. The process should include the following three components:

  • A customer experience hub that provides quality service through multiple channels. Options have to include omnichannel touchpoints and automated no-touch processes.
  • A technology-powered agent cockpit where integrated workflows gather information from all touchpoints. The smart routing options help agents better process the calls.
  • A secure technology foundation that supports emerging tools. This operates from a cloud-based platform.

 

Shifts in Government Call Center Design

There are seven significant shifts impacting the future of government call centers:

  • Changing from a cost center to an experience hub. Rather than getting the callers off the phone as quickly as possible, the agents aim to solve problems and make the customers happy. This increases satisfaction and decreases costs.
  • Moving from a call center to a contact center. The center provides two-way communication through phone, text, email, website, and mobile services.
  • Evolving to automated and automatic self-service. Seamless no-touch and low-touch technology solutions can deliver quality service at low cost.
  • Shifting to technology-supported human interactions. When customers need to interact with a human, the agent has the information and tools they need to deliver a solution.
  • Changing to integrated information and workflow. Customer information is stored in one location for agents to easily access on demand.
  • Providing a better employee experience. Additional training, greater flexibility, and a more satisfying work environment enhance the employee experience.
  • Moving to empathetic technology. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and design combine the efficiency of technology with the warmth of human understanding.

 

Next Steps in Government Call Center Updates

The public leaders responsible for government call centers often have the following four concerns about moving forward with the updates:

  • How can we afford this? Federal COVID-19 funding and surplus state revenues may help with the upgrades.
  • Do we have the skills to make this happen? Understanding the contact center experience from a front-end customer perspective and a back-end agent perspective is helpful.
  • Which underlying technology infrastructure do I need? The cloud is a strong, secure platform that can adapt to agents’ needs. The cloud’s resilience, rapid scaling, and ability to deliver a seamless experience lets agents work remotely. Standardized security certifications help protect private information.
  • How can we pull together the technologies? Use one vendor to help design and manage your call center upgrades.

Having the Right People Is Your Largest Competitive Advantage

The best way to level up your government call center is by being able to find talented candidates when you need them. Trust Salem Solutions to find experienced, qualified and professional candidates to meet your call centers needs. Get in touch today!

 

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