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Discover how aligning values drives team success. Explore research insights and practical strategies for fostering a positive workplace culture. 
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Transform your workplace culture to prioritize mental health and well-being. Discover strategies to create a supportive environment where everyone can thrive.

Have you ever felt so exhausted and mentally drained from work that it started impacting your well-being? If you’ve been there, it’s a sign your company culture may need adjusting to support employee mental health better. The work environment and culture you cultivate directly influence your team’s mental wellness.  

When company values and norms prioritize well-being, employees thrive. But a negative, toxic culture breeds burnout, anxiety, and disengagement. Your mental health struggles are likely being felt by your employees, too. As a leader, you can transform your workplace into one that destigmatizes mental health issues and proactively nurtures the whole person.  

Let’s work together to reshape your company culture and prioritize your team’s mental health. 

 

How Company Culture Affects Employee Mental Health 

The connection between employee mental health and company culture is undeniable. A supportive workplace culture isn’t just nice to have—it’s essential to keeping your team psychologically strong and successful. But here’s the catch: Changing company culture isn’t as easy as building gym memberships or offering stress apps. 

The workplace environment has changed dramatically, especially due to the pandemic and social justice movements.1 Employees place a high priority on the workplace. They really want a culture that supports their mental health and overall well-being. 

Getting caught up in your deliverables is easy, especially in the contact service industry. This might perpetuate a hustle culture. However, when unchecked, negative company culture can significantly affect employee health. This could lead to serious physical health issues such as:2 

  • Increased stress 
  • Fatigue 
  • Depression  
  • Obesity 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Let’s not forget about productivity and retention 

Remember, a negative workplace culture harms employees’ health and hurts your bottom line, leading to decreased productivity and higher turnover rates.  

In the call center industry, where pressure can be high, fostering a positive company culture is more important than ever. It’s about an environment where employees feel supported, valued, and empowered by putting their mental health first. This, in turn, creates happier, healthier, and more productive teams. 

Related Article: The Importance of Wellbeing and Health in the Workplace 

 

5 Strategies to Transform Workplace Culture 

Now that you know how the workplace can affect mental health, it’s time to make adjustments to your culture and routines. Here are five strategies you can apply to better everyone’s experiences at work. 

Related Article: 4 Ways to Create a Culture That Supports Call Center Agents’ Mental Health 

 

1. Foster a Culture of Openness and Empathy

Here’s how to cultivate an environment of openness and empathy: 

  • Lead by Example: Encourage leaders to share their mental health experiences openly. This sets a positive tone and reduces stigma, making it easier for employees to discuss their own challenges. 
  • Comprehensive Training: Provide thorough mental health training for all staff, including managers. Equip them with the skills to communicate effectively and support colleagues in need. 
  • Designated Private Areas: Create private spaces within the call center for confidential conversations about mental health concerns. This allows employees to seek support without fear of judgment or intrusion. 
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Implement robust EAPs and ensure easy access to mental health resources. These programs offer counseling and referral services, demonstrating your commitment to employee well-being. 

By implementing these strategies, call centers can create a supportive culture where mental health is prioritized and employees feel valued and supported. 

 

2. Prioritize Work-Life Balance and Stress Management

Maintaining work-life balance is essential for employee well-being. Here’s how: 

  • Flexible Scheduling: Allow your employees to work from home or adjust their hours to accommodate personal commitments. 
  • Generous Paid Time Off: Provide generous paid time off and encourage employees to use it for rest and recharge. This helps prevent burnout and allows employees to take breaks when needed. 
  • Forced Breaks: Encourage employees to step away from their desks and take short breaks to relax and recharge. 
  • Stress Relief Activities: Host stress relief activities like yoga, meditation, or team bonding events. These activities provide opportunities for relaxation and promote camaraderie among team members. 

 

3. Promote Positive Workplace Relationships

Building strong workplace relationships promotes an inclusive, supportive environment. Encourage kindness through peer recognition and regular appreciation of contributions. Facilitate team-building activities to strengthen bonds and collaboration.  

Managers should provide frequent positive feedback to boost morale. Swiftly address any toxic behaviors like harassment to maintain a respectful culture. Small acts of kindness make a big impact on well-being.  

Promote recognizing each other’s efforts, exchanging friendly notes, grabbing meals together, and making introductions to grow networks.  

Offer to assist colleagues on tasks, collaborate on projects, express gratitude often, give compliments, and celebrate team successes. These simple gestures cultivate connection. 

Prioritizing positive relationships grounded in kindness creates an uplifting environment for call center employees. The little things reinforce you’re all working together as one team. A culture of appreciation and support allows people to thrive. 

 

4. Invest in Holistic Well-Being Initiatives

This shows you care about your team’s health. Offer perks like gym memberships, healthy food options, and wellness apps to encourage physical activity and nutrition. Consider adding mental health benefits like counseling or meditation apps to support employees’ mental well-being. 

Make mental health a priority by providing easy access to resources like on-site consultations or nearby clinics. Research shows employees with mental health benefits feel more supported and are less likely to leave. 

Recognize and reward acts of kindness. If you see someone helping a colleague, thank them and maybe offer a break. Understanding their motivations helps you support positive behaviors and encourages more compassion. 

Supporting holistic well-being fosters a happier, healthier workplace. Investing in physical, mental, and emotional support resources and showing gratitude demonstrates a genuine commitment to your team’s overall quality of life. 

 

5. Gather Continuous Employee Feedback

Keep the conversation going! Regular pulse surveys should be conducted to check in on company culture and mental health support. Additionally, create channels for employees to share their concerns openly, whether it’s through suggestion boxes or virtual town halls. 

Encourage managers to schedule regular 1-on-1 check-ins with their teams. These informal chats provide opportunities for employees to voice their thoughts and for managers to offer support. Transparency is key. Let employees know how their feedback is being used to drive change. Building trust through open communication strengthens your workplace culture. 

And don’t stop there. After implementing changes, keep the dialogue alive. Regularly check in with your team to gather feedback on what’s working and what could be improved. Embrace the possibility of failure—it’s all part of the learning process. 

Related Article: How to Provide Mental Health Support to Your Employees 

 

Improve Culture to Improve Mental Well-Being 

Enhancing your work culture with the participation of your employees may benefit everyone in your organization. Remember to communicate and receive feedback to know what is working. 

Involve everyone in the conversation about mental health to know how everyone’s doing. Remember to educate each of your members, including your leaders as they will be the ones to lead people to better well-being. 

 

DISCOVER HOW SALEM SOLUTIONS CAN ADD THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO YOUR CULTURE 

Unlock the power of a positive company culture to boost employee mental health and well-being. Salem Solutions specializes in finding the perfect match for your culture, ensuring a supportive environment where your team can thrive Contact us today to discover how we can help you build a healthier, happier workplace. 

 

References 

1 Monteiro, E., & Joseph, J. (2023). A Review on the Impact of Workplace Culture on Employee Mental Health and Well-Being. International Journal of Case Studies in Business, IT, and Education (IJCSBE), 7(2), 291-317. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7999328 

2 Sun, Jianmin, et al. “How Does Organizational Culture Affect Employees’ Mental Health During COVID-19? The Mediating Role of Transparent Communication.” Work (Reading, Mass.), vol. 68, no. 4, 2021, pp. 1105-1117. PubMed, doi:10.3233/WOR-220365. 

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Chatbots offer fast responses & 24/7 support but lack the human touch. Explore why customers still prefer humans in customer service.

In the artificial intelligence (AI) era, businesses are rapidly embracing AI-powered tools, notably chatbots, to streamline customer service. However, not every customer is sold on the idea. So, despite their efficiency, why do humans still hold the edge in customer service? One notable pain point? Chatbots, for all their efficiency, often end up sounding robotic. 

Let’s dive into the world of chatbots, explore their potential and pitfalls, and discover why, in the end, the human touch still reigns supreme. 

 

The Rise of Chatbots 

Chatbots have been around for quite some time, with the term “chatbot” coined by Michael Mauldin in 1994. One of the earliest examples, ELIZA, was created by Joseph Weizenbaum in the 1960s to explore how humans interact with machines.  

Over the years, chatbots have come a long way, thanks to technological advancements like artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning. These innovations enabled modern chatbots to understand better and respond to user inputs, making interactions more seamless.  

Recently, chatbots have gained widespread attention, especially with the rise of advanced models like OpenAI’s GPT series. According to Statista, the worldwide chatbot market size is expected to increase to 1.25 billion US dollars in 2025.1 This is a significant increase from 2016’s 190.8 million US dollars.  

This surge underscores the increasing significance of chatbots in shaping customer interactions and the broader landscape of AI-driven technologies. 

Additionally, AI chatbots offer numerous advantages. 

  • Fast Response Time: AI Chatbots respond quickly to user inquiries, ensuring prompt assistance and improving customer satisfaction. They evaluate user communications using automation and pre-programmed algorithms, providing relevant information or solutions without delay. 
  • 24/7 Availability: In today’s global economy, having round-the-clock customer service is crucial. Chatbots excel in this regard, providing support regardless of time zone or distance. Customers can rely on chatbots to handle their inquiries promptly, contributing to brand dependability and customer satisfaction. 
  • Consistent Responses: Chatbots deliver consistent responses by following pre-written scripts and algorithms. This consistency fosters trust and professionalism in customer interactions, enhancing the overall perception of the business. 
  • Engagement: Effective customer service involves engagement, and chatbots are vital in keeping customers actively involved. Chatbots capture and maintain users’ attention through interactive interfaces and personalized recommendations, increasing conversion rates and fostering brand loyalty. 

 

Room for Improvement: How AI Chatbots Fall Short in Customer Service 

However, despite their advantages, contact centers shouldn’t be so quick to replace their human agents, as according to Gartner, only 8 percent of customers use an AI chatbot.2 Here are some of the reasons why. 

 

They could provide incorrect answers and lead to misunderstanding.

Chatbots’ tendency to give inaccurate responses or misinterpret user requests is one of the main issues with them. Even with recent improvements in natural language processing (NLP) algorithms, chatbots may still have trouble correctly answering complicated or situation-specific questions.  

Customers looking for exact information or answers to their problems may become frustrated by this constraint. Furthermore, because chatbots rely on prewritten scripts, they might not cover every scenario or problem that a consumer could encounter. Consequently, there’s a chance that responses will be erroneous or partial, which could cause misunderstandings and user discontent. 

Related Article: Future Forward: The Top 7 AI Trends Reshaping Customer Service 

 

Might not understand natural language.

While chatbots have come a long way in understanding natural language, they could still have trouble understanding slang, colloquialisms, or unclear idioms. Because human language is contextually dependent and naturally complicated, chatbots find it difficult to understand the nuances of human communication fully. 

Because of this, consumers could become irritated with chatbots that misunderstand their requests or give them unsuitable answers. This constraint emphasizes how crucial it is to balance automated responses and human interaction, especially when empathy and subtle comprehension are critical. 

 

Cannot satisfy frustrated customers.

The inability of chatbots to handle agitated or very sensitive clients is another drawback. Chatbots are great at answering standard questions and providing programmed responses, but they could have trouble understanding consumers’ emotions or handling complicated problems that call for human assistance.  

Chatbots might even unintentionally increase tensions when clients express annoyance, displeasure, or anger by giving impersonal or insensitive answers. A lack of emotional intelligence can intensify disputes and harm the general customer experience. 

 

The Irreplaceable Human Touch in Customer Experience 

While chatbots excel at delivering quick responses and 24/7 availability, their limitations become apparent when dealing with the nuances of human interaction. This is where the irreplaceable human touch steps in, elevating customer service to a whole new level. 

 

Understands Context and Emotion

When it comes to interpreting nuances, context, and underlying reasons behind client requests, human agents are cognitively superior to automated systems that depend on established algorithms and decision trees.  

Human agents may better understand the underlying causes of problems, pinpoint underlying needs, and offer specialized solutions that address particular concerns by actively listening to and interacting with consumers. This detailed understanding enables companies to develop stronger bonds with their customers and build partnerships based on mutual respect and empathy. 

 

Has Empathy

Empathy forms the cornerstone of exceptional customer service. It’s the ability to truly connect with a customer’s feelings, validate their concerns, and offer genuine support. While chatbots can mimic empathy with pre-programmed responses, it often feels robotic and disingenuous.  

On the other hand, human agents can tap into their emotional intelligence to provide authentic empathy. They can acknowledge frustration, offer encouragement, and tailor their solutions to the customer’s feelings. This personal touch fosters a sense of community and emotional connection, leaving a lasting positive impression. 

For instance, a customer might casually mention a bad day during their inquiry. Unlike a chatbot, a human agent can respond with genuine concern, asking if they’d like to talk about it before addressing the initial issue. This simple act of human connection can significantly impact the customer’s experience. 

 

Tackle Complex Situations

Customer interactions are rarely straightforward. They often involve intricate situations and unexpected hurdles that throw chatbots off script. Human agents, however, shine in their adaptability and problem-solving skills.  

They can leverage their cognitive flexibility and experience to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions in real time. Whether it’s dealing with a technical glitch, navigating an unclear request, or consulting colleagues for expertise, human agents have the agility to overcome challenges and ensure a smooth experience. 

Imagine a customer with a unique product issue, something the agent hasn’t encountered before. Instead of getting stuck, the agent can proactively research, consult with colleagues, and even escalate the issue if needed. This resourcefulness demonstrates the company’s commitment to finding solutions, building trust and customer satisfaction. 

 

Can Offer Tailored Solutions

In today’s experience-driven world, customers expect personalized solutions catering to their needs and preferences 71 percent to be exact and 76 percent get upset when it doesn’t happen.3 Now, what does this mean? Unlike the standardized responses of chatbots, humans make customers feel valued and appreciated, which cultivates loyalty and advocacy for the brand. 

Human agents can leverage their subject-matter expertise, interpersonal skills, and situational awareness. They can engage in meaningful conversations, understand individual requirements, and co-create solutions that resonate with each customer. 

Think of a customer looking for a specific product feature. A human agent can go beyond suggesting generic options and delve deeper into the customer’s needs. They can recommend features based on the customer’s unique situation, fostering genuine care and attention. Technology is a powerful tool, but the human touch truly sets them apart. 

Related Article: Effective Call Center Improvement Strategies to Better Your Business 

 

ELEVATE HUMAN TOUCH BY HIRING CUSTOMER SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS THROUGH SALEM SOLUTIONS 

Make the customer service your organization provides unforgettable and meaningful by hiring the right customer support professionals. Salem Solutions can help you connect with talented, emotionally-intelligent individuals. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you expand your teams with the right people. 

 

References 

1 Statista. “Size of the Chatbot Market Worldwide from 2016 to 2025.” Statista, July 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/656596/worldwide-chatbot-market/. 

2 LoDolce, Matt, and Jordan Brackenbury. “Gartner Survey Reveals Only 8% of Customers Used a Chatbot During their Most Recent Customer Service Interaction.” Gartner, 15 June 2023, https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2023-06-15-gartner-survey-reveals-only-8-percent-of-customers-used-a-chatbot-during-their-most-recent-customer-service-interaction. 

3 McKinsey & Company. “What Is Personalization?” McKinsey & Company, 30 May 2023, https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-explainers/what-is-personalization. 

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Find top customer support hires by asking the right questions. Secure ideal candidates for your team today!

Customer support is vital for ensuring customer satisfaction. As the first point of contact, it’s responsible for quick problem-solving, building trust, and providing personalized experiences. However, finding the right employees with the necessary skills is essential to achieve satisfaction and loyalty. 

So, how do you identify the right candidates? It’s all about asking the right interview questions. We’ll provide you with customer support interview questions to assist candidate evaluation and ensure they fit well into your job openings, thriving in the roles they’ll undertake. 

 

The Role of Customer Support in the Customer Experience 

Customer support plays a crucial role in shaping the customer experience. According to a Statista survey, positive customer service experiences significantly impact consumer behavior.  

For instance, 94 percent of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases, 82 percent have recommended a company, 80 percent are forgiving of mistakes, and 78 percent base their purchase decisions on the quality of customer service they receive.¹ 

Effective customer support provides timely help and solves issues with empathy. This boosts satisfaction and builds trust and loyalty. By solving problems well and interacting positively, customer support shows commitment to customer success. Ultimately, it fosters solid relationships and turns customers into loyal advocates for the brand. 

However, to deliver exceptional customer support, you need the right candidate with the necessary skills, empathy, and dedication to provide outstanding service consistently. 

Related Article: Are You Missing Out on Hidden Call Center Talent? 

 

Get to Know Your Candidate: Questions to Ask in a Service Interview 

Employers should start setting expectations from the onset of the job interview. Job interviews will define whether you have a customer service expert team. 

Here are the questions you need to ask your customer service candidates.  

Related Article: Cultivating a Positive Virtual Interview Experience: 10 Essential Tips for Hiring Managers 

 

1. What does providing excellent customer service mean to you?

Asking candidates about their definition of customer service allows them to showcase their principles. Understanding their perspective helps assess their alignment with the organization’s service standards and customer-focused approach. It also reveals their empathy, communication skills, and dedication to delivering exceptional experiences. 

Clear articulation of their definition ensures alignment with company objectives and underscores the importance of prioritizing customer satisfaction in the role. 

 

2. Can you share some experiences from your previous customer-facing roles that you found particularly rewarding or challenging?

This question can reveal a lot about a candidate’s motivation, job satisfaction, and self-awareness. Learning about what they enjoyed and found challenging helps assess their alignment with the position’s responsibilities. 

It also identifies potential areas for improvement or areas of concern, determining their long-term fit within the company and ensuring mutual expectations and job satisfaction. 

 

3. Tell me about a work accomplishment you are most proud of.

During an interview, it is helpful to inquire about a candidate’s proudest job achievement from customer support. First, it sheds light on the applicant’s prior accomplishments and experiences in a customer-focused position. Their reaction could provide insight into their capacity for problem-solving, critical thinking, and output.

Additionally, it allows the applicant to highlight those skills while addressing client concerns. By discussing a specific accomplishment, the candidate can emphasize their contributions to customer satisfaction and retention—two critical components of a successful customer support role. 

An interviewer can gain valuable insights about a candidate’s values, work ethic, and attitude toward their job. It gives an overview of the candidate’s motivations and inspirations and gives important information about how well they might fit into the company’s customer-focused culture. 

 

4. How do you handle negative feedback, especially from customers?

Asking questions about handling negative feedback—especially from angry customers—is important. It evaluates a candidate’s ability to remain composed under challenging situations effectively. To give them more context, consider framing a scenario: A customer contacts you, expressing dissatisfaction with a recent product or service experience. How would you respond?

Assessing their response evaluates their ability to remain composed under pressure, demonstrate empathy towards customer concerns, and effectively resolve problems positively. It also gauges their communication skills in managing difficult situations tactfully. 

Applicants who see criticism as a chance for growth have a proactive mentality and a dedication to providing first-rate customer service. Knowing how they handle criticism provides valuable insights into their emotional intelligence. It makes them a good fit for customer service professions, where the ability to handle difficult situations with professionalism and grace is crucial. 

 

5. How do you tailor your communication style to different customer personalities and situations?

Effective communication is key to good customer service. It involves adjusting how you talk based on who you’re talking to and what’s happening. This question checks if candidates can connect with customers and change how they speak to fit different situations. It shows if they understand different customer needs and can be understanding and professional.

Good candidates can listen well, understand how customers feel, and change how they speak to help them better. It’s important for making customers feel heard and solving problems. 

 

6. How do you plan to leverage your skills to address customer inquiries and ensure positive outcomes in this role?

This question checks if candidates can use their strengths to help customers. It shows if they know their skills and how to use them. Candidates who understand their strengths can explain how they’ll use them to make customers happy. It’s important to ensure they’re a good fit for the job and can succeed.

 

7. What aspects of our company’s mission or values resonate with you?

This helps gauge a candidate’s understanding of and alignment with the company’s goals. It shows if they’ve done their homework and understand what the company stands for. Candidates familiar with the company show that they are passionate and committed to the role, which suggests they’ll take the time to represent the brand properly and offer customers customized assistance.

Read More: Job Fit Matters: How Salem Solutions Nails Job Fit for Call Center Professionals 

 

8. How do you see yourself contributing to our team’s success?

Asking this question uncovers a candidate’s motivations and how they see themselves fitting into the team. It assesses their understanding of the company’s culture and goals. 

Applicants who express sincere interest in the organization show their dedication and promise for prolonged engagement. Recognizing their reasons guarantees that they are interested in the company’s success, which promotes organizational cohesiveness and employee retention. 

 

9. What skills or experiences do you want to acquire or develop in the next five years, and how do you see yourself applying them in this role?

According to Zippia’s database of 30,002 customer service representatives’ resumes, the average representative stays at their job for one to two years.²

Bearing this in mind, asking about their five-year plans can reveal information about their career goals and fit with the company’s opportunities for growth. It displays their aspirations, dedication, and capacity for sustained engagement.  

It’s easier to determine whether a candidate is looking for prospects for progress and whether the post fits with their trajectory if you know their professional development interests. Additionally, it guarantees reciprocal expectations, which promotes worker retention and happiness and supports the business’s talent development initiatives. 

Read More: 9 Green Flags to Look for in a Customer Service Job Description 

 

FIND THE BEST CUSTOMER SUPPORT CANDIDATES WITH SALEM SOLUTIONS 

Discovering the best customer support candidates just got easier with Salem Solutions. We understand the significance of finding candidates with the right skills and aligning with your company’s culture and objectives. Our personalized approach ensures we match you with top-notch talent who will thrive in their roles. 

Whether you need direct hiring, temporary staffing, temp-to-hire, outsourcing, or payroll services, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in finding the right people for your team. 

 

References 

1 Dencheva, Valentina. “Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors Based on Their Customer Service Experience Worldwide As of May 2022.” Statista, 8 May 2023, www.statista.com/statistics/1323488/consumer-behavior-customer-service-worldwide/. 

2 “CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE DEMOGRAPHICS AND STATISTICS IN THE US.” Zippia, www.zippia.com/customer-service-representative-jobs/demographics/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2024. 

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Explore the impact of women in contact centers, celebrating Women's History Month. Discover the female trailblazers now!  

Women’s History Month is all about recognizing women’s vital contributions, who comprise a significant part of our workforce. Beyond acknowledging the triumphs and challenges throughout history, this global celebration emphasizes the importance of appreciating and supporting women who have shaped society, advanced rights, and overcome obstacles.

In contact centers, customer service, and customer experience, women have played a crucial role in transforming industries and setting high standards for excellence. This month calls us to action – to appreciate women’s essential role in our lives and workplaces.

Join us in exploring women who have reshaped the narrative, paving the way for equality and inspiring future women leaders. Let’s celebrate Women’s History Month in recognition of women’s incredible impact in contact centers and customer service.

 

Women in Contact Center History 

The world’s first telephone operators were young men, but women like Emma Nutt soon replaced them. Nutt was hired by Alexander Graham Bell in 1878 as one of the first female telephone operators. This paved the way for her contemporaries in 1879 when women such as Bessie Snow Balance, Emma Landon, Carrie Boldt, and Minnie Schumann became the first female operators in Michigan.

Over the ensuing decades, exceptional women left their mark advancing workplace equality while connecting callers. Julia O’Connor fearlessly led strikes for telephone operators in 1919 and 1923, paving the way for collective bargaining rights and higher wages.

When World War I created staffing shortages, the Army Signal Corps recruited over 7,000 women to keep lines open. Displaying skill and dedication, these “Hello Girls” countered assumptions about women’s capabilities.

As contact centers evolved from switchboards to today’s complex global hubs, female agents adaptably met each transition. With women constituting over 70 percent of the contact center workforce, the industry benefits from a diverse talent pool rich in empathy, communication, and problem-solving skills, crucial for delivering exceptional customer service.¹

Read More: 6 Qualities That Make a Great Call Center Agent 

 

6 Female Trailblazers in Customer Service 

Women have been working in customer service for decades. They have shaped the industry into what it is today. With this in mind, here are several women we can admire in customer service and customer experience.

Read More: 7 Secrets to Outstanding Customer Service 

 

1. Catherine Blackmore

As the GVP of Global Customer Success at Oracle Marketing Cloud, Blackmore boasts over two decades of expertise in customer service. She is also recognized as one of the top 50 influencers in the industry. Catherine combines real-life experiences with innovation to steer first-class Customer Experience (CX) strategies.

In addition to her executive role, Catherine is a prolific writer, sharing valuable insights through blogs, eBooks, and whitepapers. Her career spans prestigious positions, including roles at Salesforce, contributing significantly to the industry’s knowledge base.

Passionate about turning customers into brand advocates, Catherine stresses the transformative power of effective customer service. Her thought-provoking question to businesses is, “What are you going to do to turn them into raving fans?”—encouraging strategic approaches to optimize operations.

 

2. Annette Franz

With 30 years of experience (both client-side and vendor-side), Annette Franz, CCXP, has helped businesses better understand their customers and employees. She has determined what factors influence customer and employee satisfaction, engagement, retention, and overall experience.

She has also designed employee and customer experience strategies to improve the experience for all parties involved.

Anette is a thought leader, journey mapping workshop/process facilitator, coach, consultant, keynote speaker, and influencer who enjoys teaching people about culture, customer experience, and employee experience through her writing and speaking.

She wrote the book titled “Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the ‘Customer’ in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).” You’ll learn the three methods to earn customer understanding from the book, including a thorough guide to Franz’s six-step mapping process.

 

3. Nicolle Paradise

Nicolle Paradise served as an ADP keynote speaker on customer experience and leadership and the Senior Director of Customer Experience and Strategy. She is an investor, a board advisor, and the Head of Experience at TEDx San Francisco. She was chosen for the TEDWomen 2018 event. She is Vice President for Customer Success & Revenue Operations for Bodine & Co.

According to Nicolle, clients are never impediments to a business’s operations—rather, they serve as its goal. With over 15 years of experience designing, measuring, scaling, operationalizing, and transforming fast-growing companies, Nicolle is a committed, data-driven SaaS leader.

Her proficiency in Operations and Client Outcomes has resulted in revenue growth for multibillion-dollar companies and international startups, providing quantifiable value for clients, profitability for investors, and employee motivation.

 

4. Tiffani Bova

Tiffani Bova has aided businesses all over the world in growing their clientele, improving customer experiences, and revolutionizing consumer engagement.

In addition to being ranked in the Top 50 Sales and Marketing Influencers, she has been recognized as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in California” by the National Diversity Council and as one of the Thinkers50 2019 Global Ranking of Management Thinkers.

She is currently employed with Salesforce as their Growth and Innovation Evangelist. In addition to contributing to HBR, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and more, she is the author of the best-selling book Growth IQ, which was declared a Wall Street Journal Bestseller. She is also the host of the “What’s Next!” Podcast.

 

5. Jeanne Bliss

As a keynote speaker and advisor on leadership and customer experience, Jeanne Bliss encourages the most admired businesses in the world to gain recognition and growth through the humanity of their people and elevated business practices.

Jeanne has over 35 years of experience growing businesses. As the first Chief Customer Officer at Microsoft, Lands’ End, Allstate, and Coldwell Banker Corporations, she oversaw the attainment of retention rates of over 98 percent.

She has trained over 20,000 leaders using her 5-competency framework as a strategic advisor, which has been shown to produce customer-driven success. 1,500 of the biggest corporations in the world have invited her to speak as a keynote speaker on improving their standing among customers and in the marketplace.

 

6. Sarah Stealey Reed

With over 18 years of global expertise in operations, offshore outsourcing, customer experience, and contact center management, Sarah is recognized as an influential strategic leader. She successfully built contact centers from the ground up, managed them fiscally to support growth, and acted as a turnaround specialist for struggling metrics and employees.

She focuses on establishing operational baselines while consistently enhancing customer satisfaction, ensuring an exceptional experience regardless of location, language, tenure, or channel.

Sarah Stealey Reed has held significant roles, including Senior Manager for the Workplace Services Call Center at Deloitte and Content Director for ICMI, where she oversaw editorial content and community strategy. A versatile professional, she is a writer, blogger, social poster, and a sought-after speaker on Customer Support and Emerging Channels at national events and online webinars.

Reflecting on her transformative leadership style, Sarah shares a pivotal moment where she shifted from a demanding approach to one that embraced kindness and respect. Taking the advice of a manager, she reintroduced her personality and humanity, resulting in improved morale, decreased attrition, and sustained high scores in customer satisfaction.

 

Let’s Celebrate Women In Customer Service for Women’s History Month 

In customer service, celebrating Women’s History Month highlights the priceless contributions that women have made and now make in this industry. From the earliest days of telephone switchboards to the present digital contact centers, women have demonstrated exceptional qualities that contribute significantly to delivering outstanding customer experiences.

Let’s reaffirm our dedication to empowering women, promoting diversity, and creating conditions where everyone can flourish and prosper as we celebrate Women’s History Month in customer service.

Read More: A Personalized Approach to Staffing: The Salem Solutions Difference 

 

ELEVATE YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM WITH SALEM SOLUTIONS 

Celebrate Women’s History Month by empowering your customer service team with top-notch talent from Salem Solutions. As industry specialists, our recruiters understand your organization’s unique challenges in the dynamic customer service landscape.

Whether you need Direct Hiring, Temporary Staffing, Temp-to-Hire, or Outsourcing solutions, we offer tailored services to meet your specific requirements. Contact us today and embark on a journey of excellence, commemorating Women’s History Month by enhancing your team with the right talent for unparalleled success.

 

Reference 

1 “CALL CENTER REPRESENTATIVE DEMOGRAPHICS AND STATISTICS IN THE US.” Zippia, www.zippia.com/call-center-representative-jobs/demographics/. Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

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Revolutionize high-volume recruitment. Read insights on how to deliver exceptional candidate experiences amidst challenges.  

Several hiring managers believe that ensuring a positive candidate experience requires one-on-one time with them. While that approach is beneficial, it is possible to cultivate a great candidate experience on a larger scale. When more people apply for jobs, you also have a bigger impact on how others see your company.

By now, you might be thinking, “Sure, providing candidates with a positive experience sounds wonderful. But, with 8 positions to fill, 400 applicants to handle, and only 24 hours in a day, I can’t constantly focus on candidate experience.”

No need to worry! We’ve got you covered with practical suggestions on maintaining a positive candidate experience, even when navigating the challenges of high-volume recruitment.

 

The Challenges of High-Volume Hiring: Struggling Recruiters and Poor Candidate Experience 

Candidates now expect more; the talent competition is getting tougher, and recruitment teams grapple with a pile of manual tasks.

Routine activities such as interview scheduling and screening consume valuable time and take time away from more important tasks. Despite efforts to provide candidates with engaging and efficient recruitment experience, traditional recruitment technology frequently falls short or, at times, works counterproductively.

On the flip side, as recruiters grapple with manual tasks, highly qualified candidates might experience delays, communication gaps, or, in more unfortunate cases, get hired by rival companies. However, it’s important to remember that positive candidate experience starts when a job seeker decides to apply and that as many as 50 percent declined job offers because of poor experience.¹

This implies that your capacity to attract talent is closely connected to the kind of experience you provide for candidates. So, what steps can you take to enhance your likelihood of attracting exceptional candidates?

Read More: Assess, Improve, Innovate: Maximizing Call Center Staffing Efficiency 

 

Understanding Candidate Priorities

In high-volume entry-level positions, candidates usually have a main objective: job security. They aim to secure a job and a steady income promptly. Therefore, the most beneficial offering is a streamlined process with clear communication about their status at every stage.

Aside from that, candidates often value transparency regarding the process, role, and organization. Throughout each stage, candidates consistently share information about themselves through their resume and interview responses, yet they don’t always get the same amount of information back.

The bottom line? Candidates want a process that’s fast but also transparent and engaging.

This is where your expertise and influence come into play. As key contributors to the recruitment process, you can mold and enhance the candidate experience. By prioritizing quick procedures, open communication, and engaging elements, your company can foster a connection with candidates that goes beyond the transactional, leaving a lasting and positive impression.

Read More: Quality at Scale: Everything You Need to Know About Salem Solutions’ High-Volume Call Center Staffing Solutions 

 

Elevating the Candidate Experience in High-Volume Recruitment 

Improving the candidate experience in high-volume recruitment demands a systematic approach—a consistent strategy that can be applied to each new recruitment initiative. Even though many see high-volume recruiting as a fast race, think of it more like a relay race. Each step in the process can affect how well the next one goes.

Here are strategies to enhance the candidate experience in high-volume hiring.

Read More: A Comprehensive Guide for Hiring Call Center Agents in 2024 and Beyond 

 

Maintain clarity and transparency at all times.

Candidates should never feel uninformed about your brand, the specific role they’re applying for, or their status in the hiring process. Any ambiguity can hinder candidate engagement and interest in your company as an employer. To address this, utilize every communication channel to proactively clarify information and set expectations.

For instance, ensure your job description clearly outlines the job requirements, salary range, and benefits. Include details about the application and hiring process to give candidates a clear understanding of what to expect.

Your careers page can serve as a platform to communicate your employer values and provide insights into the corporate culture. Additionally, design automated messages to address common questions candidates might have at different stages of the hiring journey.

Seize every opportunity to address any potential questions candidates proactively may have. Remember, if it seems like you’re stating the obvious or providing too much detail, you probably aren’t.

 

Focus on agility.

A high-volume hiring process that is slow and complex not only hampers your team’s efficiency but also disrupts a positive candidate experience.

Candidates are less inclined to fill out a long application form; in fact, the dropout rate for candidates who click on “Apply” but don’t finish the application is 92 percent.² Thus, convenience is key, considering that 58 percent of people use mobile phones for their job search.³ As such, having a simple and optimized mobile application is far more likely to meet candidate needs.

Similarly, candidates shouldn’t experience prolonged waiting periods between communications or stages of the hiring process. Extended waiting times make it easier for candidates to lose interest or explore other opportunities, and that means the time you spend on them goes to waste.

Make sure to make your process as quick and smooth as possible for the candidate. In cases where delays are anticipated, proactively communicate with the candidate and set clear expectations.

 

Establish timelines.

Two out of the top three reasons candidates worldwide withdraw from the application are:⁴

  • “I felt my time was not respected during the interview process.”
  • “The recruitment process was overly time-consuming.”

This highlights the significance of establishing clear timelines to ensure a respectful and efficient recruitment process. Candidates should feel that the outcomes are worthwhile for the effort they invest.

That’s why it’s important to establish and communicate clear timelines to candidates. It can be frustrating for candidates to submit an application and then go weeks without any updates on the next steps. After applying, candidates should receive a message indicating when they can expect to hear about the next steps.

It’s also advantageous to provide candidates with a designated point of contact for any questions regarding the process or their application.

Having defined timelines benefits the candidates and helps you stay organized in the hiring process. When faced with numerous positions to fill and a large pool of applicants, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Timelines serve as a tool to keep you accountable. Once a timeline is established, adhere to it; if adjustments are necessary, communicate those changes to the candidates.

 

Implement automation in the process.

Candidates should smoothly progress through the process. For instance, after submitting their application, they can easily move on to the assessment stage.

Upon successfully completing the assessment, candidates should be directed to self-schedule their interview. Employing an automated process helps avoid bottlenecks, eliminating the need for candidates to wait for manual communication about the next steps.

This holds true, as 62 percent of candidates would rather have an automated system manage the interview process efficiently instead of dealing with lengthy back-and-forth communication.⁵

Additionally, the ability to execute tasks in bulk proves highly beneficial during periods of high-volume hiring. It is impractical to send 300 individual emails to candidates regarding the next steps.

Thus, investing in technology that facilitates bulk emails and updates to your tracking system is essential. Maintaining templates for candidate communications is advantageous because it can save time by eliminating the need to recreate messages from scratch repeatedly.

For instance, you can use email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or SendGrid, which can be adapted for bulk communication in recruitment. Recruiters can design and send customized mass emails to candidates, providing updates, interview invitations, or other relevant information.

 

Personalize the candidate’s experience.

While automation is a fundamental tool for high-volume recruiters to enhance speed and efficiency, excessively depending on it can pose a risk to the candidate experience. Treating candidates uniformly and guiding them through the same automated process might make them feel like just another part of the crowd.

An alternative approach involves taking every possible chance to personalize the experience while balancing the need for efficiency. This might involve ensuring automated communications incorporate personal details, such as the candidate’s name. For individuals in your talent pool, consider sending location-specific notifications whenever your company hosts a hiring event in their region.

Another important thing is ensuring candidates can easily request accommodation for a disability or chronic illness. These options should be available at every step because not everyone feels comfortable sharing this information right away. And when candidates do ask for help, it’s important to respond quickly and address their needs.

 

LET SALEM SOLUTIONS UNLEASH POSITIVE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE FOR YOUR BUSINESS 

In staffing, where the demand for talent is high and the competition fierce, it’s crucial to revolutionize your approach. At Salem Solutions, we understand the critical role of candidate experience in high-volume recruitment. Our processes prioritize transparency, making every step clear for candidates.

Get in touch with us today to infuse a personal touch into every candidate interaction, making their journey with your company a great, memorable experience.

 

References 

1 40 Notable Candidate Experience Statistics: 2024 Job Application Trends & Challenges.” FinancesOnline, https://financesonline.com/candidate-experience-statistics/. Accessed 09 Feb. 2024.

2 “Most People—92%—Never Finish Online Job Applications.” Shrm.org, 2022, www.shrm.org/topics-tools/news/talent-acquisition/people-92-never-finish-online-job-applications.

3 Glassdoor. The Rise of Mobile Devices in Job Search: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers. 2019, research.glassdoor.com/site-us/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/06/Mobile-Job-Search-1.pdf.

4. “It’s Baaaack: Candidate Resentment Increases Globally.” Talent Board, 2023, www.thetalentboard.org/article/its-baaaack-candidate-resentment-increases-globally/. Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

5‌ “Candidate Expectations Report 2023.” Cronofy.com, www.cronofy.com/reports/candidate-expectations-report-2023. Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.‌

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Discover ten impactful ways to honor African American History Month in the workplace Let these initiatives contribute to an inclusive culture.  

As a candidate entering a new professional environment, understanding how an organization observes and embraces Black History Month is crucial for your cultural integration and overall experience. Celebrating this month is more than a symbolic gesture; it’s a chance to highlight the African-American community’s achievements.

As the emphasis on diversity, empathy, and inclusion (DEI) continues to become more important at work, fully embracing and celebrating Black History is recognized as essential.

Employees should feel valued, acknowledged, supported, heard, and represented. So, how can you embrace the spirit of this commemorative month? Here are 10 meaningful ways organizations and employees can embody the values of Black History Month daily, from supporting Black-owned businesses to advancing education.

 

What is Black History Month? 

Black History Month originated as Negro History Week in 1917. Carter G. Woodson, an author, journalist, and historian often known as the “father of black history,” passionately advocated for recognizing black narratives and viewpoints nationwide.

In 1976, President Ford expanded the observance to a month, establishing February as Black History Month—a tradition that continues today. During this month, we honor the lasting impact and contributions of African Americans, celebrating figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, and more.

Woodson believed true equality comes through acknowledging and understanding a race’s history. As such, Black History Month focuses on the achievements of significant black individuals, providing a platform for inclusive figures whose voices were historically marginalized. It’s crucial to acknowledge historical racism and celebrate “Black joy,” culture, and achievements equally.

 

Celebrating Black History Month in the Workplace

Discussing race in the workplace can be a sensitive matter, and some organizations might attempt to put less effort into promoting equality. However, being “colorblind” often backfires – it heightens perceptions of bias among minority groups instead of reducing it.

This effect is clearly visible in the workplace discrimination statistics. According to Gallup, 24 percent of black workers and 24 percent of Hispanic workers in the United States have faced discrimination at work within the past year.¹ When companies downplay demographic differences, it reinforces feelings of bias.

So, here’s a tip: Don’t be colorblind. Encourage co-workers to openly discuss, appreciate, and take pride in their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Keeping this in mind, let’s explore some other best practices for Black History Month—and any cultural or ethnic celebration.

Related Reading: DEI Tips for Government Call Centers: How to Create a More Inclusive Work Environment 

 

1. Support local Black-owned businesses.

A powerful way to endorse black excellence and entrepreneurship is by patronizing black-owned businesses. This positively influences lives and acknowledges the robust diversity within your community.

For example, you purchased groceries from a local black-owned supermarket rather than a larger chain. In doing so, you’re contributing to the success of the black entrepreneur who owns the store. You’re also acknowledging and celebrating the diversity present in your community.

Your choice to support this business goes beyond a simple transaction; it is also becoming a meaningful contribution to the local economy and an acknowledgement of the importance of diverse voices in the entrepreneurial landscape.

 

2. Gift your team with items from Black-owned businesses.

Spread some love by gifting your co-workers something that supports a black-owned business. Whether it’s a work-related item, a leisure activity accessory, or a morning beverage, this is an excellent way to kick off Black History Month.

These gifts can be paired with a team lunch featuring food from black-owned restaurants in the area to add a special touch to your celebration.

This initiative highlights black-owned businesses and urges employees to support growing businesses and entrepreneurs. It fosters team bonding as colleagues come together to celebrate Black History Month, contributing to an inclusive and supportive work environment aligned with the goals of Black History Month.

 

3. Seek DEI training opportunities.

Recognizing the significance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is important for creating an inclusive workplace. As a candidate, consider organizations that invest in DEI training by bringing in external experts and guest speakers.

Professionals in DEI possess the exercises, perspectives, and skills necessary to ensure that everyone in the office understands how to collaborate effectively and consistently show respect for each other’s backgrounds and differences.

How does this idea support Black History Month? DEI training is highly relevant to black history. Frequently, people avoid addressing racial issues directly, treating them like an unspoken problem. Investing in DEI allows one to change this approach, fostering sensitivity and empathy.

Related Reading: Empower, Engage, Excel: Building a Culture of Learning in Your Organization 

 

4. Inspire colleagues to learn Black History.

Introduce your team to the diverse contributions made by black individuals in America and encourage them to explore more through trivia games. Make questions that cover everything from significant figures to pop culture moments.

This game provides an entertaining way for employees, coworkers, and managers to spend hours exploring the rich heritage that black people bring into this world.

 

5. Contribute to Employee Resource Groups.

Engage in or actively participate in Diversity and Inclusion Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within your company. These groups frequently arrange events and facilitate open dialogues, providing employees with a platform to contribute to developing an inclusive workplace culture.

You can join events like Black History Month celebrations, attend seminars on the historical contributions of black leaders, and engage in discussions about fostering an inclusive workplace for black employees. This engagement actively contributes to shaping a workplace culture that recognizes and appreciates the richness of black history.

 

6. Offer your time and provide mentorship to youth of color.

Volunteering your time as a mentor is an excellent work idea for Black History Month. Look for opportunities to mentor a young person or join an organization dedicated to mentoring youth of color. Extend the chance to become a mentor within the company and inform coworkers or employees about reputable organizations to engage with.

Mentoring involves providing guidance and assistance to those in need. Celebrate Black History Month by extending mentorship to marginalized and underprivileged young individuals. While historical practices like red-lining disadvantaged the African-American community for many years, we can contribute to present efforts to enhance equality and opportunity.

 

7. Decorate workspaces mindfully.

Embrace the spirit of Black History Month by transforming your workspace or common areas with meaningful decorations. Consider decorating walls with inspiring posters showcasing influential black leaders, displaying artwork that captures the essence of black culture, or setting up informative displays featuring notable achievements.

For instance, you might showcase a poster series highlighting figures like Martin Luther King Jr. with informative displays outlining their groundbreaking contributions to civil rights, literature, or activism. This visually engaging transformation not only fosters awareness but also creates an environment that pays homage to the profound impact of black history.

 

8. Deepen understanding through literature.

Reading has been proven to make people more empathetic. Both fiction and non-fiction help us see real-world issues from a less defensive and biased perspective. Starting a book club is a good way to foster empathy at work, particularly for black employees, and to delve deeper into African-American history.

Select books by black authors that focus on the challenges and triumphs of black women and men throughout history. Consider Maya Angelou, an author and activist often regarded as a spokesperson for African Americans and women. Her numerous works connect with people dedicated to elevating the moral standards of living in the United States.

Complementing this initiative, enhance shared learning by collaborating with your Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion leader to organize consciousness-raising workshops. These workshops can feature local historians or community group speakers, providing immersive storytelling and fostering open dialogues to deepen cultural literacy and empathy for the black experience.

 

9. Support a Black charitable cause.

Celebrate Black History Month by donating to an organization or nonprofit that supports the black community. It’s a great way to make a positive impact for African Americans without requiring a significant time commitment.

Arguably, one of the most straightforward ways to support Black History Month is to encourage yourself and your colleagues to support an organization dedicated to a meaningful cause.

Organizations like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports education for black students, and the National Urban League, which works towards economic empowerment and equality, are reputable charities. You can support these trusted organizations or find local initiatives that address specific community needs.

 

10. Maximize social media’s impact.

During Black History Month, encourage your colleagues to use their social media accounts as a platform to raise awareness about black culture and amplify the voices of black-owned businesses. Encourage teams to create impactful posts celebrating Black History with stories and experiences across various platforms to engage a broader audience.

Using social media expands the reach of Black History Month beyond office walls, allowing more people to learn about its significance for the workplace and community. Leverage social media channels to share your company’s involvement in this special month, including planned activities and events.

To get started, encourage co-workers to share Black History Month-inspired posts, providing them with hashtags like #BlackHistoryMonth for increased exposure to showcase their unique stories and amplify their voices.

Read More: How Do You Create a Diverse Workforce?

 

AMPLIFY YOUR VOICE AND CELEBRATE EACH CANDIDATE’S CONTRIBUTIONS 

At Salem Solutions, our commitment to diversity is a cornerstone of who we are. We believe an organization is at its strongest when it includes voices from every corner, reflecting a blend of cultures, talents, and experiences.

Your story adds to our success, and we encourage you to be a part of our ongoing journey towards a more inclusive environment. Contact us today, and let’s create a narrative of strength, diversity, and impact together.

 

Reference 

1 Lloyd, Camille. “One in Four Black Workers Report Discrimination at Work.” Gallup.com, 12 Jan. 2021, news.gallup.com/poll/328394/one-four-black-workers-report-discrimination-work.aspx.

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