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Sourcing Woes? Look at Streamlining your Screening Process

As the unemployment rate continues to fall, some recruiting teams may find it a bit tougher to source high quality candidates. But is candidate sourcing entirely to blame? Maybe, but probably not. Sourcing may be part of the problem, but it’s likely that your recruiting team’s screening strategy needs to take advantage of current technology and other changes in today’s labor market.

Many aspects affect sourcing, but there are three major screening factors that can choke a torrent of applicants to a mere trickle. Under time pressure, your recruiters make the best of the situation, but you’re often left with underperforming, turnover-prone employees.

These factors, taken one at a time, can have a significant impact on... Read more »

Assessments are Dead! Long Live Assessments!

Many companies rely on one or more behavioral, cognitive, personality, intelligence and hard skills assessments in order to predict potential job fit, improve performance, and reduce turnover. Most of these are deeply rooted in 1950s-era organizational psychology that has changed little in the ensuing 60-plus years which renders them less effective in today’s employment climate. Furthermore, many of these assessments were designed with a highly collaborative work environment in mind – one where workers are largely dependent on each other to perform effectively and deliver results. However, some jobs, like many of those in customer service, are more reliant on the ability of an employee to interact well with people outside the... Read more »

How to Avoid the 10 Customer Service Worst Practices

Delivering an exceptional customer experience often means that several disparate elements need to come together perfectly – people, process and technology need to work together seamlessly. Yet it often takes only one thing to go wrong to make the whole customer experience unravel.

Customer experience guru Micah Solomon recently wrote about the 10 All-time Worst Customer Service Practices in which he opines on the most egregious breaches of the customer service protocol. Several relate to defects in process; others address failures in technology; but most reveal shortcomings in the human element of the customer experience equation.

The American Customer Service Index, a national cross-industry measure of customer... Read more »

Predicting the Best Candidates: Big Data v. Crystal Ball

Last month I was intrigued by a blog published in Harvard Business Review (“In Hiring, Algorithms Beat Instinct”) that declared, “Humans are very good at specifying what’s needed for a position and eliciting information from candidates – but they’re very bad at weighing the results.”

This conclusion was based on analysis conducted by Brian S. Connelly, Nathan R. Kuncel, David M. Klieger and Deniz S. Ones. They performed 17 different studies of applicant evaluations. It turned out that a simple equation beat gut feel by a significant 25% – whether the candidates were being interviewed for front-line positions, middle management or the C suite.

Obviously there’s need for a person’s judgment at some point in a fair and... Read more »

Four Key Attributes of Successful Call Center Agents

Despite dire predictions that self-service will render the call center agent obsolete, the opposite is true.  Call center employment continues to grow at a healthy clip.  According to recent research published by leading industry thinker Paul Stockford of Saddletree Research, the U.S. call center industry added nearly 52,000 new jobs.  Some of this growth is attributable to the staffing of health insurance exchange contact centers as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but much of it is industry growth.

However, the impact of self-service skills and competencies that today’s agents must possess is undeniable.  Customers are better informed than ever before with more resources at their disposal to research alternative... Read more »

What Drives the Exceptional Customer Experience?

Leading customer feedback insights analyst firm, CFI Group, recently published its Contact Center Satisfaction Index (CSSI) for 2013 (download the report here).  The results should be a wake-up call for call centers everywhere.  2013 saw an 8-point drop in the CSSI from its high of 77 in 2012 to a record low of 69 in 2013.  While there's probably no need to hit the panic switch just yet, it's equally clear that consumers' expectations of call center services have outpaced their ability to deliver.

Other industry research suggests that up to 88% of customer interactions are handled by an agent at some point.  Furthermore, interactions have become more complex and today's consumers tend to be more informed - they often... Read more »