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How to Delight Customers by Hiring the Best Call Center Employees

The Call Center Challenge – weathering the storm of changing customer AND employee behavior.

With unemployment at an all-time high — contact centers have become an attractive option for many newly unemployed. Call center jobs are often well suited to those with limited experience while still offering stable employment, good benefits, and the ability to acquire transferrable skills.

The Covid-19 pandemic is forcing meaningful change to the call center employee and customer landscape. The number of candidates applying to call center jobs is on the rise, as is an all-time high in call volume. Industries such as financial services, home services, telecom, and senior care have seen an 85% increase in call volumes1. A recent study conducted by Harvard found that hold times have ballooned by as much as 34% and escalations (calls sent up the chain of command) have skyrocketed by more than 68%2.

To make matters even more difficult, the complexity of the average inbound customer call has also increased. Customers are facing challenges not easily solved themselves driving unprecedented increases in hold and issue resolution times.

And while most call center organizations have been laser-focused on improving the customer experience for years (76% of call center leaders rank “improving the customer experience” as their #1 business priority), many are concerned that improvement efforts are unlikely to satisfy new and emerging challenges.

The most effective way to improve customer experience is by hiring the best call center employees that are invested in their roles!

Industries such as financial services, home services, telecom, and senior care have seen an 85% increase in call volumes.

In the book The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty, the authors document a full 2/3rds of customer loyalty is driven not by what the customer is made to do, but instead by how they are made to feel. This is where a great call center agent can really shine — delivering on a customer interaction that allows the customer to feel that their issue was easily and quickly resolved. And when 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent service, the service interaction really matters!

While it is critically important to find call center agents that bring your customer experience promise to life – it is also important that you seek out great agents that will stay. The job of the call center agent is challenging, and as a result, has been plagued with high attrition rates for years – 49% of call center agents leave within 6 months of the job because they were not the right fit for the job. Constant agent churn can wreak havoc on a call center’s quality standards and is often the root cause of low CX or NPS scores.

Hiring and staffing for a high performing call center organization is not easy. The job of the call center recruiter can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The SHL Call Center Hiring Solution can help automate hiring with scalable, valid, and role-specific assessments. It includes call center simulations and video interviewing to help you quickly hire talent who will transform your customer experience. SHL recommended agents were 63% more likely to be high performers, increase CSAT scores by 32%, and all this while reducing time to hire by 60%.

The SHL approach will free up time so recruiters can focus on high-value activities and spend more time with finalist candidates that have already demonstrated they have the skills and behavior to excel on the job and determine their fit for the role so you can be confident they will last for the long haul. SHL will remove the burden of screening and sifting, while still delivering to candidates a meaningful and immersive experience that brings your brand and culture to life.

We ensure that you hire only the best candidates who possess the right fit and capability to wow your customers. Find out how SHL can help you scale hiring to quickly identify high-performing customer service agents.




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Andrew Nelesen

Andy Nelesen is the global leader of SHL’s Volume Hiring practice, partnering with SHL customers on the design and optimization of data-driving hiring solutions for the past 10+ years.

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