Hiring, Training, and Retaining Remote Contact Center Agents
It is no secret that healthcare organizations are contending with staff shortages. While most of the stories you'll read will highlight the need for medical staff employees, hospital contact centers are also having difficulty hiring and retaining loyal employees. Many hospitals are continuing to recruit remote operators. Hiring and training hospital contact center agents remotely creates new challenges but having the right processes and technology in place makes all the difference in creating a smooth experience. Consider the following steps when hiring and training your remote contact center agents:
1. Attracting Relevant Candidates
It is frustrating to receive incomplete applications or applicants that don’t meet the job requirements. You can attract new candidates by determining where best to post your job openings, providing detailed job and company information, asking for employee reviews, and using online applications.
There are various platforms available to recruit new candidates, so how do you decide which to advertise your open positions? Determine your ideal employee's traits to help choose which platform (i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook, Indeed) is best. You’ll have a better chance of reaching your ideal employee by advertising your job posting where they will most likely see it.
Post photos and images to give candidates a good perspective on your organization's culture when completing your company profile page. Being transparent will help recruit better-qualified candidates and save you time and money. Give potential employees reasons why they might want to work there and explain/show what to expect.
Ask your current remote contact center agents to leave employee reviews online. Employee reviews are a helpful way for candidates to verify an organization's culture. They also provide applicants with a first-hand review of the pros and cons of working there. You’ll want to be prepared for any negative feedback. Many of these platforms allow the employer a chance to respond so you can address and respond to the input.
If you are still using paper applications, it’s time to evolve your technology. You can streamline the recruiting and hiring process by using an online application. An online application makes it easier for candidates to apply and speeds up the review process.
2. Filtering your Candidates
Reviewing job applications is time-consuming, but if you don’t take the time to filter them, you’ll spend a lot more time interviewing unqualified candidates. Automation is vital to help make this step more efficient. Organizations can use simple yes and no questions in their online job application to decide if candidates meet their requirements. For example, you could use a basic IS Web Script application with simple yes/no responses. If the applicant answered “no” to being available to work weekends, then they would automatically receive a decline email and be filtered out of your pool of qualified applicants.
A multi-step application process will help filter candidates more to help determine your best candidates. Starting with a short initial application, then advancing to a more extended follow-up application for those who qualify, followed by a skills test, will save time and qualify better candidates.
Another tip for filtering your candidates is to decide on deal-breakers. What are the must-have requirements for this role (availability, typing speed, bilingual, internet speed)? Applicants must meet these requirements or be immediately removed from the process. Also, ask another associate to be involved. It’s good to have a second set of eyes to review things that you may not have noticed or could be red flags.
When it comes to interviewing, using a video platform is essential instead of just the telephone. This will give you a better perspective on the applicant, how they present themselves, and their work surroundings. Require the applicant to use their webcam. Keep an eye out for any lag in their connection that could present a problem in the future or any technical issues they may have that could be a problem working remotely/independently.
When you’ve filtered your applicants down, list your top candidates and backups. Once you make your offers, you can move on to any backup candidates if your top candidates decline the offer.
3. Onboarding and Training Process
Do you have a documented onboarding process for new employees? The onboarding process is crucial to ensuring a pleasant new hire experience. Utilizing paperless forms speeds up the process and helps to avoid lost paperwork. An employee handbook and policies help set employee expectations from the start.
Welcome your new hires and introduce them to the team to make them feel welcome and connected. Assigning a mentor is an excellent way to make them feel comfortable when asking questions. Schedule an orientation process to discuss day-to-day activities, communication tools, etc. Make sure technology is adequately set up and functional. Training videos can be recorded in advance for independent viewing. Quizzes and exams can be used to test the knowledge and effort of your new remote contact center agents.
Training remotely can be simplified with the right technology. Contact center software that is accessible through a web browser, such as our Intelligent Series (IS) platform, makes working remotely easy. Our Web Agent application enables your contact center agents to work from anywhere with an internet connection. Technology features like audit, barge, and coach are helpful during training. Supervisors or managers can listen to live calls and join the conversation when assistance is needed. They can also speak to the agent to provide instructions or advice without the caller hearing them. Using a survey and scoring tool, such as IS Agent Assessment, can help improve agent performance on calls.
4. Engage and Retain Employees
Make your team a priority by scheduling regular meetings and follow-ups. Use this time to receive feedback on what is and is not working, re-train, and teach new skills to employees. Offer incentives and awards to challenge and engage employees. Helping your employees grow and learn new skills also helps retain them.
A Better Experience
Hiring, training, and retaining new employees takes time and resources, but having procedures in place with technology to streamline the experience creates a better experience for both the employer and prospective employees. You’ll not only save time and money, but you’ll have more success in finding employees that meet your requirements.