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3 Ways Outsourced Call Centers Can Improve the Hiring and Onboarding Process


Scott Kendrick

June 03, 2015

Call center with several smiling agents
Call center with several smiling agents

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, it’s not uncommon for companies to outsource customer-related services such as contact center solutions to a third-party provider. In fact, research from ContactBabel shows that 38% of UK organizations rely solely on virtualized contact centers; nearly half (46%) of medium-sized organizations in particular use virtualized contact centers.

With the rise of business process outsourcing (BPO) for contact center services comes the potential for a number of improvements across all areas of an organization, including reduced attrition/costs, increased efficiency, better agent performance, and an improved customer experience overall.

Let’s take a look at 3 ways BPOs can improve the hiring and onboarding process specifically:

Recruit High-Quality Talent

It may sound simple, but the place to begin is to hire the right kind of talent. While the specific agent qualifications will, of course, vary from company to company, Colin Shaw notes in Call Centre Helper that companies need to invest some time defining exactly what they want agents to do for the organization. In other words, what kind of experience do companies want agents to provide to customers and how will the right kind of candidates make it happen?

Since agents are on the front lines interacting with customers, it’s also important to consider the ways candidates will represent the company, motivate other agents, and regularly strive to improve their performance.

In that sense, BPOs have an advantage over local companies because their applicant pool isn’t limited to any one location in particular. A recent study from Five9, for example, shows 35% of contact center outsourcers tap into a remote-agent workforce to get non-local, high-quality talent.

Leverage Speech Analytics Technology

But hiring what Shaw calls “customer-ready employees” is only the first step. After all, efficiency doesn’t begin and end with the right team of agents. To get agents trained faster and give them the confidence to succeed in their daily work, BPOs need to provide automated, direct performance feedback on a consistent basis.

With speech analytics software such as CallMiner’s myEureka in place, agents can see performance indicators and ranking data in a single view. Armed with this type of information, agents can take quick action to improve their performance, boosting both agent job satisfaction and the customer’s overall experience.

Grow & Support Agent Teams

Getting agents to address a particular area of weakness (e.g., script compliance, product knowledge, etc.) is one thing. But the question is how can BPOs motivate agent teams to improve their performance on an ongoing basis?

A big part of this comes down to managers growing and supporting the team over time, helping them to cultivate skills, identify and execute professional development opportunities, and more. As noted by Donna Fluss in SearchCRM, it’s vitally important to monitor and track agent improvements over time.

“Track and reward call center agent progress and improvement,” says Fluss. “Motivate [agents] by recognizing and praising incremental improvements and continue to provide coaching and support for performance opportunities.”

Final Thoughts

The majority (80%) of contact center outsourcers who participated in the Five9 study say that delivering a seamless and superior customer experience is their top competitive differentiator. But, in order to provide unparalleled customer service, BPOs need to recruit and train the type of agents committed to making the customer experience the best it can be.

What steps has your BPO taken to improve the hiring and onboarding process? Do you agree with our recommendations above?

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