The downfalls of the Coronavirus pandemic have been undeniable. Yet, for some, advantages and opportunities have presented themselves, like little lights at the end of a depressing and dark tunnel.
For Contact Centres, the sudden and lasting upheaval caused by Covid certainly shook things up, but the result is not entirely negative. While uprooting an entire workforce from office-based to work-from-home settings was an undertaking, it has allowed organisations to rid themselves of costly premises. For example, Capita saved £10m in the first UK lockdown alone by closing offices and has subsequently closed 49 sites worldwide, while Santander scrapped their plans for a new £75m call centre for 2,500 workers.
These changes are set to last. With only 3.8% of the UK’s call centre workers working remotely prior to the pandemic, and 70% making the switch since, research by Sensee has revealed that most feel the transition has gone well. Perhaps the success of homeworking can be evidenced most in the 82% of contact centres anticipating a remote workforce by 2029.
The Benefits of a Home-based Contact Centre
While it’s true that the effects of Covid have been varied, and quite often damaging, let’s focus on some of the positives for a second. It’s crucial for Contact Centres to reflect on recent changes, and ask ‘are we embracing and effectively utilising the benefits that have been presented?’
Firstly, the long-standing issue of staff turnover seems to show a change as a result of pandemic-related working conditions. Research by ContactBabel shows that 55% of surveyed Contact Centres have seen a ‘strongly positive’ or ‘positive’ impact on agent attrition, with 45% of respondents experiencing a decrease in attrition rates over a 12-month period from 2020-2021. Although this may be merely a correlation, there’s little doubt that the new flexible way of working has been a positive outcome for many, improving their work-life balance, and helping to reduce rates of attrition for a typically high-turnover environment. In a world currently experiencing the ‘Great Resignation’, making your workplace more desirable is a step in the right direction.
In the same vein, a benefit revealed by Covid is perhaps the more attractive proposition offered by Contact Centres, in comparison to their main competition for talent; the Hospitality, Retail, and Tourism sectors.
These sectors have seen a huge increase in vacancies since the economy and jobs began to recover, resulting in a candidate-led market with a wide variety of choice. Candidates want flexibility, to be engaged during the recruitment process, an easy and fast application and assessment process, and to feel valued. Contact Centres are more acutely placed to offer this to candidates than their rivals, especially as a result of recent changes.
Already ahead on being able to work remotely, allowing for greater inclusion of individuals with disabilities and parents with responsibilities to better apply themselves to their job without the inconvenience of travel and childcare, taking steps to further improve the recruitment process with efficient digital assessments could further attract applicants. Where Retail and Hospitality function with long shifts, lack of remote work, and in-person recruitment, Contact Centres appeal to those looking for something different.
Additionally, with a diminishing pool of candidates due to difficulties with Brexit and lack of EU workers, the flexible working offered by Contact Centres affords a wider candidate pool. As organisations look beyond location and embrace a less restrictive hiring process, they can more easily find candidates with the potential to succeed and grow in their organisation, removing barriers for development.
Digital Recruitment Solution for Historically Questionable Recruitment
Recruitment for Contact Centres has traditionally been carried out using out-of-date practices, such as CV screening, and at the cost of candidate experience, but with the pandemic affording the abovementioned benefits, it’s time to think about how they can utilise an efficient and engaging recruitment process.
With candidate engagement and onboarding playing a huge role in where someone might choose to work, and in a market with more choice than ever, paying attention to your process is crucial.
Creating such a process shouldn’t be difficult, especially with services such as an assessment for Customer Service agents with potential, and digital recruitment solutions to streamline your practices.
Amberjack’s new immersive assessment for Contact Centres is one way to start embracing the changing working world. The assessment creates an engaging experience that is face-valid and shows off your organisations values. It includes home-working and office-based scenarios with customers and colleagues to accurately test the skills you want and identify high potential candidates. You know what you’re getting into with your new hires, and they have a good idea of the workplace they’re entering, encouraging them to stay in your pipeline and reducing reneges.
As convenience is now more key than ever, a flexible and digital hiring process can also have multiple benefits. From reducing your time-to-hire, to providing candidates with a chance to choose when and where they carry out that part of the assessment and selection process, you can start as you mean to go on: efficient, effective, and adaptable.
You can get in touch with Carlin about the benefits offered by Amberjack’s Customer Service Assessment, and discuss how it can be easily implemented into your recruitment process, by emailing her at: Carlin.Summers@weareamberjack.com