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How to Spot Your Future Customer Service Superstar

When it comes to staffing your customer service/contact center, do you advertise only when you need more bodies - or are your recruiting efforts ongoing? And if they're ongoing, do you advertise in only one medium - such as newspapers - or do you put the word out in multiple outlets?

Jackie Kenyon-Chabot, director of human resources at Telvista, suggests you recruit customer service personnel on a continuing basis and use a variety of ways to attract candidates. Telvista is a Dallas-based provider of contact center support. The company recently was awarded the MVP (Marketing via Phone) Quality Gold Award for its innovative customer satisfaction programs by Customer Inter@ction Solutions.

Hiring Initiatives

"At Telvista," Kenyon-Chabot says, "we have a continual pipeline of candidates to consider. This enables us to remain fully staffed when unexpected or seasonal vacancies occur."

Telvista, she says, attracts candidates through:

  1. word of mouth
  2. referrals from existing staff
  3. internet job sites, such as Monster (www.monster.com)
  4. newspaper advertising
  5. job fairs
  6. local colleges
  7. relationships with local schools.

"By casting a wide net," Kenyon-Chabot says, "potential candidates can find us no matter what sources they use to find employment."

But attracting candidates is just part of the problem; you need to attract the best qualified candidates. One way to do this, she says, is to be up front with what the job entails.

"Spell out the positives, such as good location, competitive pay, and career development opportunities. But mention perceived negatives as well, such as irregular hours, number of hours on the phone, and the like.

Also be clear on what qualifications the successful candidate should have." In certain areas of the country, for example, bilingual skills are necessary. These procedures, Kenyon-Chabot says, have enabled the company to attract more highly qualified people and be more selective in the recruiting process.

Retention Initiatives

Yet hiring qualified staff won't ultimately do you much good if you can't retain your people. That's why Telvista has developed an extensive employee recognition program. By rewarding superior performance, Telvista promotes a positive work environment and exceptional service for the client. Here are some examples of their recognition programs.

Greet, Treat, and Meet:

Greet, Treat, and Meet was developed to ensure all team members are continually striving for positive customer interactions by utilizing the following criteria:

  • Greet each customer with enthusiasm.
  • Treat each customer with respect.
  • Meet each customer's expectations.

Greet, Treat, and Meet is ongoing and has a rotating monthly focus for either teams or individuals. Attendance, availability, and quality are just a few examples of focus areas. At the end of each month results are tabulated, winners are announced, and that month's results are archived. Prizes: Individual focus month winners receive prizes that may include:

  • Two tickets to a sporting event or concert of choice.
  • An American Express "Be Our Guest" restaurant gift card.
  • Grocery gift card.

Team focus month winners receive a catered lunch of their choice attended by a Telvista executive.

Greet, Treat, and Meet parking spot: Individual focus month winners receive a designated parking spot to use for the next month. During team focus months, the supervisors of winning teams choose who they felt was most influential in helping the team win and award the parking spot to that individual for use during the following month.

Qualifying prize: During the individual focus months, team members who were not the site winner, but qualified to win,are entered into a drawing for a consolation prize such as a Wal-Mart gift card.

Telvista cruise: In addition to receiving a prize, winners are placed in a monthly drawing for a chance to win a spot on a Telvista cruise. A Telvista cruise departs every six months to different vacation destinations around the world. Individual focus month site winners are placed into a drawing for a chance of winning a spot on the Telvista cruise (one team member from each site is entered). During the team focus months, all team members on winning teams are entered into a monthly drawing for a chance of winning a spot on the Telvista cruise (one team from each site is entered).

Supervisors and mangers: At the end of six months, supervisors and managers of winning individuals or teams are entered into separate drawings for a spot on the Telvista cruise. If a supervisor or manager has multiple winning team members or the team wins multiple times, that supervisor's or manager's name is entered into the drawing multiple times.

Other awards

Telvista has created a variety of other awards to aid in recognition and retention:

Top Banana award: Telvista has a monthly Top Banana award that is passed between contact center managers. Winners are determined by a committee designated by the vice president of operations. The manager who has outperformed in areas such as quality calibration, profitability, schedule adherence, or supervisor performance, is awarded a giant, inflatable banana to be displayed in his or her office for a month. The executive team announces the winner and details why the manager was chosen.

"You Make the Difference" award: Team members who make a significant contribution to the organization and positively impact the business are recognized. The Telvista executive team presents this award on a monthly basis, after judging nominations from each director. Award recipients are invited to a director's meeting to receive the award and receive public recognition from their director. Award recipients receive a monetary prize and are entered into a drawing for a chance to attend a Telvista cruise.

Says Kenyon-Chabot: "All of these programs help us not only create great teams, but enable us to retain our top employees as well."

Whether your training need is small and focused, or enterprise-wide, you can count on Skillmap Training programs to deliver. For more than 20 years we have been helping organizations achieve their business objectives with targeted training initiatives.

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