A deeper look at the Age of the Call Centre Agent – Redefining and Aligning People Capability Demands
The 4th Industrial revolution is expected to fundamentally change the way we live, how we work, and how we relate to one another. We bore witness to emerging technologies and broad-based innovations that are diffusing much faster and more widely than in previous years, asking the question, for example, what will the impact of technological advances on our way of work be, and will we have what it takes to adapt? How will we, for example, deal with an increasingly virtual work environment brought about by the 4th industrial revolution and pandemics such as COVID-19?
Conceptualising Industry Challenges
There is no doubt that the call centre industry will face challenges when trying to adapt to contemporary workplace demands. Due to environmental impact (such as the 4IR and COVID-19 pandemic), there is an expected increase in demand for Agents. It is envisaged to also, in lieu of labour force impact and unemployment, to provide an opportunity for growth in terms of the Home Office Agent industry.
Call centres are popular because of the needs they serve and for their efficiency and general success in their specialised fields, which are largely dependent on the an agent’s competency and proficiency in servicing their clients and satisfying their needs. As such, they have become highly valued and an integral part of the business. Call centre agents need to understand technology and customer needs with an expected increase in demand for virtual call centre scenarios.
In recent years, there was an increase in demand for call centre agents who not only deliver customer service through inbound and outbound delivery competency but a shift in emphasis towards complex problem-solving. Whilst at the same time delivering results that lead to an improved level of customer service and, given more recent demands, delivery through a virtual application through Home Office Agent scenarios.
People Capability/Competency Requirements
Competencies relevant to the 4th industrial revolution include among others:
- Cognitive flexibility
- Complex problem solving
- Coordinating with others
- Critical thinking
- Emotional intelligence
- Service orientation
An increase in virtual workplace scenarios represents an additional workforce demand. The ability to lead and support employees by eradicating the time and space barriers to enhance virtual work team performance forms part of leadership capability. Call centre agents need to display that they have the necessary ability, motivation, skill, and knowledge to function effectively within a virtual workplace environment.
Considering the 4IR competency demands, and to accommodate the demands of complex problem solving and improved level of customer service, the following call centre agent competency domains are deemed critical in the contemporary environment:
- Cognitive: The specific Mental Abilities constituting the candidate’s intellect (mental capacity) needed by him/her to effectively perform the critical cognitive functions associated with the function/job of Call Centre Agent (CA).
- Integrity: Classic and proven qualities related to the construct of integrity – in general terms; whether in the personal, family, and social or work domain, with emphasis on the Call Centre.
- Work Ethic: Part of CIAS© (Composite Integrity Assessment Strategy) of differentiating between Good & Bad, in an ethical sense, in the world of work in general terms, but selected in accordance with the job requirements related to the Call Centre.
- Personality: Disposition & traits typical to a person – representing guiding/directing forces to determine behaviour in general but selected in accordance with the job requirements related to the Call Centre.
- Behaviour: Behavioural orientation as it established itself in the candidate in general terms and is not necessarily related to the concept of ‘Good vs Bad’ (in an ethical sense) or representing a specific skills-base per sé related to the job at hand, but, nevertheless selected in accordance to the job requirements related to the Call Centre.
- Competency: Capability, Proficiency, Expertise & Know-how learned, developed, and established which will assist the candidate to specifically perform the functions related to the job of Call Centre Agent effectively/better – i.e., Skills & Abilities related to the Call Centre.
What Does This Mean for the Assessment Practice?
Typically, organisations need to assess the level of competency of their call centre workforce on all of the above domains through a competency-based psychometric instrument, that delivers real-time reporting with the capability to determine in-house norms relevant to organisational performance expectations for both on-site and home office scenarios.
Considering the impact of environmental demands, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ascertain the level of comfort for a call centre workforce in adapting to an off-site, virtual service delivery environment. In this context, it is important for agents to display the necessary ability, motivation, skill, and knowledge to function effectively within a virtual workplace environment.
Given the expected increase in demand for home office call centre agents, it is, therefore, an additional requirement of psychometric assessments to provide employers with a view of their workforce profile to determine the feasibility of on-site versus home agent competency profile. As it turns out, there is nothing complicated about it. Explore our wide range of psychometric assessments in your call centre agent environment today.
Curious to assess your call centre agents and ensure they are ready for this disruption of the workplace? Request a demo now.
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