In mapping the customer journey, the contact center is unquestionably a critical customer touch point, essential to carrying the brand promise and delivering a positive customer experience, placing an emphasis on effective recruiting for your contact center.
The challenge, of course, is in determining which characteristics best enable an agent to make that real human connection. In our outsourced contact center environment, we recruit agents who can accurately embody the brand of our clients, who are best able to give a great customer experience, and who have the best abilities and aptitudes to use the systems and tools of our trade. This means we precisely define agent profiles for each project, and then recruit and train every agent accordingly. There are obvious qualities, like good communication skills, but a truly effective agent is more complex than that.After all, the contact center is where the customer can almost always “talk to a real person.” Being able to make a real human connection with your customer through the phone, chat tool, social media, or email is no easy task.
Interestingly – but maybe not surprisingly – there is often a direct correlation between highly successful agents for certain contact center solutions like tech support and a passion for gaming. Upon digging some more, we came across some studies finding that many gamers share identical qualities to those of high performing agents.
Characteristics of Great Agents
ContactBabel, a contact center analysis company, publishes an annual US Contact Center Decision-Makers’ Guide. Their 2014 study reports on interviews from 204 contact center managers and directors across the industry about the top characteristics of contact center agents.
Understandably, “empathy” topped the list. However, the following were also important:
• Ability to multitask
• Complex technical or product knowledge
• Team player
• Ability to work under stress
• Strong verbal communication skills
• Ability to deal with repetitive tasks
While that list was compiled after observing effective contact center agents, it could just as easily be a list of what it takes to be a successful online or computer gamer. Although no two gamers are exactly alike – just as a tech support contact center differs from an online retail or roadside assistance contact center – most gamers share some common characteristics.
Gaming has come a long way since the days of “Pong,” in which players essentially move a “paddle” up and down one side of the screen in order to play a digital version of table tennis. The most popular games today – games such as “League of Legends,” “World of Warcraft,” “Minecraft,” “Call of Duty,” etc. – are multi-player, interactive and plot-driven adventures with increasing levels of complexity as the game progresses. Players monitor many systems at once, pursuing both long-term and short-term objectives.
So gamers become master multitaskers. They often play in teams and maintain continual communication, requiring gamers to be both team players and great communicators. And, if you’ve ever played or even watched people play through the windows of a GameStop or Best Buy, you know that games today are fast-paced and high-stress, alternating ever-changing challenges with a host of requisite, repetitive tasks.
Furthermore, many qualities of gamers uncannily resemble those of professional athletes. BBC Radio 4 produced a special called “The eSportsmen” in which they examined these similar qualities, which, except for physical fitness, included the following:
• Extreme competitiveness
• Highly skilled
• Able to work with strict rules
• Able to regulate anxiety
• Very, very fast reaction time
Sounds a lot like successful characteristics of contact center agents, doesn’t it?
Gamer Agents in Practice
Every time a customer interacts with the contact center, the “real person” they connect with becomes the voice of your brand. The quality of this experience has an unparalleled influence on the customers’ perception of your company, product or service. That is why hiring contact center agents with the right qualities is absolutely essential.
At Blue Ocean, our first priority is finding smart, capable people who will deliver extraordinary service experiences. We have been continually refining our recruitment process and quality assurance programs for nearly 20 years, and now they are among the most rigorous in the business. Not surprisingly, many of the individuals who have made it through the process and gone on to become the some of the most reliable and competent contact center agents are also enthusiastic gamers.
If you are interested in finding the right agents – or the right contact center partner – give us a call!