Service with a Smile
But after being put on hold and passed around to three different people, it's doubtful that a disgruntled customer is going to commiserate. Instead, valued policyholders expect to be greeted by someone with "lots of energy, belief in what they are selling and supporting and a respect for the people they are talking to," relates Diane Durken, president, Loyalty Factor LLC, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based consulting firm. "Customer reps must also anticipate the customer's personal and business needs and continuously listen for all of the facts."
But patience is a virtue that remains elusive for many. And it's difficult to gauge a candidate's boiling point at the time of interview. To help uncover some of the mystery, LOMA has created the LOMASelect Service Index, which measures not only whether a particular candidate has the aptitude for a role in the call center, but also if they'll enjoy the job. The test (which can be accessed at LOMA's Web site) was created through a mix of research and information attained during customer rep exit interviews, says Kruse.
LOMA was able to isolate the aspects of the call center job that are unique from other jobs in the insurance organization. After carefully exploring each of these dimensions, explains Kruse, LOMA determined that contact center reps must be comfortable when dealing with unfamiliarity because they have conversations with people they've never spoken to before.
The best candidates for these jobs would also be able to work at a rapid pace with others, as opposed to by themselves. And they would enjoy working in a structured environment that requires following procedure and policy, instead of adding a creative flair. Also, says Krane, those who enjoy turning work around quickly rather than spending time on long-term projects are best-suited for these types of jobs.
To help determine whether a candidate will enjoy work in the call center, the Service Index utilizes different questioning techniques and polls candidates on topics including work styles and profession preferences, explains Kruse. Although it sounds simple, beating this test is not so easy, contends Kruse, who relates that "these questions are asked in an indirect way so candidates don't know what we are trying to get at."