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Contact Centres

April - June 2016

For the second quarter in a row we are seeing a huge surge in contact centre recruitment in line with the release of new products and services from big 4 banks.

Temporary roles continue to become permanent since there are few experienced customer service officers who are willing to remain in temporary roles long-term.

Senior roles are bucking this trend and typically remain contract based. Employers want a senior professional who can train and develop current staff and ensure consultants meet and exceed KPI’s. Candidates must also have experience in offshore contact centres and customer service centres.

In other trends, the banking sector remains focused on gender diversity and employers request a shortlist for senior leadership roles that contains female candidates. Given the focus on diversity, employers are promoting flexibility and are looking at how they can attract strong female leaders.

We have also seen an increase in the mandatory testing of temporary call centre candidates in the banking sector. 

Skills in demand

In terms of skills in demand for the April to June quarter, Business Analysts are sought in certain states to help identify gaps in customer service offerings as well as to make improvements and merge a number of functions. Strong BAs are needed ahead of a change being implemented to help map the way forward.

Improvement Specialists remain in demand to help call centres make these changes.

Quality Sales Managers continue to be needed. Vacancies are constantly being created in the fast-paced, high volume cold calling environment because of either poaching by competitors or turnover as Sales Managers leave the call centre sector.

Customer Service Consultant tenure is typically about three years before an employee moves up or out of the organisation, creating the need for constant hiring for this role. We have also seen growth in the customer service functions of many businesses, which is creating further hiring demand.

Quality Outbound Sales Consultants present a retention challenge for employers. Hence we see constant recruitment demand for these professionals. A large proportion of outbound sales roles are commission-only, making retention and attraction a challenge for most organisations.

Melbourne-based Inbound Customer Service Advisors are still required by Big 4 firms to support customer projects and products that have been launched.

Collections Agents are in demand too, but are expected to adopt a new approach when dealing with debtors. In line with legal and compliance changes, many financial services firms continue to look for customer service collections agents rather than typical debt collectors. This is still new territory for many candidates.

Candidate trends

Assessment centres are still used in the recruitment process since they allow an employer to hire a large number of people in a short timeframe. For candidates, this provides you with an opportunity to get your personality across. In addition, many assessment centres include one or more team activities, which allow you to meet others and see firsthand the culture of the team.

In other trends, more contact centres professionals are looking for a role closer to home and are less willing to travel to outer suburbs. They also look for a role with progression potential and some even want a role that offers a defined progression ladder over a short time frame.

More candidates are willing to consider temporary roles as they are aware that employers often prefer this method of employment. It also provides them with an opportunity to broaden their experience and break into new industries.

The shortage of sales professionals continues, with fewer people considering such roles. Those who are proven sales performers often receive multiple offers.

In a final trend, people are increasingly undertaking short courses in order to increase their skills offering. This includes in the Microsoft suite as well as social media. This gives candidates more credibility and a better chance of securing a role.

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