Off Center
 
Contact center managers have been clamoring for more surefire hiring methods for years. They have lost faith in traditional hiring tactics like telephone pre-screenings, personality tests and live interviews – complaining that such tactics provide little insight into whether or not a candidate will remain committed to customer care and a life of poverty.

Great news: A team of top-notch doctors and psychiatrists recently developed a contact center-specific medical exam that promises to revolutionize agent hiring and retention. Following is a detailed description of each test that makes up the exam:


disStress Test. This is somewhat similar to the traditional stress test used by many physicians, but instead of placing agent candidates on a treadmill to evaluate their cardiovascular condition, they are put in a room with a phone and then sent 100 customer calls in 60 minutes.

Candidates who handle between 70-100 calls before losing consciousness should be hired by the contact center immediately. Those who handle between 40-70 calls before losing consciousness should be kept for further testing. Those who handle between 1-40 calls should be rejected immediately. And those who refuse to take even a single call should be placed on the company’s “executive training” track.


Electro-mail-ogram. This test is similar to the more familiar electromyogram, but where the latter features the sticking of painful electric needles into the candidate’s muscles to test for degenerative tissue/nerves, the former features the sticking of painful electric needles into the candidate’s frontal lobe to test for degenerative spelling/grammar. After each EMG, managers receive a full diagnostic report on the candidate’s written communication skills – including a ranking of each candidate from 1-10, with 10 being “masterful wordsmith” and 1 being “college graduate.”

The test is absolutely essential for contact centers in need of e-support agents who will be able to effectively handle customer email. It’s also good for contact centers that enjoy making their applicants cry.


CHAT scan. Not to be confused with a CAT scan, which provides a highly detailed computerized image of a subject’s brain and inter-cranial fascia, a CHAT scan provides a highly detailed computerized image of a subject’s wrist and fingers. The latter test determines whether or not an agent candidate has the proper carpal/metacarpal makeup to succeed in the physically demanding and fast-paced web chat environment. Specifically, the test reveals if there is any existing or potential weakness/abnormalities in any of the muscles and tendons needed for rapid typing or for flicking off managers when their back is turned.

A thorough CHAT scan will also identify if a candidate’s wrist/hand strength is overly excessive. Such brute strength can be a detriment to e-support efficiency, as the agent will be less likely to focus on chat sessions and more likely to focus on trying to remove the shackles that confine him to his workstation.


Rep-lex Test. Just like a reflex test, only completely different. Where a reflex test features the tapping of the patient’s patella tendon to see if they respond with an involuntary kick, a Rep-lex test features the flashing of the phrase “200 calls in queue” across a readerboard to see if the agent candidate responds with a panic attack. Such a traumatic response shows that the candidate truly takes customer care to heart. If, instead of the desired panic attack, a candidate responds by yawning or taking a book out and reading calmly, it’s best to eliminate the candidate from the running, or, if yours is a software support contact center, hiring them as a senior agent.


Flex-ray. This is like an X-ray, but focuses only on the patient’s spinal column. A typical Flex-ray test measures the flexibility of the spine and determines whether or not the candidate is likely to bend over completely backward for the contact center.

Candidates with abnormally rigid vertebrae should not be considered for contact center work, unless of course the company is in need of a scheduler. The ideal is to find candidates with virtually no backbone to speak of, as such individuals are not only easy to boss around, they are able to scrunch up enough to work in cubicles as small as 2’ x 2’, thus saving the company thousands of dollars in facility expenses.



NOTE: No contact center agents were harmed in the making of this blog post. The same will not be said if you actually end up using the medical exam Greg has described. 

Laura Grimes
10/13/2011 10:28:27 pm

Thanks for the humorous reminder of how much we really do expect of our agents. But where is the calleroscopy - it is that all important test for tenured agents to ensure that they remain engaged!

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10/13/2011 10:38:00 pm

You're welcome, Laura -- and thanks for the nice addition. I'll recommend it be incorporated into the medical exam immediately.

Best,

Greg

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10/13/2011 11:46:05 pm

Finaly help from science in agent selection. No more horrible interviews with agents and actually having to listen to them :D

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10/14/2011 12:40:14 am

Always happy to help, Peter. As you can tell, I don't joke around when it comes to agent assessment/selection.

Thanks for reading!

-Greg

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10/14/2011 02:01:49 am

Greg, You need to get the name of Kate Nasser's eye doctor from her recent Customer Experience post. Given that this Dr designed their own eye chart and tells patients she keeps their info for the government, she would be an excellent Assessment Czar for your program. Loved your post.

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10/14/2011 02:08:17 am

I don't know, Melissa, I think that the agent medical exam I described needs to be overseen by a real doctor -- the kind that doesn't just blow puffs of air into your eye.

Have Kate's optometrist submit a resume, but it's doubtful he'll/she'll be selected.

Enjoy your weekend!

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9/27/2012 07:01:20 pm

Very nice it is educational and inspired blog. This is something I was searching for many days. Thanks a lot

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