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Can your agents sense emotions on the phone?

Posted on Nov 19 2009
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Recruitment and training is an expensive business for call centre operators; it typically costs an organisation between £5-7k to hire and train a single call-taker. Some organisations report losing four out of five recruits by the six-month point. Any low-cost and efficient way to sift out the inappropriate hire can save even the medium-sized operator millions of pounds every year.

Dr Furey and his team have devised a 5-minute, interactive, audio-based online test that enables employers to simultaneously screen large numbers of candidates for their ability to correctly identify the emotions of callers. The system gives feedback on the proportion and types of emotion that each respondent was or was not able to identify during ‘the call’ so that both the assessors and the individual being tested can get a very quick estimate of their capacity for handling emotional callers.

Dr Furey: “An organisation which depends on the telephone to conduct its customer relationships must be sure that its agents know how to quickly tune into the emotions behind the voice at the other end of the line – especially when something has gone wrong with the service or product. Without an emotions-based relationship an organisation cannot hope to keep customers with good products alone – there are loads of those. How feelings are treated in the customer-supplier relationship is the real differentiator”.

Organisations currently use role-play to simulate typical emotional situations so that they can watch and grade their candidates in action. Dr Furey: “This is terribly time consuming and therefore expensive. The candidate is already in the building taking up HR and management time. The financial damage has been partially done.” Using the Original Empathy Test an organisation can quickly screen any number of candidates for the price of a cup of coffee and a biscuit without tying up the valuable resources required for conducting old-style role-plays and interviews



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