Recruit Top Agents, Lower Attrition with Language Testing

Cory Bennett

Pearson, an education and testing company, has made an impact in the contact center world with its VersantTM technology, a spoken and written language testing system. Recruitment and HR departments around the world have adopted Pearson’s technology to create efficiencies in agent recruitment.

Mark Engelter, Pearson’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Knowledge Technologies, was onsite at the recent 12th Annual Call Center Week. CMIQ caught up with him to talk about the emerging global locations demanding English language tests for agents, the new languages contact centers are looking for in agents, how to test language skills for multiple channels and the postitive effect upfront testing can have on ROI.

"We started out in the core big offshore markets – India and the Philippines. Now we’re seeing new interest and growth in Latin America," Engelter said.

Engelter also pointed to demand in other areas less heralded than Latin America, which is commonly cited as an emerging call center market for American companies.

There’s a "new interesting multi-language interest in Europe and North Africa," he said.

While Pearson’s language tests initially screened only for spoken language, the tests have moved into written language recently as the demand for agents talented in multiple channels grows. Engelter discussed the different ways to measure agent’s oral abilities from their abilities on paper.

Speaking tests looks at verbal abilities like fluidity and proper pronunciation, Engelter explained. Writing tests example structural things like organization and sentence structure.

Testing agents upfront has helped companies more cost effectively shift through thousands of applicants each week, lowered agent attrition and thus training costs.

Listen to the full podcast to hear Engelter go into depth on the emerging contact center markets and the affect language testing can have on ROI.