Eval of Two New Methods for Selecting CSR_With Answers

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Evaluating Two New Assessment Methods for Selecting Customer Service Representatives The Phonemin Company is a distributor of men's and women's casual clothing. It sells exclusively through its merchandise catalog, which is published four times per year to coincide with seasonal changes in customers' apparel tastes. Customers may order merchandise from the catalog via mail or over the phone. Currently, 70% of orders are phone orders, and the organization expects this to increase to 85% within the next few years. The success of the organization is obviously very dependent on the success of the telephone ordering system and the customer service representatives (CSRs) who staff the system. There are currently 185 CSRs; that number should increase to about 225 CSRs to handle the anticipated growth in phone order sales. Though the CSRs are trained to use standardized methods and procedures for handling phone orders, there are still seemingly large differences among them in their job performance. The CSRs' performance is routinely measured in terms of error rate, speed of order taking, and customer complaints. The top 25% and lowest 25% of performers on each of these measures differ by a factor of at least three (e.g., the error rate of the lowest group is three times as high as that of the top group). Strategically, the organization knows that it could enhance CSR performance (and ultimately sales) substantially if it could improve its staffing "batting average" by more accurately identifying and hiring new CSRs who are likely to be top performers. A special job analysis led to the identification of several specific KSAOs likely to be necessary for successful performance as a CSR. Three of these (clerical speed, clerical accuracy, interpersonal skills) were singled out for further consideration because of their seemingly high impact on job performance. Two new methods of assessment, provided by the consulting firm, were chosen for experimentation. The first was a paper-and-pencil clerical test assessing clerical speed and accuracy. It was a 50-item test with a 30-minute time limit. The second
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  • Spring '14
  • clerical test, Phonemin, work sample

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