Good customer service reps don't come along everyday.
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Companies with the highest levels of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty are diligent about recruiting the best customer service agents.
In today's job market, finding applicants who are eager to work in your call center shouldn't be difficult. But how do you go about hiring a good customer service rep? More often than not, the key is to identify candidates with the personality traits that are required to survive the pressures of a demanding customer service environment.
Companies base their customer service recruitment efforts on a variety of hiring criteria. But a long customer service track record can't compensate for a customer service hire who lacks the proper disposition for the job. Here are a few things we think every small business should consider when hiring customer service reps.
- Attitude vs. skills. What influences your hiring decision the most – attitude or skills? If you're smart, you'll hire based on the worker's attitude and personality traits rather than their specific customer service skills. Remember: You can teach employee skills, but you're stuck with whatever personality you employ.
- Flexibility. Good customer service reps are experts at adapting to new situations and unforeseen circumstances. There is no way of knowing what the next customer call will bring. It could be anything from a simple question to an irate customer unleashing an avalanche of verbal abuse. Either way, your hire needs to be prepared to respond appropriately.
- Resourcefulness. The best customer service agents are highly creative. Although you don't want workers who routinely exceed call center policies and procedures, you should focus your hiring efforts on candidates with a track record of resourcefulness and creative problem solving experience.
- Ability to communicate. An interview can be an effective gauge of a customer service applicant's ability to communicate. But the best communicators may not be the most articulate ones. During the interview process, you will also need to evaluate the candidate's listening capacity, i.e. their ability to actively hear customer concerns.
- Professionalism. Regardless of the size of your customer service department, you need to hire individuals with a professional outlook on customer service. During the recruiting period, make it clear that non-professional job seekers need not apply.