Hiring and Managing Customer Service Staff

Attributes of a Good Customer Service Agent

What are the attributes of a good customer service agent that you should look for when hiring customer service staff? Here are a few attributes we think should be at the top of your list.

Your call center is severely understaffed and you need workers yesterday.

Your company's recruitment efforts have resulted in a stack of resumes and applications, but selecting qualified candidates is proving to be more difficult than you anticipated. What are the attributes of a good customer service agent, anyway?

Great customer service reps come from all walks of life. A background in customer service doesn't necessarily guarantee a successful employment experience. To hire the right agents, you'll need to expand your search parameters to include applicants with a specific set of qualifications and personality traits.

Although customer service skills are useful, it's important to remember that it's a lot easier to teach an employee a new skill than it is to correct a bad attitude. That's why we think these should be some of the most important attributes to look for in a customer service hire.

  • Customer focus. Ineffective customer service reps center their efforts around workplace distractions. But a great customer service agent understands that the customer is their sole focus and orients their activities toward customer satisfaction.
  • Good listener. You simply can't ignore the reality that good customer service reps are also good listeners. Call center employees who are unwilling or unable to listen to your customers with empathy and clarity will be a recurring source of conflict for your company.
  • Proactive problem-solver. Customer service reps need to be able to resolve customer complaints and issues with a minimal amount of assistance from managers. Armed with a working knowledge of call center policies, successful agents find creative ways to produce satisfied customers.
  • Team player. Although it may seem like a solitary job activity, customer service is a team-based job function and good customer service reps know how to work in coordination with other team members as well as management.
  • Professional self-perception. The most important attribute of a good customer service agent may be a professional self-perception. Call center employees who view themselves as glorified assistants or general office staff don't take the job seriously, while professional workers go above and beyond to achieve total customer satisfaction.

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