It takes a certain type of person to provide the highest level of service to your customers. However, how do you know whether the applicant sitting across the desk from you is that kind of person?
The hiring process is where your customer service begins. If you hire carefully, you are more likely to staff your office with people who enjoy working with customers and will stay with your organization for years to come. Implement these tips to help you hire customer service representatives that will reap good results.
Begin on the Phone
If your customer service representatives spend a significant amount of time on the phone with your customers, begin the hiring process with an extensive phone interview with prospective candidates. If the applicant has a winning phone personality and is able to answer your initial questions in a positive, concise manner, it is probably worth calling them in for a face-to-face interview.
What to Incorporate in the Interview
If you have never been properly trained in the fine art of interviewing, it is worth the time and money to invest in a class on this subject. The more effective your interviewing skills are, the more likely you will be to hire stellar customer service staff the first time around. Once you are properly prepared for your interviews, here are a few key components to include:
- Ask the applicant for their definition of customer service to determine if the person has a complete understanding of their role in the company.
- Present a messy customer service scenario and ask the applicant how they would handle it.
- Use a filtering test either online or manually to determine a person's aptitude for customer service.
- Watch for hidden attitudes, words or facial expressions that might indicate the applicant does not have the patience or empathy to work in customer service.
Qualities to Look For
Once you bring in an applicant for an interview, there are a few specific qualities to look for:
- People Interaction – Look for applicants who seem to enjoy interacting with other people, whether on the phone or in person.
- Customer Focus – Great customer service representatives are always able to see situations from the other person's point of view.
- Flexibility – Customer service is an ever-changing job, and your employees must be ready and willing to wear a number of hats in any given situation.
- Desire to Learn – The best customer service representatives head to work wanting to learn something new each day.
- Consistency – Although customer service representatives must be flexible, they must also be consistent in terms of the standards they uphold and the level of work they do.
- Accountability – Customer service representatives are not afraid to shoulder the responsibility of customer satisfaction and will not be inclined to "pass the buck" when things go wrong.
- Teamwork – Customer service representatives should be team players, utilizing the expertise of the entire staff to provide the highest quality of service possible.
By approaching the hiring process in a methodical, thoughtful way, you will be more likely to find the best customer service representatives for the job. Hiring quality people in the beginning will reap great rewards in terms of staff retention and customer satisfaction.
- Meredith Estep