Do you agree that exceptional customer service begins with the hiring process? Having the right people on board to do the customer service job is the first step towards delivering outstanding customer service at your business. Akio Morita, Sony Corp. co-founder once brilliantly said: “No matter how good or successful you are, or how clever or crafty, your business and its future are in the hands of the people you hire.” But how do you find the best customer service talents and, most importantly, how do you know if they are actually the right people for representing your brand and serving your customers effectively?
Challenges and Hiring Pains
Hunting for customer service people is no simple task. Too often, the goal of a company is to simply fill a position rather than actually find the right person. Besides, sometimes the people with the right qualifications, experience and skill set do not have the right attitude and mindset to blend in with your team and match your business goals.
Moreover, great service stars can be found in all business areas. If you narrow your search and focus on a specific education background, particular industry or a certain number of years of experience, you might miss out on many potentially great candidates. A resume will only show the previous experience but won’t tell you anything about their personalities.
Forget the Resume, Focus on the Interview
When you hire for customer service, interviewing people is the key to understanding who they really are. The interview should be an audition, the time for your potential candidates to open up and let their personality shine. For instance, at Four Seasons, candidates go through at least four interviews so that managers could find the most appropriate people to deliver great customer service at their organization.
The Ideal Candidate for Customer Service Positions
Sometimes we’re getting too obsessed with hiring a ‘perfect’ candidate. But in fact, it’s nearly impossible to find an ideal candidate because: a) they are already working in other companies; b) you won’t be able to identify them based only on the resume and interview. The good news is: there’s no need to chase for perfection. The most important thing is to know what to look for in your potential candidates and keep that in mind during the interview while asking your questions and analyzing the answers. Here’s some tips to help you along the way.
Tip #1: Hire excellent communicators
Customer service is a people-focused job. Great customer service is all about creating personal, positive connections in daily interactions with customers. That’s why excellent communication skills are a must for customer-focused positions: effective communication creates better relationships and builds trust.
Tip #2: Hire good ears
In customer service, being a great listener is the key to understanding customer’s needs, wants and concerns, especially when dealing with angry customers. A good listener will be able to ask the right questions and figure out the real issue behind customer’s frustration in order to offer the best solution.
Tip #3: Hire team players
Serving customers, especially in large-scale organizations, requires effective teamwork. Team players will build fast and strong rapport with all the team members and will be comfortable working in a collaborative environment with colleagues, management and even customers.
Tip #4: Hire the leaders
Leaders are not only great examples for other team members to follow, they are also excellent problem solvers, responsibility takers and decision makers. Leadership skills are critical in complicated situations when a customer expects someone to take the wheel and offer them a quick and efficient solution.
Tip #5: Hire the right mindset
To effectively serve your customers, a person needs to have a mindset of service, which is not only being always ready to serve others but rather a willingness to go the extra mile for creating a truly positive and memorable customer experiences and making customers happy.
Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills
Customer service people are the face of your brand, and they can actually make or break your company reputation. Once found and hired, you need to put enough effort into regular trainings to make sure they not only perfectly know your products or services, but are also able to serve your customers efficiently while showing the highest level of professionalism.
When you invest in finding great customer service people and training them to be even better, you give your team the best opportunity to grow and succeed within your organization. It will pay you many times over in the long run. Remember, the right people who are able to deliver a truly outstanding service create loyal customers, referrals and the long-term success of your business.
What is your policy for hiring customer service people? Feel free to share!
Provide Support is a leading software provider in customer service, offering live chat and real-time visitor monitoring tool for businesses: www.ProvideSupport.com