More than any other place on Earth, it is our society that is best known for demanding superb customer service. How can a company ensure that their customer service staff meets that standard? The secret lies in equal measures of effectiveness and efficiency in hiring practices. With the sheer volume of applicants applying for customer service jobs, companies must have a strategy in place for finding qualified candidates.
Here are five practical steps for recruiting ideal customer service teams:
Optimize your hiring process
Design and implement a multi-layered hiring process to ensure that only the best candidates make it through to the final selection.
- Provide an effective and cost-efficient online interface that accepts applications and evaluates initial screening according to low-level criteria.
- Test in-depth analysis of attitudes and behaviors done with a software interface. This method produces a high degree of accuracy in its results because each characteristic is confirmed through several different questions.
- After initial screenings, only qualified candidates should be invited for in-person interviews.
Clearly define what is needed for success
This definition will serve as a measuring stick for prospective employees and subsequent employee evaluations. A comprehensive job description is also very important when addressing legal concerns. Job descriptions must provide complete answers to these questions, among others:
- What specific tasks need to be performed?
- What level of knowledge is required?
- What are the key performance indicators for this position?
- What are the characteristics of the working environment?
Define your ideal employee
Use the job description to develop a persona – like a character in a movie – that embodies the perfect employee. Name the skills, abilities and knowledge that this person possesses. When conducting in-person interviews, use these persona descriptions to determine if each candidate is a good fit for the position and the organization.
Test candidates with practice scenarios
See how candidates handle the types of situations that occur most often. If dealing with irate customers will be part of the job, have candidates demonstrate their instinctive abilities to manage these types of calls.
Provide comprehensive training
From the C-suite to the service technicians, every organization should project a consistent image. The tone and content of every message should conform to one standard because these impressions are long-lasting. It is very important that each and every representative that deals with customers receives training on the company’s messaging strategies in theory and practice.
It takes a special kind of person to answer a call from an irate customer, take time to understand his concern, reframe it, de-escalate the situation, and resolve the conflict. There are always limitations to what can be done to appease customers. Skilled customer service representatives protect the company’s reputation, engender customer loyalty, and end every call with a smile.
Many organizations have simply accepted high attrition rates as part of doing business in the customer service field. However, if they were to see how much that attrition costs them overall, they would realize the importance of implementing a sound selection process.