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How to Hire the Best Customer Service Team Member
a man wearing a suit and tie with the words how to hire the best customer service team member

We’ve all been there, you call a customer service center and get on the phone with a representative and this person has one of the followings attitudes: low energy, angry, rude or they may be the one person who knows nothing about their product or company policies. They might even be the customer service rep that does not know how to direct you into the right department or has no clue as to the solution to your problem. In the end you are frustrated and unhappy with the experience.

Companies have discovered that customer service is one of the most important aspects of getting consumers to utilize your company or product. Having a great customer service team is essential to achieve the goals of your company.

Good customer service members are one of the many important parts of running a good, successful company. These members are necessary to gain a good customer base and grow as a top company. This is an important component in making your company run like a ‘well oiled machine’.

Having bad customer service representatives is a hindrance to not only your product, but to your company as a whole. You run the risk of losing not only your consumers, but having to replace those people who won’t work out for your company in the end. This makes it a hassle, as the process is costly and time consuming. It puts a dent on your productivity and revenue.

For your company to have successful customer service, you need the right tools and the right members to join your team. Remember, to be successful as a company you need the right people.

Finding the right team member

To provide good customer service, you need the best candidates out there. We know you are seeking great applicants to make sure your options are desirable.  Finding the right person to meet all the customers expectations, of “going above and beyond”, is a difficult task. Such individuals are dedicated to making sure that your consumers will have the best customer experience of their lives. This is not an easy task, as finding just the right people with the qualities necessary can take some effort. But it’s important! These are some of the qualities you want to  in an employee:

Clear Communication Skills

Let’s face it, in this economy everyone is looking for a job that pays. But not everyone is qualified. You need candidates that can perform the skills needed and be a good addition to your company. Clear communication skills are important assets to look for in an employee, as they have to deal with customers on a daily basis.

Interpreting Tone – Find someone that can identify any customer situation properly. Whether this is in person, on the phone, through social media, etc. They need this skill to read the customer’s tone. Understanding tone will tell you if the customer is angry, frustrated, or even if they’re running a scam.

Clear Verbal Communication– As modern technology has taken over our lives, listening and writing skills seem to be lost. Listening is essential as an employee. They need to understand the customer’s problem and be able to give them a solution. Having the ability to engage in a conversation with the customers that is one part problem solving, one part empathy and listening is a must. Good grammar is also a needed skill. You can infer a lot from someone’s resume. Do they use proper punctuation and spelling? When you speak to them, do they communicate clearly and professionally?

You don’t need someone with an english degree, but having an employee with good writing skills is necessary.

Positive Attitude

Having an employee with a positive attitude in the workplace is a must. They should be friendly, respectful, and professional. Having an employee that can’t control their emotions can completely change the mood in the workplace. It will also affect the way your employee handles the customers. You need people that know how to handle their emotions the right way. A positive attitude can change the mood of the customer, as it can be contagious.

It’s tricky to tell if a candidate will be able to handle stress well, or if they can get along with other employees well since all you will likely have is their resume and a few interviews to make a decision. Don’t discredit your intuition. There is usually a reason someone gives you a bad ‘vibe’. There are multiple journals and studies that show gut instinct is usually your brain making logical deductions that your conscious mind knows nothing about.

Positive mindset-  You need someone with a positive mentality and that is emotionally stable. No matter the situation, they know the proper and socially acceptable way to react. This is important, as they will likely deal with difficult customers at least a few times on the frontlines of customer service. They will view difficult tasks as an opportunity to challenge themselves.

Integrity-  In this day and age it seem like integrity has been lost. Or that people don’t take their job serious anymore. It’s well known that millennials stay at a job for only an average of 2 years before moving on. What we’ve found though, is that if you make their job and environment enjoyable and give them respect, they will stay and put their effort into your company.

This isn’t to say you don’t need to be careful. It’s imperative you find candidates with a good work ethic. Honesty and trustworthiness is also part of integrity. If you can’t trust your people with the task or the customers you hand off to them, then you wasted your time training a candidate.

On the flip side, you need to be willing to give that trust. Even though you are in a work environment, management / employee relationships are still something that needs to be worked on and tended to. If you want your employees to trust you and work hard for you, you must trust them and be in the trenches right along side them. The Harvard Business Reviews states:

‘We have explored the dynamics of the trusting relationship between managers and their employees for over 10 years in multiple organizations and hundreds of manager-employee pairs. Research that we and others have conducted offers evidence of the ripple effects of a manager-employee trust gap. Employees who are less trusted by their manager exert less effort, are less productive, and are more likely to leave the organization. Employees who do feel trusted are higher performers and exert extra effort, going above and beyond role expectations. Plus, when employees feel their supervisors trust them to get key tasks done, they have greater confidence in the workplace and perform at a higher level.’

Detail Oriented – Detail oriented employees are important in the workplace, as they have a good eye for the smallest details. As many know, it’s the small details that can make the difference between mediocre and amazing. They will stop at nothing to understand the problem and find the solution. They are meticulous in all they do, even knowing the appropriate terms for almost all issues. This is important in customer service as they need to be aware of the smallest or specific fine points so the customer can get the help they need.

To get clues on whether or not your candidate is detail oriented, look at their resume and the process they took to get to the interview. Did they research your company and can show they know about you? Did they provide a cover letter if instructed? Did they follow the directions in the want ad? Make sure to pay attention.

Attentive- These employees pay close attention to the task given to the them. They find the smallest and most overlook problem.  They explore all avenues to solve whatever the problem is.

Focus- Working with customers is intense work. You need people that are able to stay focused no matter how hard the task is. Especially when helping someone on the phone. Many times, they will need to speak with elderly customers, or customers who are not tech savvy. They will need to work through issues with them that may take an extended time to fix.

To find focused candidates, look at their work history. Have they excelled in positions that included meticulous work? Do they have any certifications in areas that require lots of research, study, or patience?

Tech Savvy

As the business world continues to evolve, customer service has evolved with it. As technology advances, so does customer service. People don’t have the need to go to the store to get merchandise anymore. They can buy online. That means you also need to change the way customer service is done. Knowing all the ways people will review your product and company.

Social Media Capable- Let’s be honest! you need people that know how deal with the way customer do their shopping. The new way is social media marketing. You need employees to be able to keep track of how the social aspect of your company is run. This helps them be up to date on your company’s culture and ‘feel’.

They may even have to communicate with your customers on these platforms. If so, make sure they have experience on social media, and how each profile works.

Willingness to learn

As online shopping continues to grow, so does the way consumers views the idea of customer service. Customers now look online to reviews before they buy any products. You as an employer need candidates that are open to the idea of learning.

Adaptability- You are looking for people that can grow with the times. Candidates need to be willing to learn whatever new technological software or policies your company implements. To ensure they are adaptable, think about asking them about a time in their work history where processes change and how they tackled this change.

Flexible- Flexibility is important, as you need people that are willing to accept whatever changes you as an employer have to make. In this growing market, where you need to make changes to reinvent your brand. You need a team that is willing to go through these changes with little pain.

There is no specific guideline into finding the right team member. But employers need to remember that it’s a tough market out there and the way customer service is done will continue to change. You will lose customers if you pick the wrong candidates. It is important that you make sure the people you hire are ready for the stress that comes with customer service. Testing their knowledge and how they respond to new things is a great way to start.

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