Customer Experience News & Trends

4 crucial steps for hiring more customer service heroes

“Butts in seats” isn’t a viable recruiting tactic for customer service centers anymore. You need heroes who will rock the customer experience world. Here’s how to get them.

At one time, customer service center leaders focused on having warm bodies at desks ready to answer customer calls. Whether they could do it well or not didn’t matter as much because customer expectations were much lower.

Now, customers expect to speak with experts who can handle their queries in one contact and make them feel really good about doing business with that company.

How can you find service heroes like that? Try this four-step approach from Service Data Institute’s guide Recruit and Build the Right Team for Your Service Desk.

1.  Know your levels

Whether someone has left or you feel understaffed, a review of staffing levels will help you determine the real holes in your operations and the right niches to fill.

Work with senior staff to closely examine metrics that will show you contact volume, customer satisfaction, average hold time and length of interactions. Also look at absences to determine if there’s an absenteeism problem (not necessarily a need for more personnel).

This should give you the picture of what needs to be covered and who can best do it.

2. Write a better job description

A thorough and thoughtful job description will attract the right candidates. Make sure it includes:

  • Your company’s ethos — environment, attitude, work ethic, vision, morals, mentality, etc.
  • Your customers and their needs. That will help candidates decide if they’re skilled to help your customers.
  • Your technical musts. Let candidates know the systems they’ll use and/or support.
  • Expected qualifications. Explain the depth of knowledge, certification, education or experience that is a must.
  • Something interesting. Let candidates know unique things about your center that will intrigue them — or turn them off. To uncover those things, ask staffers and yourself what makes your place unique and what convinced them to take the job.

3. Filter applications

Filtering through a sea of applications is a long process, but these tips can help accelerate it and separate the wheat from the chaff.

  • Fact check. Ensure that experience or knowledge that’s claimed on paper is backed up by real-life evidence.
  • Look for concrete examples. For instance, “handled 100 calls per day” is stronger than “handled many calls per day.”
  • Pay attention to details. If an application or resume is disjointed and unorganized, you can guess that candidate’s work is, too. A well-organized, detailed, clear resume is a sign of a candidate whose work habits are the same.

4. Prepare for the interview

Avoid going into interviews rushed and unprepared. Instead:

  • Make a list of the skills that are essential for the job and another list of preferred skills. Examples: time-management, ability to work under pressure, self-motivation, patience, ability to diffuse conflict, confidence.
  • List questions that will help you uncover whether the candidates have the required skills. For instance, “Can you tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult customer?” Then ask the candidate to evaluate the situation and what he or she learned from it.
  • Sell your company, too. Remember that candidates are also evaluating you. Explain why yours is a good place to work and what benefits they’ll see. Give the full picture, too. Tell them about some drawbacks agents have expressed to you.

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