“Everyone in the company should work a week on the help desk so they understand the vital role of customer service agents.” – Hans Similon, Chief Viking Evangelist, Mobile Vikings
Hiring for customer service is easy, right?
You just hire friendly candidates who are good with people and there you have it – an award-winning customer service team. Problem solved.
Well…that’s what I used to think.
But turns out, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
At the recent Sparkcentral Customer Experience Summit, executives from major brands descended on a San Francisco art gallery to discuss everything customer-service related.
During the two-day conference, one of the main topics that kept coming up over and over again was hiring.
More specifically – hiring the RIGHT people for customer service.
Here are some of the surprising secrets they shared:
HIRE PEOPLE WITH A CUSTOMER-CENTRIC MINDSET
The candidate’s entire attitude towards the job needs to be focused on the customer. Whether or not they’ve ever worked in customer service before, they need to have the ability to see every interaction through the customer’s eyes, to relate to customers as human beings and to have a genuine interest in solving the customers’ problems.
HIRE FOR QUALITY NOT CONSISTENCY
Want your customer service agents to deliver quality customer service? Then you need to hire quality people who can ditch the script and give natural, well-thought out responses. You don’t want to give every customer the same, consistent corporate speak they’ve come to expect from customer service agents. Hire people who will surprise them by being smart, interested and human. These types of candidates need to be thinkers and problem solvers who can think through customer issues and provide solutions without relying on a script.
HIRE INTERNALLY FOR SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE
You want your best people on the front line for social. Social customer service agents are operating in a very public space and you can’t afford any slip-ups. Your best people already know your company and can give the type of quick, yet thorough responses that social customers expect. Trust our experts when they tell you that hiring a known entity for such a critical role will give you peace of mind.
LOOK FOR EXECUTIVE MATURITY
Josh Lowry probably explains it best in his Customer Think blog, Executive Maturity.
“Executive maturity involves managing emotions and relationships during periods of ambiguity, pressure and uncertainty. It involves representing multiple points-of-view without bias to reach the best conclusions. It also involves providing needed perspective or a voice of reason in difficult or contentious situations.”
Executive maturity goes beyond typical customer service skills. It requires a self-control and self-awareness that comes with emotional maturity rather than age.
HIRE BRAND EVANGELISTS
The ideal person for the job will be passionate about your brand. They may have used your products before or promoted you on social media. Sparkcentral has hired several employees who had used the product in previous jobs and who were already loyal brand advocates. Their genuine enthusiasm towards the brand goes a long way to establishing customer trust.
Finding the RIGHT person for customer service means looking beyond ordinary skills for something more extraordinary. Not every person is a good fit and it’s worth your time to search a little bit harder for the right candidate.
As we enter a channel-agnostic age where customer experience is becoming more important than product and price, the role of the customer service agent is more important than ever before.