It is a proven fact that exceptional customer service can be achieved by adopting the right hiring process. Having the right people on board in the customer service team is the first step to delivering outstanding services to your customers. Customer experiences are defined by the quality and skill of the support they receive and if you do not constantly work towards improving your customer service, customer relationships can stagnate. But how do you look for the right talent to fill customer service agent positions and how do you know if the hired employees are the right individuals for representing your brand and your business. Even after you procure the right talent, how can you ensure they deliver high-quality services throughout the customer journey? This blog offers the answers to all these questions and gives tips on how to build a strong and effective customer service team.
Customer Service Challenges
Hiring for customer service is a challenging task and most often, companies just fill the positions rather than find the perfect fit. Moreover, some candidates may have the right skills and qualifications but the wrong attitude that may make them a misfit in your team and mismatch to your business goals.
Moreover, if you narrow down your search to focus on a specific industry or an educational background, you may miss good candidates in other business areas. And a resume is just an indicator of education and experience but will not throw light on the overall personality of the candidate.
Tips to hire the right people for your customer service team
Hiring the right individuals for your customer-facing roles and setting them to succeed in them is crucial for your long-term organizational success. Here are the main tips to choose the best people and build a strong and effective customer service team.
1. Define the skills the ideal candidate requires
Consider the kind of role you are filling and make a list of skills to hire for. You must answer the following questions:
What skills do customer service professionals need in general? -What are the core skills and attributes that a good customer service agent must possess?
What skills does the specific role you are hiring for entail? -Are there any specific technical skills, product, or domain knowledge necessary to succeed in the customer service role.
What are the non-critical skills and experiences that are nice to have – Through hiring, you strive to find an individual who can bring in a fresh and positive perspective to your team. Separating the skills that you would like to see but not crucial will help you narrow down your applicant list.
2. Create an attractive job-description
Creating a captivating job description and getting it in front of the intended audience takes great effort but is worthwhile, especially if your brand does not yet have amplified reach. A job description is a marketing tool where you are selling your role to the candidates to who you want to apply.
The job description must have a clear job title that is precise, clear, direct, and aligned with similar roles in your company. It must be gender-neutral, inclusive, and directed towards a diverse population.
3. Ensure that your job is posted in the right places
Mass marketing of job vacancies may get you many applications but not certainly good fits. Focus on specialized job portals and job boards. They may have smaller audiences but they will directly reach the prospective candidates. You can expand beyond your current network by direct outreach to increase the diversity in the talent pool.
4. Evaluate applications in-depth
Evaluate and screen the applications to narrow down the most appropriate candidates for the position. Ask simple questions and request a cover letter to understand the intentions and commitment of the candidate.
5. Conduct planned interviews and mock tests
Once you have filtered the applicants, you must set up some well-planned interviews. The questions must be designed to help identify individuals who understand the role of customer service positions aligned with the business goals.
You can also test their communication and problem-solving skills by making them face real-life scenarios and solve tough customer questions.
6. Onboard the new team member
Once you have chosen your new hire, the next step is onboarding them. You must enable them to understand your business, customers, products, and services. They must be exposed to required information about your customer service values, processes, and pain points.
How to effectively train your customer service staff
Customer service training can be offered to different levels of employees that can be applied to different situations. Specific training methods will vary depending upon the situation.
1. New Hire Training
The first few months of the employee training will focus on building acquaintance with the team, learning to work together, establishing expectations, introducing products and services, and setting up the tools. You can prepare a training guide that outlines the training activities and plans for the new hire.
2. Quarterly or Annual training
Periodic quarterly or annual training is a must for all your customer service staff. This training process must include skills/competence evaluation as skill-based training is ever-evolving and employees need to be upskilled constantly. Routine team-building activities must also be a part of intermediary training to keep relationships strong and allow team members to maintain focus on the job.
3. Time-sensitive training
There may be situations where customer service training cannot be planned. These situations include product recalls, re-branding, or big advertising campaigns where the customer service team will need to be prepared to take customer calls, answer queries or solve conflicts. The team needs to be equipped with all that they need to know to manage the situation.
4. Phone Training
In current times, over 50% of customers communicate with businesses through phone calls. Hence, customer service agents need to learn how to provide a pleasant experience to customers via phone. They must focus on the following:
● Maintain a positive tone.
● Remain professional and calm even in difficult calls.
● Speak clearly and slowly.
● Offer personalized solutions.
● Listen actively.
● Stay in control of the conversation.
● Thank the customer at the end of the call.
Customer service is the window for the consumers to view and analyze a company. They decide if the company values them through customer service interactions. With the customer service agents in the frontline, they need to be properly hired, equipped, and trained to handle any challenge that they may face. Efficient customer service staff can ensure satisfied employees and customers.