As a business, you owe it to your company and customers to hire the best people to attend to your customers’ needs. In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of the skills you need to look for when screening for customer support representative candidates.
Your customer service team is just as vital as all your other teams in the organization. They serve as the direct link between your customers and your business. The numbers show that customer acquisition costs are hefty—roughly 6–7 times more to attract a new customer rather than to retain your existing ones.
Excellent customer service reps do more than just conduct transactions and respond to customer concerns. They also create positive experiences for them. Below are the skills your representatives must have that are critical to your business’ success. Let’s dive into it!
Empathy is a critical quality that representatives should have, and one you should look for strictly. You want to hire people who can understand the sentiments of your customers. This trait can help you retain long-term customers and brand advocates.
For instance, when you need to tell a customer a truth that they’re not ready to hear, a genuine and substantial degree of compassion, concern, warmth, and understanding can make all the difference. Customers are human beings. They want to be seen and treated as one, not to be viewed as mere numbers in a spreadsheet.
Problem-solving is what customer-facing roles are all about. Customer service reps must be quick on their feet and can work under pressure. Your clients want to get their concerns resolved, and they want them fixed immediately. Statistics back this up—around 70% of formerly unhappy customers whose problems are fixed by a customer service department are willing to shop with the brand again.
You can assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills by asking them relevant behavioral interview questions to understand the process of how they can get to the heart of the problem and recommend solutions.
How people behave around other people makes a difference. Even if a customer service agent is having a less than stellar day, the phones will keep ringing and buzzing. Work will still go on.
Displaying a positive attitude and using positive language, especially when there’s a feisty customer on the other end of the phone, speaks mountains of their professionalism and commitment to their job. This is the kind of agent you want to have.
Customers reach out for support when they encounter a problem or when they’re confused and frustrated. These concerns can range from something insignificant and straightforward to something complicated and time-consuming. When the latter happens, it’s essential to take the time to figure out what they want and fix the problem.
Competent customer service that involves understanding consumers’ problems always trump fast service, especially when faced with unhappy customers. You want to look for people who can stay calm, do not take things personally, and can diffuse tense situations.
Sure, you may have a canned response script, but customers know when they’re getting a templated response—and they don’t like it. Each customer has unique problems and cases. You must find people who can adapt to each one.
Hiring candidates who are highly adaptable will not only boost your customer satisfaction rates but also create a pool of potential customer support leaders. Make sure to ask adaptability interview questions. Look for candidates who consider all possible scenarios before coming up with a decision, for they are more likely to adjust to unforeseen circumstances.
Naturally, you want to have agents who can explain the problem and potential solutions to your clients clearly and concisely. This includes being able to translate jargon into layman terms, especially if your business uses technical terminologies. Moreover, you want to have agents whose words and body language align, as this may be important for client-facing meetings. Because, often, it’s more about how people say it than what is actually said.
You can test this by asking candidates questions like, “How would you explain a complicated technical problem and potential solution to a customer with less technical understanding?” or by asking them to communicate a concept or respond to an example scenario in writing.
Read this related article: 8 Behavioral Questions that Will Help You Spot Top Candidates
Time management skills are crucial in the support industry. Customer support representatives don’t just take calls for hours on end, day in and day out. They also juggle several responsibilities, like following up on deliverables with other teams, meeting with clients, responding to emails, working on major projects, and more.
You want to hire people who know how to manage their workload efficiently and effectively. You can put this skill to the test with candidates by asking questions, such as “You just got back after a week-long vacation and find thirty new emails in your inbox. How do you choose which emails to prioritize and answer first?” or “How do you organize your tasks when you have to work on multiple projects/clients simultaneously?”
A robust customer service team is built with strong leadership and capable team members. When the time comes that you need to expand or you want to improve your team, look for these skills, and hone them in the process for business success.
Don’t have time for sourcing talent or building a new department? Super Staff provides customer service outsourcing that can do the legwork in tapping the top candidates in the field. We can help your business build a dependable support staff comprised of competent people.
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