Any company that depends on providing exceptional customer service (and who doesn’t these days?), will need a team of competent professionals. The experience a customer has while interacting with your company’s representatives, whether when lodging a complaint, making an inquiry about a product or service, or listening to a representative’s product pitch, significantly impacts your sales. While effectively training your team and evaluating their performance is a critical part of guaranteeing your customer service is top-notch, as CEO of Metis Apax Herb Kimble of the Philippines argues, you can also improve your customer service by knowing how to hire the right people.
Skills to look for in prospective employees include:
- An unrelenting positive attitude
Hiring candidates who already possess the technical skills you’re looking for can be beneficial, but it’s often the case that these “hard” skills can be trained. What can’t be taught are the essential qualities of a person’s character, such as an optimistic disposition. Positivity and personability are essential for effective client relations, so look for candidates that naturally exude a sense of excitement and optimism when you speak with them during an interview, even when discussing uninteresting topics.
- Experience in any service field
Your hiring team may be making the task of finding top-tier candidates more difficult by only looking at applicants with previous experience as a customer service sales representative. While these are certainly applicants to pay attention to, applicants with more diverse experiences can still be relevant candidates for the position. Anyone with experience in the service industry, whether it be working as a receptionist at a hair salon or as a checkout clerk at a grocery store, could have the interpersonal skills you’re looking for. What’s more, employees with diverse backgrounds may have more to bring to the table.
- Exceptional communication
Effective communication is perhaps the most important skill customer service representatives need to perform well. Not only must communication with customers be professional, but it must be clear and calm at all times. Seek out candidates that demonstrate the ability to communicate smoothly, efficiently, and knowledgably, even when they’re forced to speak on a subject they’re not already familiar with. By asking “surprise” questions in an interview, you’ll be able to get a sense of how a candidate communicates under unexpected circumstances.
- The ability to learn quickly
Perhaps more important than a candidate who already knows the rules of the game is a candidate that can quickly adapt to new rules. The ability to learn quickly is crucial in the customer service industry; when a new product or service is launched or when new protocol is implemented, you want employees who will be able to adapt to these new circumstances without a hitch.
Interested in learning more about ways to improve your company’s customer service? Herb Kimble offers an array of advice about business management and customer service!