Posted on 19 Aug 21byClea Badion

​Do you remember the last time you talked to a customer service department? If it was a poor interaction, you probably remember the experience. Maybe you were on hold for 45 minutes waiting to speak to a representative, or you could only talk to a bot on the chat feature.

Most of us interact with customer support representatives regularly, and a bad experience can change how you view a company. Frustrated customers may take their business elsewhere or share their less-than-ideal experiences on social media.

Because your company’s reputation is on the line, hiring top customer support employees is a big deal. It’s worth putting in extra effort to attract and hire quality candidates.

Here are some tips on how to bring on the best problem solvers for your team:

Know the top traits necessary for the job

All customer support employees require specific skills to succeed – patience and troubleshooting abilities are just a few. Spend some time finding out what specific qualities the top customer service pros at your company possess. Maybe they can calm a frustrated customer quickly, or they have in-depth technical knowledge of your product or service. Whatever it is, weave those skills into the job description so you attract suitable candidates.

Create an accurate job description

To attract and retain outstanding customer support professionals, crafting a realistic job description is essential. Does the team cover weekend or evening shifts regularly, for example? Let candidates know so they're not surprised when they're hired.

Also, be candid about the salary, benefits, and any required training. Being clear about all aspects of the job helps prevent turnover.

Highlight what makes the job special

In the job description and during the interview, be sure to talk about your company’s training and advancement opportunities. Like most employees, customer support pros want to know they can grow and learn new skills.

Also, if your company has some attractive benefits – maybe you offer work-from-home options or flexible schedules – highlight them.

Expand your recruitment strategy

Most firms use typical job-search platforms to find candidates, from Indeed to CareerBuilder. Consider also using social media to promote open positions and expand your search. You may even ask current employees to post available job descriptions and offer a referral bonus to those who recommend someone you end up hiring.

Ask revealing questions

In addition to asking about previous customer support experience, ask open-ended or behavioral questions that can reveal how candidates will perform in the job, such as:

  • How would you describe a good customer support experience?

  • Talk about a recent customer service experience, both good and bad. Why were those interactions great or not?

  • Why are you interested in a customer service job? Where do you see yourself working in three to five years?

  • Tell me about a situation when you managed a difficult or angry customer. How did you diffuse the situation?

  • What do you do if you aren't able to answer a customer's question right away?

  • Sometimes, customers will be frustrated no matter how you offer to help. How do you personally cope after a difficult call?

Do a test run

It’s essential to see how a candidate will perform in a customer service role at your company. Even someone with relevant experience may not excel at your firm.

Ask top candidates to field customer service calls, chats, email, or whatever communication tools your company uses. You’ll see if they can effectively manage different communication channels and how they perform on each.

In addition, notice if they can multitask, which is an essential skill for customer support pros. Can they type quickly, and do they track down the answer to a technical question rapidly?

Keep in mind that this evaluation isn’t about a candidate getting every technical question correct; it’s more about seeing how a person performs when they don’t know an answer and if they still convey a professional tone and upbeat personality.

Finally, remember that you can train most customer service representatives on new technology, but you can't transform someone’s innate personality. If a candidate lacks poise under pressure or seems frustrated by a challenging technical support question, you may want to move on to another person.

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