In my own personal dealings with Customer Service departments in a variety of industries, I am often surprised at how often the person on the other end of the phone seems like such a poor fit for the job they are doing.
It seems that too often, those individuals in charge of making staffing choices for a business seem to overlook the importance of properly screening those employees that will ultimately be the face of your company to the customer. Hiring decisions for Customer Service Representatives are often the most important hiring decisions a company will make.
Ensuring that you have the proper staff in place to appropriately represent your company and its mission is paramount. Do you understand your customers? Do you recognize their needs? These are two primary questions that should be considered when making any hiring decisions for your Customer Service team.
We all want intelligent, articulate people to staff our Customer Service Centers. But we should always look deeper. What do your customers expect when they call? Is your staff delivering on the implied promise of exceptional customer service?
Each industry is different. Someone that was a great fit for one industry is not automatically going to be a great fit in a different industry. Hiring decisions should not only be made based on a person’s resume. It is imperative that you fit the person with not only the right resume into your team, but also the person that will fit well into your business culture.
At GiftCards.com, the customers we speak with are often literally calling from a merchant location due to issues with their prepaid card. They are frustrated and often times embarrassed because their card may have been rejected. I don’t want to leave that customer in the hands of someone that will either take their frustration personally or, even worse display no empathy to the customer’s situation. It is imperative that I have the right staff in place to handle these very real customer issues.
The proper screening of candidates for positions within your customer service team is paramount.
Is the candidate empathetic? Are they able to convey that empathy using only their voice? Do they have appropriate listening skills? Obviously, we all know to ask these questions and make these observations, but how do you know if the person you are interviewing truly embodies the list of qualities you seek?
Too often, the initial phone interview is done by someone other than the person that will make the final decision on which candidate to hire. Don’t fall in to this trap. As a hiring manager, I want to do an initial phone screening on every candidate. Remember, how they present themselves in person and on the phone are often very different.
Often times, prior to the initial phone screening, I will conduct a brief conversation with a candidate via email.
It is imperative that we as hiring managers utilize all available resources to ensure that we are appropriately screening candidates prior to making any hiring decisions.
Our customers deserve the best.