Hiring excellent customer service professionals involves selecting candidates who can effectively address a customer’s needs, work well with a team and enhance your organization’s culture. The right candidates will increase customer satisfaction, enhance loyalty and bring added value to your company.
This makes it crucial to select only those with the ideal traits for a customer service role, and then train them on your organization’s values & customer service culture.
Below are 6 traits you should look out for when hiring for a customer service role.
Customer service professionals will spend a lot of time, listening to and responding to customer enquiries or complaints, it is important that the potential candidate demonstrates good communications skills that can make customers feel heard, and also get their message across to the customers clearly. This will involve active listening skills & the ability to express ideas/thoughts clearly. Ask questions that will get the candidates to express themselves, questions like – “Have you ever had to sell an idea to your friends or co-workers? How did you do it?”
The candidat's answer can reveal:
- Whether they are good listeners – Does the person rephrase the questions to get a better idea of what you’re asking?
- If the candidate can express their thoughts & communicate their ideas effectively
Friendly employees create the welcoming atmosphere that makes customers fall in love with a brand. A friendly customer service professional will make customers feel at ease and this enables them to open up, ask questions and talk about their concerns. It is these friendly interactions that lead to positive purchase decisions.
Does the candidate - Smile naturally? Or Laugh easily? The power of smiling cannot be understated in customer service, pay attention to the way the candidates interact with each other.
Customer service is a rewarding career, although it can be demanding especially when dealing with complaints or angry customers (who might be rude). It is easy to get caught up in negativity of such people. Being optimistic is an important trait that makes it easy to brush aside such negative encounters without losing composure or being affected by it. Ask the candidates a question like - Can you tell me about a time when you were faced with a major obstacle (work or otherwise) and how you overcame it? To gain insights on how positive they are when faced with difficult or challenging situations.
Emotional Intelligence (E.I) is the ability to accurately observe, name and interpret emotions, and the ability to use this information to guide thinking, behavior and interaction with others. This makes it an important trait for a potential customer service employee. High emotional intelligence is what separates the customer service wheat from the chaff. It is important that the individual knows how to read and appropriately respond to customer emotions.
People who have a high E.I are curious; they ask questions, they are empathetic and can also handle criticism very well. Ask the candidates a question like - can you teach me something, as if I’ve never heard about it before? (It can be anything).
The candidate's answer can reveal:
- Whether the person is willing to take the time to think before speaking.
- If the candidate has the ability to explain something to a person who is less knowledgeable in the subject.
- Whether the candidate asks empathetic questions to the person being taught, such as, “Do you understand?”
An ideal customer service professional will have some marketing/sales skills. This trait would enable the individual to steer customers into a direction that is beneficial for both the company and client. If you want to know if your candidate has this trait, ask a simple question in the interview such as; “Why should we hire you?” Pay attention to how they sell themselves in a persuasive manner - listing qualities, traits and reasons.
Problem solving is one of the most important traits of a potential customer service professional. Customers will bring complaints to them and expect them to solve it, or at least provide reasonable alternatives as the situation demands. Being a good problem solver will require:
- Knowledgeability – The customer service professional should be able to exhibit good knowledge or understanding of company products & services
- Contentiousness - Conscientious service professionals will pick up the clues intertwined in the customer’s words, which will allow him to resolve complaints & issues that cause dissatisfaction effectively.
Ask your candidates questions like: “Tell me about a time when you faced an unexpected challenge at work and how you handled it?” or
“Tell me about a time when a client or customer approached you with a concern—and how you responded?”
Their answers to these questions will give you an insight to their problem solving capacities.
When interviewing candidates for your customer service vacancies, look out for these traits - people that are easy to communicate with, able to persuade you, people who are polite, friendly, and conscientious that have the potential of becoming your most loyal employees.
Employing people that already have these ideal character traits is half the battle won in the war for an excellent organizational customer service culture.
What are you waiting for? Find job at customer service now!