In recent years, the customer service landscape has changed dramatically. Now more than ever, with the prevalence of social media, online reviews, and higher expectations for customer service in general, hiring the right customer service representatives is key to businesses’ sustained growth and success. In fact, a 2017 American Express study found that 68% of customers said that a friendly customer service representative was key to their recent positive experiences, and 62% said that a customer service representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key.

Recruiting top-rated customer service representatives sets businesses apart from the rest. A 2014 study by Gartner found that when it comes to buying goods or services, 64% of consumers said customer experience was more important than price. And Gartner is not alone in their findings, according to the Gladly 2018 Customer Service Expectations Survey, 68% of consumers surveyed would pay more for products or services from a company with good customer service. Identifying candidates who have the needed soft skills to succeed in a customer service role improves companies’ bottom line.

Great customer service starts with great customer service employees.

While it is possible to train individuals the job-related skills they may need in a particular customer service position, it is not possible to change someone’s personality traits. Identifying job seekers who have the aptitude for learning new information quickly and who have the behavioral characteristics to excel in a customer-facing role is critical. The writing is on the wall, in an age when many companies are turning to automated customer service options, those who choose to invest in customer service talent acquisition will be rewarded with loyal customers who are willing to pay more.

Assessing Personality Traits

Identifying the necessary soft skills in prospective candidates is the key to finding customer service representatives that will excel in their position. Interpersonal skills and characteristics like communication, empathy, and problem solving, are critical in customer service. It is not possible to accurately evaluate these skills or lack-there-of by simply reviewing possible hires’ work history and educational credentials.

eSkill’s customer service skills tests incorporate questions and simulations that evaluate personality traits to acquire a real, quantitative analysis of candidates’ soft skills. These skills tests use non-obvious statistical correlations between how an applicant responds to specific questions and their on-the-job performance.

Measuring soft skills in a valid and reliable way takes the guesswork out of determining if candidates’ personalities are the right fit for a customer service position. For example, data has shown that applicants who score high in empathy excel in customer service. eSkill’s customer service skills assessments are able to measure the level of empathy applicants possess. This data is just one measurement used by eSkill as an indicator of future success in a customer service position. Leveraging customer service skills tests to make employment decisions based on data increases the likelihood that hiring decisions will result in higher employee retention rates, ultimately saving organizations the burden of costly turnover.

Identifying Job-Related Skills

While personality traits cannot be taught, the job-related skill sets needed to succeed in a customer service position can be. Technology is constantly evolving; therefore, the need to train customer service representatives will always be present. With unemployment at historic lows (3.6%), it is inevitable that businesses will need to hire and train customer service employees that do not necessarily possess the required job-related skills.

Job-based customer service skills tests assess potential hires’ understanding of specific skills needed to succeed in a particular customer service position. For instance, a customer service representative may need to have a strong understanding of chat programs to interact efficiently with customers online. It is then imperative that the ability to use chat programs is assessed prior to hiring for the customer service position. This is possible with eSkill’s customer service chat simulation, which requires the candidate to interact with ‘customers’ on a chat simulator. This simulation allows hiring managers to identify whether or not this particular candidate would need additional training in this area.

Whatever skill is needed for a customer service position, it is possible to test it with eSkill’s wide variety of simulations and multiple-choice assessments. eSkill offers hundreds of single-subject predefined tests related to customer service, including call center operations, retail marketing skills, basic math, Excel, Microsoft Word, and sales clerk skills. eSkill’s employment and training assessments can be customized to match the skill set needed for any position.

Evaluating Top Talent

In order to determine the candidates that are the best fit for customer service, it is wise to weigh the results of behavioral assessments first. Finding candidates who possess the necessary soft skills is key to hiring for customer service positions, as personality traits are not something that can be taught. Depending on the difficulty of the job-related skills needed for a particular position, candidates can be trained in those areas. eSkill is able to assess individuals’ aptitude or ability to learn new information. This enables hiring managers and recruiters to identify candidates who possess the ideal personality traits and the ability to learn the needed job-related skills quickly. While training new employees may not be ideal, in this tight labor market, it may be companies’ best bet to finding quality talent that will wow consumers with their personality.

With the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, dehumanizing the customer service experience may be tempting. However, research shows that real human connections are the key to positive customer experiences, and most consumers are willing to pay more for this human connection. Utilizing eSkill’s customer service skills tests during the hiring process allows businesses to identify candidates who will thrive in customer-centric positions.

Interested in Customer Service Skills Tests and Behavioral Assessments?

Learn more about the benefits of using eSkill’s customer service skills tests and behavioral assessments to find qualified candidates quickly.

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Adina Miron

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