Business and customers engage differently today than just a few years ago. Previously, customers wanted low prices and high quality. Customer service was typically accessed through 1-800 telephone lines or in-person at a brick-and-mortar store.
Today, the customer’s experience is at the forefront, with consumers becoming more demanding and discerning. Thanks to the ease of technology, customers want help faster than ever before. According to a recent HubSpot survey, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as essential or very important to their customer experience. Sixty percent of these respondents define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less.
However, not only do consumers expect their needs to be met 24/7 (and within minutes, we might add), they also view customer service as a defining factor in whether to continue doing business with a company. For example, poor customer service can punch a hole in your bottom line. According to Accenture, American companies lose approximately $1.6 trillion annually due to customers experiencing poor customer service and switching to competitors. On the other hand, according to HubSpot, 93% of customers will likely make repeat purchases from a company if the customer service is excellent.
With customer service going through such a transformation, and directly impacting the success of a company, you don’t need to hire good customer service employees; you need to hire the best to stay competitive.
When recruiting top-tier talent, how do you assess customer service skills during the hiring process?
Let’s look at some key traits to keep in mind when hiring customer service employees.
Before you start interviewing, determine who you need to hire. Do you need customer service representatives or call center managers? Each role may have overlapping skillsets, but for management roles, those positions will require even more capabilities. From there, you can identify the skills and traits that those positions need.
For example, for customer service representatives, they’ll need to speak confidently on the phone, be able to communicate over text or chat, and quickly problem-solve. They’ll also need to possess computer skills and follow established processes. For call center managers, add management and leadership skills to your list.
By incorporating into your hiring process, you can objectively assess a candidate’s hard and soft skills, qualifying them for the job. You can access a comprehensive library of off-the-shelf tests that are subject-based or job-based, including positions such as help desk specialist, call center operator, and customer service representative. You can also personalize assessment tests, by combining different skills tests and assessments, tailoring your hiring practices to your business or industry.
Additionally, you can objectively and consistently test for skills needed in the customer service industry, such as adaptability, phone etiquette, and listening skills. In addition to skills assessments, you can create skill simulations for candidates, giving you the ability to assess needed skills in real-time. For example, you could incorporate inbound call center simulations, including complaints or sales. Additionally, you could create outbound call center simulations, testing for skills in fundraising or telemarketing.
To objectively measure candidates’ abilities, don’t forget about legal compliance. Hiring discrimination is a common legal claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where claimants assert that an employer refused to hire them because of race, gender, family status, age, disability, nationality, religion, among others. Pre-employment assessment tests establish an objective basis for hiring, giving consistency, reliability, and validity to a company’s recruitment.
However, reliability doesn’t come from merely using a customer service skills assessment test alone. You must include questions that apply to job-related factors, making them appropriate and relevant. By creating an objective pre-employment assessment test, you can better predict job performance and fit within your customer service department.
The core pillars of an excellent customer service and support department for your company include the call center, the help desk, and IT support. Using customer service pre-employment assessment tests allow you to identify the critical skills needed to create a great customer experience, such as establishing rapport at a level matching the customer’s emotional state along with practical English communication skills and adequate technical knowledge.
eSkill’s customer service skills tests have been used by Amazon, 1-800 Contacts, Spotify, and Orvis and many more. You’ll get expert advice and 24-hour tech support.
Request a demo and see how eSkill can help transform and innovate your recruiting.