We can all agree that having someone to buy our products or services makes customer service a key component to a successful business. But all customer service does not have to be conducted the same way. Some key skills, however, contribute to excellent customer service across industries.
Gregory Ciotti recently reviewed the 16 customer service skills that every employee needs. Beyond these foundational elements of customer service, what kinds of customer service, unique to your organization, do you aim to provide?
You will need to take the time to evaluate what skills your employees need to reach those goals. These differentiators will help you determine what skills to recruit and test for to ensure you are selecting the best talent for your positions.
Once you know what you are looking for, how to do you recruit for it? Here are 5 innovative ways to select quality talent for customer service positions.
Write compelling job descriptions. Write each job description with the end goal in mind; use it to convince your ideal candidate to apply. Don’t be afraid to get creative and give candidates an idea of what the work environment is like. Avoid using just bullet points of basic skills and education requirements.
Include skills testing. With your organization’s uniqueness in mind, decide when in the application process or interview selection process you should insert skills testing. Preferably, use a testing resource—one that’s reliable and customizable, like eSkill–to implement your skills testing. Testing will give you an opportunity to verify which candidates possesses the skills required to be successful in your specified customer service role. Not only can skills testing improve your candidate selection accuracy, but it can also cut training time for new hires.
Go to where your top candidates are. Identify your best talent internally and ask them where to find more candidates like them, ones who have the specific qualities that contribute to their success. Find out what groups your top talent is belong to and where they like to hangout online (is it a specific social media platform?). Advertise in these places, sponsor events, send company branded swag, etc. Also, think about the customer service reps you interact with in your day-to-day transactions, and, when you have a pleasant experience, tell them about your company and job openings.
Role play. During the interview, dedicate some time for scenario-based role play. Give candidates a realistic scenario they might encounter in your workplace, and see how they handle it. Look for potential, not perfection. After candidates solve the problem presented in the role play, ask them how they chose the solution they offered, so you can better understand their approach to problem solving and if it aligns with the goals of your customer service philosophy.
Leverage local resources. Use local clubs, groups or organizations dedicated to helping people transition back into the workplace or into a new line of work. These groups exist in many places and are almost always looking for guest speakers from organizations–a great opportunity for you to share your customer service opportunities with an eager audience.
No matter which of these options you choose, always clearly communicate to candidates what customer service means to your organization. When your role involves identifying candidates with the right personality for your customers, it helps if you show your organization’s personality up front! Your clarity will help candidates who are not the right fit self-select out, and then you can focus your efforts on engaging candidates who better potential fit your needs.