If you have been contending with high turnover and are tired of the endless recruiting and hiring cycle, it is time to take action. Specifically, you should begin screening applicants for the skills needed for customer service by using an assessment tool known as a “skills test.” When used strategically, skills tests can lead to better hires and guide your training efforts.
Identifying Skills Needed for Customer Service
Before we take a deep dive into how applicant screening can remedy your turnover woes, it is important to first identify the skills needed for customer service. How can you effectively analyze applicants if you do not know what skills and talents you are looking for? The answer is that you cannot.
To keep things simple, we have divided the skills into three broad categories: soft skills, hard skills, and management skills. Remember that managerial candidates will also need the soft and hard skills listed below to succeed within your company. Likewise, non-managers may need some leadership ability.
Customer Service Soft Skills: Customer service soft skills are talents and abilities that are not specifically related to any given position or role. However, soft skills are essential to the success of a new employee. Examples of soft skills include attention to detail, communication, and emotional intelligence.
Customer Service Hard Skills: Hard skills are job-specific talents and attributes. For instance, a hospitality professional assigned to the front desk will need a professional attitude, general computer knowledge, and time management skills. They will use these skills to perform their duties and cannot fulfill their responsibilities without them.
Customer Service Manager Skills: One of the most essential customer service manager skills is conflict resolution. Great managers are skilled at diffusing tense situations between coworkers and can smooth things over with frustrated customers. In addition to conflict resolution, managers should be expert event planners, especially in the hospitality sector.
To test for the skills and abilities outlined above, you should select the most appropriate skills test. For example, an event planning skills assessment will measure a candidate’s ability to organize large-scale gatherings or other events.
This type of test will cover skills such as ethics and etiquette, event steps, and planning knowledge. Another great hospitality skills test measures front desk skills, which is useful when screening line-level hospitality professionals tasked with working the front desk at an establishment.
How Skills Tests Remedy the Turnover Issue
Administering skills tests during the pre-employment screening process addresses one side of the turnover coin: involuntary turnover. If you hire an underqualified employee who does not respond to training or other remediation efforts, subpar job performance will eventually force you to terminate them. You can avoid this vicious cycle entirely by measuring candidates’ skills and abilities before hiring.
Skills tests allow you to zero in on the most talented candidates and avoid bad hires. Your HR personnel can quickly identify top prospects and focus on recruiting those individuals. This approach will lead to better hiring and reduce the average time to hire.
Over time, skills testing will allow you to reduce involuntary turnover by refining your applicant pool. This strategy will also minimize recruiting costs and help you maintain more adequate staffing levels, which will yield a better experience for your customers.
Understanding the Connection Between Testing, Training, and Turnover
While pre-employment skills testing can help address involuntary turnover, that still leaves the issue of voluntary attrition. Although it is impossible to eliminate voluntary attrition, you can take steps to mitigate it by leveraging skills testing.
According to 2019 data, 90% of employees believe that development and training programs improve their job performance. Additionally, 20% of employees stated that a lack of development opportunities caused them to voluntarily leave a company. These figures demonstrate the importance of training, but how do skills tests factor in?
Skills tests allow you to pinpoint specific areas of need to develop more effective training programs. You can administer skills tests before training to identify weak points, and after training to verify their efficacy. This approach maximizes the ROI of your training investments while simultaneously boosting employee morale.
How eSkill Can Help
While most businesses can appreciate the need to improve screening and training protocols, many organizational leaders have not taken action due to concerns about the cost of developing skills tests. Their concerns are understandable as developing skills tests can be expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, there is a better solution than creating skills tests in-house.