Start by finding people who love to serve others. Some of your best CSR’s come from the hospitality industry (restaurants and hotels). They already know how to take care of people. And find people who have high levels of patience that can handle the stress of complaining customers. There are people who thrive on this type of chaos from customers, yet somehow communicate a sense of calm and understanding when they communicate with them.
Before you start hiring anyone, do you have the proper service culture to bring them into? Do you have a great leader who exudes world-class customer service? Do you have the correct soft skill training to put new CSR’s through that isn’t just focused on the technical aspects of the job? Training and culture trumps hiring every day. You can bring in a great candidate, but without the training, support and service culture set, they will never reach their potential
Some great answers already. I would suggest that you want to look for people who have great communication skills, and have previous experience in the role. Critical thinking skills, situational awareness, and accepting responsibility are key attributes you should make as part of your hiring decision. The CSR is the first person your customer may come in contact with. What type of impression do you want them to make? Taking ownership for the interaction and being a customer advocate are critical.
Who would your customers select if they were on the selection committee? Smart companies encourage employees to carry business cards to give to a great server whom they encounter along with the words, “Our HR folks would love to talk with you since we are always looking for a great customer service people like you.” After someone comes in for an interview, talk with the people with whom they came in contact. How an applicant treats a receptionist can tell you a lot about their likely fit.
At the risk of sounding awfully simplistic, I believe that every CSR MUST have the capacity to empathize. In my view forget everything else if they do not have this capability. It is foundational! And doing so in a digital world where facial and other behaviors are not visible does take some doing.
BTW, having empathic capability allows one to be industry agnostic. It ‘s useful even in our personal lives.
ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE and ATTITUDE.
Are they positive, do they want to look after others, do they think about others first and are they genuinely kind, warm people (with a big dose of resilience!)
There are 22 skiils needed for entry level CSR’s, and over 13 ‘key capabilities’ so it’s really important to check out and even test ability.
So yes, RECRUIT for ATTITUDE and TRAIN for SKILL – and check out they are up to it 😁
Footnote: Yesterday my 10 year old daughter went to a new hairdresser – on the way home I asked her what she thought about it, she said:
‘You know what mum, it really makes a diffence when people are happy, happy to do their job. At the the last place they just were not happy, and more interested in themselves than me. But at this place everyone was happy and now I feel really happy. I really want to go again.
The moral of the story:
Recruit for HAPPINESS
Hi Ernest, look for people who are good listeners and, most of all, who LOVE helping others. If they usually and spontaneously behave this way, they have a definite advantage (doing any charity or volunteering activity that may be a plus). All the rest can be taught.
I’m interested in the term ‘rebuild’ – in addition to the criteria for recruitment in the excellent advice above I’d ask what culture you want to build as you recruit? What was it about the previous version of your company that emphasised and reinforced great customer service – e.g. in the way you rewarded people and celebrated success? I suggest you need to look at what worked and what you could do differently as you bring in new hires.
Look for people with:
1. Prior experience in serving customers. 2 A calm demeanor. 3. Problem resolution skills.
Make sure your company provides:
1. Proper product and or service training. 2 A culture built upon providing a good customer experience – to both external and internal customers. 3. Leadership skills training.
I’ll add this to the discussion: If you currently have top-notch employees, include them in the process of bringing in new hires. Ask them for recommendations and include them in the interview process. Quality employees like to work with other quality employees. It creates an upward spiral of service excellence. And they’re more likely to take the new hire under their wing if they had a part in bringing them in.
There are already so many great answers.
In addition to those:
hire character, train skill.
Service is becoming more digital vy the day: chatbots, AI, data mining, the lot.
The inter-human communication will be(come) the key differeniator in how customers will value your products, services and people.
When you care for your customers, care for your CSRs too.
And don’t call them “CSR” or “agent”.
Great answers! Getting great CSR’s is easy. Just be the employer of choice. That means having a great culture, and great managers. Great CSR’s will go out of their way to make a customer’s day, to solve a customer’s problem, even if it is not the company’s fault.
Great managers are constantly looking for ways to make the CSR’s even better. removing the roadblocks that prevent CSRs from giving great service. Policies must take a back seat to helping the customer.
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