Having the right personnel interacting with your customers is crucial to long-term business success. Customers expect a certain level of service, so it’s important to have the right person in contact with your customers.
Here are a few tips on hiring the right people to service your customers:
While it’s most common to hire for experience, I believe that attitude should be a top priority. Customer service requires one to have a mindset of service. This mindset brings with it a belief in the need to always be ready to serve and to go the extra mile to make someone else happy.
When interviewing prospects, make inquiries regarding what gives the prospect the feeling of fulfillment at the end of the workday or in life in general. Listen for references along the lines of helping, serving, or resolving issues.
Having serviced customers myself both on the phone and face to face, I know that providing great customer service requires energy. It’s important to stay upbeat throughout the day as one’s lack of energy is very noticeable to the customer (yes – a lack of energy is very noticeable over the phone.) Notice how your prospects enter the room, how they greet you, their sitting posture during the interview, and the pace of their responses to your questions. These are all tips as to the level of energy that they will bring when interacting with your customers.
Hire Good Ears
One’s ability to listen well is another required trait for being successful at customer service. Good ears help one to listen for what’s important to a customer. When developing a solution for a customer’s need/want, good ears are critical as they allow you to ask good questions in response to the reasons the customer provides for seeking to utilize your product/services. They also assist in filtering for the real issue when the customer is upset.
The need to speak should be secondary to the need to listen. How well does the prospect listen during the interview? When you are leading the conversation, does the prospect wait until you complete your thoughts before speaking? Do their responses/questions indicate that they are actively listening when you speak? Do they maintain eye contact during the conversation? These are indicators of one’s listening ability.
I often look back on my career in customer service and think about how often I had to be quick on my feet when working with customers. Not every situation is routine and oftentimes it’s necessary to formulate resolutions quickly.
The ability to determine what is required in these nonroutine situations (which requires a lot of #3) and then create a plan of action is key to retaining customers. Customer service personnel must be able to think their way through these situations in order to create the best solution for both the customer and the company. Give situations and scenarios to your prospects that require them to devise a plan of action.
Asking questions is a major component of customer service as it helps one to develop the best product/service solution for the customer. Curiosity is a good trait for customer service personnel to possess. Look for people who have questions about your company – where it’s headed, what can the prospect look forward to if chosen for the position, and even questions about your history with the company.
Hire Team Players
When performing my customer service duties, I found that more often than not, my actions impacted someone else within the company. It was important to remember not to negatively impact others when providing service to the customer.
You can determine your prospect’s team player level by listening to group activities when you ask about their interests. Does their work history indicate group participation? Include group scenarios in your interview sessions that induce the prospect to talk about how each group member is impacted by the decisions of one person.
Customer service personnel can make or break your company. To insure that your customers receive great customer service, take the time to hire the right person to service your customers. Hire people – not just experience. Remember, the right people, delivering great service, create loyal customers, which leads to referrals, which creates long-term success.