What to look for when hiring customer service staff

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When you need to add to the super group known as the frontline, it can be a tough task. You may prefer to outsource the pain and let a recruitment service help you find candidates to interview, but you still have to make the final decision, which often includes a 'gut feeling' and leaving you hoping you got it right.

Recruiting, particularly for a role that requires great stranger skills, is often a 'hopeful' process. 

Stranger skills are what first point of contact staff (frontline) need when meeting and greeting potential customers (strangers) and staff have as little as 3 seconds to make those strangers feel welcome, valued and respected. If the first 3 seconds are missed, all is not lost as staff can recover but they will have to work harder to make that stranger a customer for life - or at the very least, for now.

Outside of work, we tend to give strangers a wide birth until we know if they are friend or foe but for frontline employees, a stranger is an opportunity not to be missed. 

This is not to say that existing customers don't require the same level of 3 second respect, but brand new customers have an unknown set of expectations and it takes super skilled frontline staff to meet, greet, discover and exceed a new customers' wish list. 

So when it comes time to add to your frontline, here's what you need to be looking for;

The Top 10 Attributes of a Customer Service Professional.

  1. They have a genuine desire to provide excellent service.

  2. They have the skills to adapt their communication style to suit every customer

  3. They willingly help other staff provide excellent service.

  4. Their customers regularly compliment them on their service.

  5. They handle customer complaints with ease.

  6. They can be relied upon to represent a business professionally.

  7. They are top sellers - they know that excellent service is they key to sales.

  8. They proactively maintain their product and service knowledge.

  9. Their customers refer business to them

  10. Their employers want to keep them and keep them happy.

If you don't have Customer Service Professionals lining up to join your team, at the very least seek to add staff who have the #1 attribute. You can't fake genuine, but that candidate will need your help by way of a structured service excellence professional development plan ready for them on day one.

We can help you with that via our Customer Service Analysis . It's free and will set you and your team up for service success.

By Cate Schreck - Author of "The A - Z of Service Excellence- The Essential Guide to Becoming a Customer Service Professional"   The prefect addition to every employee's induction pack.