Hiring the right customer support representatives is essential for providing excellent service. Effective customer service representatives possess unique communication, empathy, problem-solving, and adaptability skills.
Finding individuals who possess these traits and who can represent your brand positively and professionally can be challenging. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of hiring for excellent customer service, from defining hiring needs to conducting interviews and evaluating candidates.
Intercom’s Customer Service Trends Report for 2023 states that, in 2022, 82% of leaders reported increased expectations for personalized support. Furthermore, 89% of support leaders consider personalized support a significant differentiator.
The report also found that businesses providing personalized support were 2x more likely to report increased customer retention.
Businesses should consider factors like the volume of support requests and staff workload to determine the right time for hiring for customer service.
Hiring more customer service representatives may be a good idea if your business is rapidly growing and experiencing increased customer inquiries.
Monitor important metrics like ticket volume, number of active customers, and response times. By doing so, your business can spot where it may need to expand its customer support team to keep delivering quick and excellent assistance.
You should consider customer service recruitment when self-service tools like FAQ pages or chatbots cannot handle customer inquiries well. This way, all customer inquiries can be addressed quickly and accurately, leading to happier customers and less burden on your existing support team.
If the current support team struggles to keep up with customer inquiries and feels stressed or overwhelmed, it may be time to bring in additional staff. This can help ensure that the team can provide high-quality support without suffering burnout or becoming overwhelmed.
If customer satisfaction ratings or other success metrics are declining, it may be a sign that your current support team is struggling to keep up with customer demand. Bringing on additional staff can help improve response times and overall customer satisfaction, which can contribute to improved success metrics in the long term.
A well-structured approach to customer service hiring can help you navigate the recruitment process and find candidates that are ready to deliver exceptional support. The following seven steps will guide you through the process:
Start by considering the specific needs of your business and what skills your customer support representatives need to possess to excel in their roles. Then, define your ideal profile. Here are a few hard and soft skills you should look for:
When looking to hire for customer support positions, it’s crucial to create a job description that’s clear and concise. Highlight the most crucial duties and emphasize the benefits of the role. There are many different types of support roles, each with unique responsibilities:
Therefore, defining the exact position you want to fill and creating a job description that accurately reflects the required skills and expectations is essential. This can include:
Additionally, information about the company’s culture and values can help attract candidates who are a good fit. Highlight any benefits or perks of working for the company, such as flexible hours or professional development opportunities.
To help you craft a compelling job description that includes this information, we’ve included a template below:
Recruiters have a deep understanding of the job market and can help businesses create compelling job descriptions and market their positions to attract top talent. They also know how to market job openings effectively through various channels, including social media, job boards, and networking platforms.
Working with recruiters can save businesses time and resources, while ensuring that they find the best-fit candidates for customer service roles. Recruiters can use their network of professional contacts and expertise in their industry to discover top-notch candidates with the essential skills and experience needed for customer service positions.
To increase the chances of finding the right candidates, it’s essential to post your opening on job boards and communities that are relevant to your target audience.
Here’s where you can post and promote your job:
In addition to posting on job boards and communities, leverage social media to reach potential candidates. Share the job posting on the company’s social media accounts and encourage your employees to share it on their personal accounts. Use targeted social media ads to reach specific audiences based on job title, industry, and location.
Set up clear hiring steps for the position. These can include:
Developing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for your recruiting process is essential. This should outline all the steps involved in the hiring process, from job posting, screening, and interviewing to testing, reference checking, and, ultimately, an offer. Assigning responsible people for each process step can help ensure it runs smoothly.
At Touchpoint, we prioritize a thorough hiring process that focuses on hard and soft skills. We involve our team members in the hiring processes and set clear procedures and guidelines to ensure their successful onboarding. You can view an image of our hiring and onboarding process here:
Finally, a test in the hiring process can effectively assess candidates’ skills and abilities. This can be customized to fit the specific requirements of the role and can include skills-based tests or personality assessments.
When evaluating applications for customer service representatives, there are a few actionable steps to identify the best candidates for the job.
Pay close attention to the candidate’s experience, education, and any relevant certifications or training. This will help remove any candidates who do not meet the fundamental requirements for the role and help you easily remove unsuitable candidates—without going through a thousand interviews.
Communication, empathy, and problem-solving skills are essential for customer support roles. Look for evidence of these skills in the application materials, such as the candidate’s use of language, tone, and examples of how they’ve handled difficult situations in the past.
This can be done over the phone or via video conference and should include questions specific to the job requirements. This will allow you to assess the candidate’s communication skills, understanding of the role, and fit with your company culture.
Based on the results of the pre-screening interview, the recruiter can decide which candidates should move on to the next stage of the interview process.
To ensure your new hires can perform their job well and represent your brand effectively, you must onboard them properly.
The new hire checklist should outline all the necessary training and information the agent needs to be successful in their role. The onboarding process can include training on company culture and policies, product or service training, and the tools that they will use.
A documentation list with useful materials will allow your new hires quick access to the information they need to do their job effectively. This could include FAQs, a company glossary, and instructional videos.
Assigning a mentor to each new hire can help them integrate into the team quickly and easily. A mentor can provide guidance and support, answer questions, and help a new customer service representative feel more comfortable.
Not ready to grow your support team just yet? Here are three temporary solutions:
Identify common issues and develop solutions to address them proactively. Automating repetitive tasks, such as ticket routing, can save time and increase efficiency.
For example, using AI-powered chatbots to handle basic inquiries can free up support staff to focus on more complex issues.
Customers often struggle with a product or service due to a lack of understanding or knowledge of its features. Provide comprehensive onboarding and training materials for representatives so that they can get customers up to speed quickly and reduce the need for support.
Streamlining your processes can help minimize the potential for errors and confusion, ultimately reducing the number of support inquiries.
To broaden self-service options, businesses can invest in developing inclusive help centers, customer portals, and communities that provide helpful information and resources.
Self-service channels can also reduce wait times and the need for customers to interact with support representatives, leading to faster issue resolution and increased productivity for both customers and businesses.
Hiring suitable customer support agents is essential for any business that values its customers and wants to provide excellent service. By following the tips outlined in this guide, businesses can identify and attract top talent, create a positive work environment, and set up their agents for success.
To build a strong customer support team, prioritize vital skills such as communication, time management, empathy, and problem-solving. Additionally, continuously offer training and support to ensure that your team is always up to date with the newest trends in customer service.
At Touchpoint, we understand the importance of providing outstanding customer service. That’s why we provide a CRM platform that allows businesses to communicate with their customers seamlessly across multiple channels. With Touchpoint, companies can streamline support processes as well as improve response times.
Iustina is a curious copywriter with an analytical mind and a demonstrated history in the advertising industry. She likes mixing words with data and is passionate about human behavior. When she's not at her work desk, you'll probably find her enjoying refreshing tea flavors, spilling stories on paper, or binge-watching true-crime documentaries.
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