Customer support is a role where a company’s employees are a representation of your organization.
The experience of your customer with your product or organization is directly dependent on the kind of service they receive from your customer support representatives. Below, I have laid down some factors that can help you understand what makes a candidate a potential customer service representative for your organization and how to identify and hire them.
Qualities to look for in a customer support representative
Handling support tickets and customers of different kinds can be quite challenging. So, one of the most essential qualities to look for is a high level of empathy. Without it, reps can break quickly, reflecting badly on the company. It is also important to look for the customer service representative’s ability to anticipate a customer’s need in advance and go the extra mile in proactively offering the solution.
Being a great customer service representative isn’t just about their ability to solve problems for the customer, but being able to find easier and more clever ways to do so. And that creativity also extends to how they respond to a situation. The phrasing of a response makes all the difference.
The ability to communicate effectively with the customer is key. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should look for vocabulary and language skills. Effective communication is all about making sure the communication with the customer is simple and easy to understand. For example, at times, it makes more sense to say that the issue will be resolved in 4 hours than explaining the technical issue in depth.
The next and most important question is, what exactly makes for a good job description? First, a self-explanatory title that is also SEO friendly is essential. Before you write the job description itself, you have to do a great deal of research. Make sure you understand the kind of role you’re hiring for, figure out what has worked and not worked in the past, and structure your job description in an easily understandable manner. To have the largest reach, you can advertise on online job market platforms such as Lensa.
A good job description should answer the following:
- What the customer support job entails (technical or non-technical skills)
- What are the possible OKRs and KPOs for the job
- What are the day-to-day activities
- What are some of the must-have and nice-to-have skills
- If there any specific tools or software they need to know (educational background, past experience, and any unique company requirements)
This process is very important because you want to make sure you are picking the best candidate possible. When screening applications you want to read between the lines to get a hint of the applicant’s personality. If they’ve missed out on a must-have skill, you required in your job description, that is your cue to skip their resume.
Check if their past experience matches your expectations. Look out for typos and tonal writing to understand the kind of emails an applicant would send to your customers. Check if they made an effort to customize rules and responsibilities to suit the company’s objectives and if it makes your life easier. A good way to check their persuasion skills is to see what kind of explanation they have for gap years or unexplained employment.
During an interview with a potential new employee, you want to determine the quality and fit of each candidate to the best of your ability. A good way to judge your candidates is to look at how they’ve demonstrated their technical expertise in the past.
Ask them to cite examples of where and how they’ve done this. For instance, a classic customer service representative interview question is: “Can you give me an example of a time when you’ve had to explain something complex to an angry customer? What did you do, and what was the result?”
To get an understanding of how a candidate thinks on their feet, it’s good to ask a surprise question such as; “How did you prepare for this interview?” or even; “Describe yourself in one word.” Asking these questions might give you a chance to explore the creative side of a candidate and give you an opportunity to have an honest and insightful conversation.
To know more about a candidate’s technical capability and soft skills, you can put them to the test by giving them simple tasks to resolve, asking them to explain complex features or issues in simple language, and/or having a mock call to support a customer.
Finally, find out how they respond to setbacks, as that’s a good indication of whether or not they will bounce back from disappointments. A good place to start is to ask them what their biggest failure was and what they learned from it.
Pro tip: If you’re convincing yourself to hire a candidate, don’t hire them, they should have convinced you.
These are the criteria you will want to follow when determining the future of a candidate with your company.
- Are they serious about joining your team?
- Are they willing to learn on the job?
- Will they fill in the gap in your team?
- How quickly can they get started on the job?
- Will they be a good fit for the company culture?
- Do you think you can help them chart a growth plan for their careers?
A customer support team is the face of a business. No matter how big or small your company is and no matter what industry you are in, it’s important to spend time hiding the right kind of people. Even if you have a great product or service, your team is going to help you stand out by retaining existing accounts, bringing in new customers, ensuring customers are onboard, and increasing revenue, so it is critical to assemble a good team.