Improving Customer Service Starts With a Good Hire

HR Manager

89% of consumers said they are more likely to buy from a business again if they have a positive customer service experience.

Improving customer service is easier said than done, and typically involves potentially costly employee training. What if employers could improve customer service by changing how they hire new customer-facing employees? One company just released a report demonstrating how skill-based hiring technology improved the on-the-job performance of new customer service representatives.

Start by Hiring for the Right Skills

Within the world of new customer service representatives, there are both top and bottom performers. In the performance study released, over 5000 candidates were analyzed who were hired for customer-facing roles using a skills-based hiring assessment. The customer service employees (versus those hired for sales roles) were identified and then categorized by top and bottom performers.

Customer service skills chartWhile customer service performance can vary by role specialty, industry, audience country, products, etc., there were common skills among all the top customer service representatives. These included:

  • Acknowledgment
  • Delivering difficult messages
  • Paraphrasing
  • Positive language
  • Speaking fluently

The report tied the presence of these soft skills to the rep’s performance based on customer KPIs. Candidates who had the lowest skill scores were the bottom performers and those with the highest skill scores were the top customer service representatives. That means that companies can determine who will be a top customer service agent during the pre-hire assessment phase, just by screening for the right skills!

Decreasing Attrition with the Right Reps

Attrition RatioWhat about a company’s attrition rates? The average call center attrition rate is as high as 38%. This report found that candidates who possessed those top customer service skills were also less likely to leave their respective companies. In fact, it was reported that:

“For every 1 customer service top skilled employee, 27.3 bottom skilled employees attrit.”

Each organization will have a unique set of hiring circumstances. For example, customer service can be done by in-house teams or outsourced, and service may be available by phone, chat, or even social media. There are so many factors that can affect attrition (80% of new hires who had a poor onboarding experience said they planned to quit). Still, it’s encouraging to see such conclusive and consistent results around the performance of highly skilled customer service reps.

Leave a Comment