Hiring for customer service

When you hire, train and motivate employees based on core values, everything else falls into place. Finding competent people with the right skills isn’t enough. They need the right attitude, too.

Here are three good questions to ask when you interview candidates for a customer service role:
Hiring for customer service

1. Why are you in customer service?

Always ask this one first. Customer service is not just resolving one issue after another. It’s about satisfying customers’ needs, putting smiles on their faces and inspiring them to do the same for others. Employees who excel have a natural desire to help and express genuine empathy. Bonus points for a sunny disposition and willingness to go the extra mile.

2. Are you familiar with what we do?

Ideal candidates walk into interviews with a basic understanding of your business. Ask them to list what they believe to be the value of your product or service. Fill in any blanks and discuss how you make a difference in customers’ personal or professional lives.

3. How would you handle…?

Personality is part of the hiring game. To see if a candidate has what it takes, create a customer support scenario. Don’t be afraid to throw a few curveballs. Is he or she empathetic? Asking appropriate questions? Being proactive? Did you feel the issue was resolved? Provide feedback and give candidates the chance to talk about what they do differently.

Attitude is the the foundation of good culture and outstanding customer service,
the driving force behind:

•       What your employees say and how they say it
•       The service goals your employees set for themselves
•       How much your employees are willing to do for your customers
•       Overall job satisfaction

All skills being equal, employees with the right attitude have an easier time fitting in, better job performance and they stick around longer.

"To identify strong candidates and weed out those looking to collect a pay check, ask questions that align with your core values." Matt Edmundson

A good example that illustrates this is in a company called desk.com. At Desk.com, all employees-including managers and senior staff go through a week-long boot camp learning how to use the product and practice ‘Customer WOW’. Everyone becomes part of the culture, understanding what they do and how to commit to the core values.

No matter what sector you work in, customer service needs to be integral to your business model if you want to succeed and grow. This is more relevant than ever in this online age, where anyone with internet access is an overnight expert!