No matter what industry you work in, the importance of customer service takes prominence in all companies.

From telecoms, banking and healthcare to IT, bus stations and recruitment, customer service is a critical factor in attracting and retaining your clients. But not everyone is suited to customer service, and in particular, dealing with complaints. So, how, exactly, do you effectively recruit great customer service staff?

Designed for today’s hiring manager, here is webrecruit’s survival guide to effective and successful customer service recruitment.

Don’t be afraid to ask employees to help. If you have a top performer already doing the job, perhaps they know someone who will do an equally good job? Ask those internally who know what is expected of the job, and should they identify a potential new hire (and it works out well), you could even offer a small bonus or reward.

Simplify the CV sifting process. Last quarter alone, webrecruit received an average of 131 applications per customer service role. As a hiring manager, finding the time to dedicate to sifting through this many CVs can be a struggle. To combat this, why not ask for a one-page CV and five reasons why that applicant is perfect for your role?

Look for attitude, not aptitude. Technical skills can be learnt, but trying to change someone’s attitude is a challenge. When embarking on a customer service recruitment strategy, look for traits such as good decision making skills, commitment to service, a calm nature and a friendly manner.

Use recruitment technology. Tools such as online video interviews and skills testing, enables employers to bring better quality candidates forward for face-to-face interviews.  Particularly for roles that receive a large volume of response, these tools are invaluable when it comes to saving time and identifying the best from the rest during your customer service recruitment campaign.

Arrange impromptu interviews. Screen out the non-starters to those who will step up to the mark by scheduling off the cuff interviews. For example, you could hold the interview over lunch and observe how the candidate interacts with the waiter/waitress.

Ask ‘how are you?’. The response to ‘how are you’ can tell you a lot about how the candidate will interact with their customers. Do they tell you long stories about themselves? Complain of being tired? Perhaps they say something positive and in turn, ask ‘how are you’? If they’re quiet and provide minimal engagement, you have to wonder how much they’re really getting out of this experience, and ultimately, the role on offer. 

Check references. On a final note, be sure to conduct thorough reference checks. You don’t want to hire someone who was terminated from their last job for treating a customer unfairly.

At the end of the day, when it comes to customer service recruitment, it’s not necessarily the people with all the answers and the customer service background that are the right people for the job.

Rather, it’s those with the positive approach, inquisitive nature and the confidence to ask questions that will exceed your customers’ expectations.

Are you responsible for customer service recruitment? What skills and qualities do you look out for when hiring your next customer service star amongst the masses? Share your thoughts with us below.

By webrecruit.

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