So you’ve got everything place to offer your customers exceptional customer service – from all the required hardware to useful help desk tools like Happy Fox.
Now comes the hard part. Now you’ve got to hire your team.
While looking at resumes will definitely help in your selection, it simply isn’t enough. Every great customer service agent has a specific set of attitudes and traits that make them particularly suited for the job. Here are the top 10 traits you should look for when hiring customer service staff.
Empathy involves your agent’s ability to gauge the customer’s emotional state, feel it themselves, and then communicate appropriately. As one of the must-have skills for customer service reps, empathy is important because by understanding how your customer is feeling, the customer service agent can address their needs in a more holistic manner that will leave your customer satisfied.
Your customer service agent should have a positive attitude and personality and be able to express this using positive language. A positive agent will be more likely to establish comfort and rapport with their customer, and can influence the mood of a customer from a negative to a positive one. In addition, by using positive language, an agent can help to change the perception by the customer from a negative to a positive one, bringing about a more positive feeling about your company and your products, and increasing their personal satisfaction.
Proactive customer support agents actively seek out opportunities to help your customers and your business. They are willing to provide relevant suggestions without prompting and focus on preventing, rather than solving, customer service issues, meaning that your customers will experience a much higher rate of satisfaction. In fact, proactive customer service was found to decrease customer service calls by up to 30% while increasing customer retention by up to 5%.
Dealing with customer service issues isn’t always straightforward, and your agents may at times need to address issues that aren’t in the company customer service training manual. Adaptable agents are able to think on their feet and provide solutions in situations where they may be little or no precedent.
Since listening is a key skill for customer service agents, you’ll want to hire people who are naturally attentive and will pay close attention to their customers. Often times, customers may face issues that they may not even realize or address. By being attentive, agents can better assess the situation to provide better solutions that will increase customer satisfaction and produce a positive ROI.
Ability to keep cool under pressure
Customer service agents are the front line for emotional or upset customers – with an estimated 70% of customers already upset when they talk to customer support agents. That’s why your agent’s ability to keep calm even when dealing with overly upset customers is a critical trait which will allow them to also calm the customer, which will lead to improved communication and a better chance at solving their issue.
Willingness to learn and grow
Customer service candidates who show a willingness to learn and improve their service will be a definite bonus for your company. By selecting those with a willingness to learn and improve, you can ensure that your company will continually increase your customer satisfaction.
Patience is a necessary trait to deliver exceptional customer service. In general, your agents should have the patience to carefully listen and respond to customer issues to come up with the best and most helpful responses. Patience is particularly useful for difficult situations, such as dealing with a particularly upset customer or an unusually complex issue. Your customer support staff must be willing to take the time to ensure that each customer issue is given sufficient time and energy to be resolved.
Commitment & loyalty
Customer service agents who show commitment to both their work and the companies they have worked with is another definite trait you’ll want to look for. With many customer service jobs having high turnover rates, you want agents who are willing to commit, saving you from having to spend time and money to hire and train new staff, and helping to build a more positive team where members know and work with each other well.
With conscientious people being scientifically proven to provide better customer service, this is another critical trait to look for when hiring customer service agents. Conscientious employees will be more likely to be aware of how good interpersonal interactions positively affect customer service and are more likely to behave this way – making this another great trait for customer service employees.
Do you look at the traits of your candidates before hiring? What have you found makes the difference between a good customer service agent and a great one? Let us know in the comments section below!