Creating A Customer-Centric Team
It starts with you.
The role of a customer service representative is sometimes overlooked, and yet it’s one of the most critical positions to build success. We rely on a customer’s business to keep our organization alive and thriving. The CSR role is the link that connects a customer’s need to the solution. With every customer who books a service with you, you add a new thread to your income stream. Your CSR is the first point of contact for a potential customer; what kind of impression do you want to make?
Finding and retaining top customer service representatives is crucial for long-term success. In this article, we will explore the steps involved in the hiring process, best practices, and open-ended thinking to help you identify the right candidates and create long-term hires for your customer service team.
10 Signs It’s Time To Hire
Is there such a thing as “hiring season?” While we may bring on extra help during busy months, there’s no easy way to predict “when” you will find yourself looking to grow your team.
Here are 10 signs that may indicate it’s time to hire:
- Increase in Workload – there is more that needs to be done
- Bottleneck in Workflow – delay in productivity due to lack of [wo]manpower
- Decline in Customer Satisfaction – slow response rates or inadequate services
- High Turnover Rate – you see a pattern of employees leaving the company
- Skill or Knowledge Gap – a key area of expertise or skill is lacking
- Project or Business Expansion – your business is growing!
- Increased Overtime or Burnout – your employees are tired and overworked
- Missed Opportunities – you have ideas to grow, but not enough people to take those opportunities
- Lack of Specialization or Expertise – a certain task (i.e, marketing) is needed, but specialization in this skill is absent
- Strategic Planning – identify needs of the team and preemptively have a plan (i.e, hire just before busy season)
Finding The Right Fit
Three Steps To Help Guide You
Step 1: Preparation
Once you’ve identified that it’s time to hire, we can start to prepare.
Know Your Ideal Candidate Profile: Before you start the hiring process, take the time to define the ideal candidate profile for your customer service roles. Consider the skills, qualities, and experience that would make someone successful in the home service industry. Look beyond just the technical skills. Prioritize attributes like empathy, problem-solving ability, adaptability, and a customer-centric mindset.
On a sheet of paper, write down your ideas of “the perfect CSR.” It doesn’t need to be perfect, just list ideas of what you consider ideal onto that list. Encourage insight and feedback from your team so they can be included in what they feel help them in their success when working with clients.
Using this as your guide, you’re ready to write an excellent job description.
Craft Compelling Job Descriptions: You want a job description that not only outlines the logistics of job responsibilities, but also reflects your company culture and values. Highlight the unique aspects of the home service industry and the opportunities for growth and advancement within your organization. Clearly communicate the skills and qualifications you are seeking, while also conveying the passion and excitement of being part of a team that delivers exceptional customer experiences.
Manage Expectations: We’re going to contradict ourselves a bit with this gentle reminder. You can have a picture-perfect idea of the best possible CSR in the world who comes to work for your company. Writing down your characteristics on a piece of paper is an exercise in gathering ideas and narrowing down your options. Keep in mind that setting standards too high will do you a disservice. It isn’t fair to a potential candidate to come into an interview where someone is expecting perfection.
Step 2: On The Hunt
Filter Resume Applications: It isn’t always easy to decline someone based on a resume. It’s hard to learn about someone from a piece of paper and a resume isn’t always the best way to see a person’s potential or skill. That being said, there are some key factors that tell us whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the next steps. Unrelated work experience, frequent job hopping, spelling mistakes and errors, lack of key qualifications for the position, and inconsistent information may indicate some red flags.
Ask Behavior-Based Interview Questions: During the interview, go beyond surface-level questions and delve into behavioral-based inquiries. Ask candidates to share specific examples from their past experiences that demonstrate their problem-solving skills. Listen for their ability to handle difficult situations and if they have a customer-focused mindset. This approach gives you insight into how they have handled real-life scenarios and provides a more accurate gauge of their suitability for the role.
- What was your favorite part of a previous job?
- Let’s say you are the CEO of the company from your last job. What is one thing you would change and why?
- If working with an upset client, how would you diffuse the situation?
- Building on the previous question, how do you take care of yourself after an unpleasant situation?
- How do you approach confrontation?
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake; what did you learn from that experience?
- What would we need to do for you to have a long-term relationship with our company?
- What motivates you?
Assess Cultural Fit: Assess whether the candidate’s values align with your company’s culture and core principles. Consider including team members or supervisors in the interview process to gather different perspectives and ensure a good fit within the existing team dynamics.
Conduct Skills Assessments and Simulations: Supplement the interview process with skills assessments and simulations. These assessments can help evaluate candidates’ technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and capacity to handle challenging customer interactions. Simulations or practice demonstration exercises allow candidates to showcase their customer service skills in realistic scenarios, while giving you a firsthand look at their approach and capabilities.
(Note: If incorporating a practice demonstration, typing test or other assessment, we highly recommend notifying the interviewee so they have the opportunity to feel prepared. You wouldn’t want them to be nervous by being placed on the spot unexpectedly.)
Step 3: You’re Hired!
You’ve brought someone on board who aligns best with qualities you are seeking, but the process isn’t over just yet. A new team member will always bring their own experience into a workplace. They may need time to adjust and learn the ropes of how you run things. The average training period is about 90 days. This time should allow insight if your new employee is the right fit for you…and if you’re the right fit for them.
Your First Impression Matters Too: How you present yourself in an interview and in the office will impact the work environment for your team. You will set the tone because you are the leader. A new employee will look to you for guidance and direction during the training process. How you guide, teach, express gratitude, and pay your team, will all be taken into consideration when an individual decides if they want to stay or not.
Prioritize Onboarding and Training: Once you’ve found your new member, prioritize the onboarding and training process. Provide comprehensive training on product knowledge, customer service techniques, and company policies. A well-structured onboarding program sets the foundation for success and helps new hires feel supported and confident in their roles. If an employee isn’t performing up to a standard, it is often due to a lack of support or training. Managing your onboarding with comprehensive training early on prevents challenges in the future.
Regular Check-Ins: You have built a solid team! Good for you. It’s not easy to do. Check-in with your team, both as a group and individually, on a regular basis. Ask your new-hires what is going well, and what they still need to learn to feel confident. Ask your senior CSR’s for feedback. Consistent communication will build trust and allow any conflict to be addressed sooner rather than later. Doing those will create a more proactive, pleasant atmosphere for everyone involved.
The Future Is Bright
Building Long-Term Relationships
Hiring the right customer service representative is essential. By knowing your ideal candidate profile, asking the right interview questions, assessing the team dynamic, and leading by example, you can build a team that delivers exceptional customer experiences and contributes to growing our streams of revenue.
At Power Selling Pros, we value our team above all else. We take it seriously when we hire a new coach, and put a lot of effort and compassion into the process. By setting this tone, our coaches extend these attributes to your team who are entrusted into our care. Rest assured that we coach your team to not only get as close to your “perfect picture” as possible, but to build a long-term relationship too.
Remember, hiring is not just about finding someone to fill a position; it’s about selecting individuals who embody your company values, have the skills to excel in customer service, and possess the potential for growth. With a thoughtful and strategic approach to hiring, you can build a high-performing team that creates lasting connections to stand the test of time.