We cannot reiterate enough how important it is to hire the right people to represent and frontline your business. Collectively we call these frontliners the Customer Service team. These are the people who serve the customers and address their needs, questions, and complaints on a daily basis.
For businesses with physical stores and establishments, the customer service personnel are the ones whom the customers encounter face-to-face. Examples of this are the waiters, cashiers, store managers, the concierge, among others.
And then there are Customer Support agents who answer the trunkline and respond to emails.
These are people who attend to the needs of the customers through a specific medium or technology, such as email, phone, chat or social media. And because they have to operate in this manner, they have a slightly different set of qualifications and skills than those who attend to customers face-to-face.
Being in this business for over 20 years, transcosmos has successfully hired and deployed hundreds of Customer Support employees through the years, and has developed an efficient process of recruiting people.
Here are 7 qualities to look for when hiring Customer Support Agents:
A job in the customer service can either be intense or monotonous. In extreme cases, an agent goes through a day answering the same questions he’s answered 10 thousand times before; or sometimes he goes about a day where the phone line keeps ringing with one irate customer after another.
One can easily get burned out dealing with different kinds of customers with varying levels of requirements. You have to find people who are able to see each opportunity in a positive light, even on bad days.
Customer Support Agents are trained to address various scenarios, test cases, and customer personas to prepare them for the job. However, each customer is uniquely different from the others, and a million and one scenarios can happen in a single call. An agent should be quick to address different concerns, intelligently stringing together stock knowledge and available resources.
During a job interview, an applicant’s resourcefulness can be put to test by giving him hypothetical customer scenarios to see how he’s going to address the matter.
Humility is a quality that is often mistaken as passivity or weakness, but it’s actually the opposite of that. Being humble actually takes a lot of strength and courage, especially in the face of unreasonable complaints and repetitious requests. A good customer support agent doesn’t take things personally, but responds peacefully without any hint of pride.
Sometimes a complaining customer only needs to vent out his frustrations. Sometimes he only needs to hear a sincere apology or an admittance of mistake. Even in this modern age and time, the customer is still always right, and companies need customer service representatives who are courageous enough to uphold that principle no matter what.
Attention to Detail
Customers expect to talk to someone who will pay attention to them, no matter how difficult or trivial their concerns are. A good listener pays attention to details, a quality that is important for every Customer Support Agent. He should be attentive enough to not mix up one customer’s problem with another, especially since he’s receiving dozens of calls a day.
By paying attention to details, an agent is able to address customer issues more efficiently.
A good Customer Support agent is one who is not only able to troubleshoot problems and address customer concerns on the spot, but one who is also able to document cases to improve the process.
Documentation and reporting is important to the customer support process and the business operations as a whole. Through this, the company is able to improve its product and service, and similar cases can be addressed better in the future.
The ability to communicate is one of the most, if not the most, important things required from a Customer Support Agent. He has to be able to articulate well, answer questions with clarity, and express the company’s values and sentiments confidently. But more than verbal communication, a customer support agent should also be able to express sincerity and enthusiasm in helping customers.
A big plus is the ability to speak different languages. transcosmos has many Multilingual Customer Support Agents and employees, covering a wide range of Asian and European languages. One observation on multilinguals is that, they’re not only able to speak many languages, they’re also able to adapt to various cultures. Because of their knowledge of the different cultures and languages, they can naturally adapt and empathize with people.
Talent can be developed, but passion is more difficult to bring out in a person. Talented people are everywhere, but passionate people are a little harder to find. That’s why we believe that in finding the right person for a Customer Support role, passion is more important than talent.
Many people apply in contact centres for various shallow reasons—good salary, the job seems “easy”, the skills required can often be self-taught. Sometimes, people see customer support as a stepping stone to something else, or a waiting room until they’re ready to pursue the career they really love. But some of the best customer support agents are those who are passionate about people. Those who actually love helping others.
When you find these qualities in an applicant, then you’ll know that you found the next addition to your Customer Support team.
This is part of a series of blog posts tackling about The Challenges and Solutions in Hiring Great Customer Support Representatives. Read all the posts in this series here. Subscribe to our feed or by email to get updates from transcosmos blog.