A customer service team is the front line of your business. They are the ones speaking directly to your customers and will influence the customer’s experience whether they’re new to your business or not.
When it comes to any type of recruitment, it’s important to get it perfect. If not, you risk losing out on top talent as well as hiring employees that aren’t the right fit for the job. Customer service isn’t for everyone and a natural flair and enjoyment engaging with customers is a must-have quality.
In this article, we’ll share some of the best tips for narrowing down the selection process every time you find yourself needing some new recruits.
The importance of good customer service
Customer service is one of the major contributors to company success. According to research, 52% of consumers say they have ended up making an additional purchase from a company, after receiving a positive customer service experience.
First impressions can count too, especially when there’s so much other competition out there to battle against for the spotlight. Customer service is important because it can help in a number of ways.
- It increases customer loyalty.
- Improve spend per customer.
- Influences how often your customers purchase.
- Good for brand awareness and reputation.
Understanding your customer’s needs is critical and a lot of that knowledge comes from customers interacting with your customer service team.
Six tips to narrow down the selection process
Before you go hiring anyone, it’s useful to know exactly what you need before putting out the job description. Yello found that for all open positions, the majority of recruiters reported their average cost-per-hire at $3,000 or less.
For any business, the cost of recruitment is expensive and so it’s essential to get all those initial details done right. Once you’ve got the applications in and the closing date has arrived, it’s time to narrow down that big pile of resumes.
1. Filter through applications with a criteria.
The first step is to try and filter through as many of the applications as possible to get rid of any that don’t match what you’re looking for. There will be job applications that are submitted and don’t deliver on what you’ve asked for in the job description. Some applicants will simply not pay much attention to what you require.
So with that said, have a criteria. Perhaps you’re looking for a set number of years in a customer-facing role or experience in a customer service position. You’ll find that you’ve culled a big chunk of the resumes by doing this alone.
Being ruthless is critical, otherwise you’ll find yourself (or the poor person responsible for hiring), spending hours going through each and every applicant in detail. Knowing what you want and need is going to help save a lot of time and effort on your recruitment team’s part.
2. Conduct screening calls via phone or video conference.
Screening your candidates makes for good practice before you start interviewing them properly. It can help you get an initial impression of the individual, even if it’s only a five or ten minute call.
Conduct these screening calls via phone or video conference, whatever your preference may be. Pay attention to how they present themselves on camera and when it comes to phone calls, it’s all about their telephone manner.
Make sure that the screening call you make is something that can be done by the candidate as not everyone may have the ability to take video calls. You want to be inclusive to everyone, so be sure to set up the right equipment and check that they have the same available.
Screening calls are a great way to narrow down the process when interviewing, so you don’t want to miss out on this stage.
3. Get your applicants to take a skills test.
This could be a test you conduct before the interview, during or after. When you’re trying to recruit for a specific role, a skills test is a good way of getting an understanding of the candidate’s ability to do the job in mind.
There is a customer service test that you can give to your applicants to complete for further consideration. A candidate may have everything you need from them on paper but when it comes to putting that experience to real-life situations, they may not be as effective as you’d like them to be.
Apparently, it’s estimated that 40% of people lie on their resumes. How would you be able to tell who's lying and who isn’t just by interviewing them face-to-face. A test is a good way to separate those telling the truth and those who may be telling a little white lie on their resume.
4. Assess the quality of their cover letter.
Cover letters are a great way to assess the quality of a candidate because not everyone puts the effort into a cover letter. Whilst not every job listing will ask for one, most tend nowadays to test the attentiveness of the candidate towards the company itself.
It’s good to know what’s inspired them to apply to your company specifically and how much they know about the business, rather than just the role itself.
A cover letter is an expansion of their resume so they should be going into a lot more detail of experience and knowledge they have in the customer service industry. Look out for those who do add detail to their cover letters, rather than being vague.
Cover letters can be time-consuming to go through but this is something that you can do once you’ve whittled down the applicants to the final dozen or so.
5. Ask the right questions in the interview.
The questions you ask your candidates are key and it’s something you want to focus on before conducting the interviews.
There’s nothing worse than coming away from a round or two of interviews and still not having all the information and evidence you need from candidates. So with that in mind, brainstorm your questions with existing members of staff in your customer service’s department where applicable.
By involving other members of staff, you have more input and you’ll be less likely to miss out on crucial information needed to make a decision on who is best for the role.
If you’re worried that there’s not enough questions or you’ve provided too many, then do some mock interviews within your team or organization to get a sense of what’s missing or what can be taken out. It’s better to be over prepared than the opposite after all!
6. Having a ranking system or software in place to track candidates.
To keep track of all your candidates, you may find it useful to have a ranking system or software in place that can keep you informed of who’s who and your feedback on how they performed. This can be very helpful when you have a lot of applicants that you’ve interviewed and possibly separated between different interviewers.
By having everyone on the same page, it can ensure nothing has been forgotten when assessing the candidates individually.
There are a lot of great platforms to provide this for your recruitment drive. Some great suggestions are:
Perfect for small and medium-sized businesses, the cloud-based system helps with applicant tracking. It’s also good for assessing the performance of your existing staff.
Automate key tasks and processes across the entire employment journey with Sage People. Perfect for medium-sized businesses and has multinational capabilities for candidates with different languages.
Benefits of quality hires for your business
There are many benefits to hiring the very best talent for your business. Not only will it help in the short-term but acquiring these individuals will contribute to the future success of the company. Employees are a valuable asset and one that is crucial not to ignore.
Reduce costs of hiring
The cost of hiring is expensive, so the benefit to hiring a quality employee is going to help minimize the costs you spend on recruiting in general. By making a mistake on your recruitment, you’re going to end up spending more money to fix that problem.
Maximizing your productivity during a recruitment drive is essential. There’s a lot of time and resources that can be lost through recruiting, especially if you’re having to repeat it more frequently too. By getting it right the first time, your existing employees can get on with their daily work load without disruption.
Avoid damage of bad hires
There can be a lot of damage caused with bad hires, not only with the time wasted but also the impression it creates for your customers. If you’re not being attentive to your hiring process, you may end up impacting your reputation as a business.
Narrow down the selection processes for your next hires
Narrowing down the selection process for your next hires can be easy to do if you’re delivering attention to detail from start to finish. Provide your candidates with the best experience possible and you’ll encourage more to apply every time you recruit.
Natalie Redman (LinkedIn) is a freelance writer for many clients across multiple industries. Natalie has two years of copywriting experience. Natalie has a wide range of experience copywriting for web pages for businesses across many industries. She’s also an owner of two blog websites and a Youtube content creator.