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What you need to know when hiring your first customer support representative.
Customer support is the new marketing. And your customer support representatives are the face of your organization. The experience of your customer with your product or organization is directly dependent on the kind of service they receive from your customer support representatives. Therefore when you hire someone for customer service, you need to look for attitude, technical skills (wherever applicable) and soft skills. We have laid down some factors that can help you in understanding what makes a candidate a potential customer service representative for your organization, how to identify, and hire them.
Handling support tickets and customers of different kinds can be quite challenging. So, one of the most essential qualities to look for in a customer support representative is high level of empathy. Without it, reps can break quickly and it may reflect badly on how a customer conversation is handled. They need to have the ability to handle frustrated customers.
Troubleshooting ability doesn’t necessarily mean technical ability, but the ability to take a scientific approach or perform a root cause analysis when they approach an issue. It is also important to look for the customer service representative’s ability to anticipate a customer’s need in advance and go the extra mile in proactively offering the solution.
Your customer service reps need to be the internal voice of the customer, who will continuously take feedback from the customer and try to push them into the development queue. Of course this comes with their ability to judge what’s mutually beneficial for the company and the customer, and if it’s worth pursuing it.
Being a great customer service representative isn’t just about their ability to solve problems for the customer, but being able to find easier and clever ways to do so. And the creativity also extends to how they respond to a situation. The phrasing of a response makes all the difference. For example, “Logging out and logging back in should help resolve this” sounds much better than “Can you log out please?”
The ability to communicate effectively with the customer is key. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should look for the vocabulary and language skills. Effective communication is all about making sure the communication to the customer is simple and easy to understand. For example, at times, it makes more sense to say that the issue will be resolved in 4 hours than explaining the technical issue at depth.
How has been the interview process so far? Whom all did you have a chance to talk to? - Listen for their ability to remember roles, and the topics discussed
Would you like to share your past experiences and what you really enjoyed doing? Also share some light on what you don’t want to be doing? - Understand their passion and look for a fit with your current team
Examples of issues that you resolved and interesting situations you came across? - Try to understand their critical thinking abilities and creative approach to handle the situation.
How do you respond to questions that you might not have an answer for? - Look for the approach and strategy
How do you respond when a customer points out a known bug which is not resolved for long? - Look for the ability to handle the situation
While the above set of questions are only an example, feel free to have your own set of questions that will help you discover how well the candidate fits into your team and your long term strategy.
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Training and getting your new customer support representative upto speed is not only important for your business but also for your customers. The successful first month or two of your customer support rep’s training is indicative of their long-term success.
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