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Top Traits to Look For in Customer Service Talent

February 5th, 2016

Your company’s reputation, your bottom line, and your financial future all depend on the group of hard working professionals who stand between the company and the public and serve as ambassadors for your brand. So when you hire a candidate for a customer service position, you only want the best. Keep in mind that your customers have access to online review sites and are likely to share their experience with a wider audience, for better or worse. So if your customer service team can protect this experience and associate your brand with positive feelings, you’ll come out ahead. Here are a few traits to look for during the selection process.

Friendly confidence

Within the first ten minutes of your interview session, ask yourself a few quick mental questions: would you turn to this person if you needed help or an answer to a question? Would you follow their advice? If your candidate’s demeanor puts you at ease, that’s a great sign. If they seem comfortable in their own skin and make you feel comfortable in yours, that’s even better.

Experience with pressure.

Ask your candidate a few behavioral questions in order to assess her professional experience. For example, ask her to describe a situation in which she dealt with an unhappy customer under challenging circumstances. What were the specifics and how did she respond? If you appreciate the story (whatever it may be), that’s good news. But if the candidate can’t recall such an episode—or worse, if her idea of a “challenging” situation doesn’t measure up to yours—make a note of it.

Tenacity

When life presents us with a problem, most of us make a few easy attempts to solve it, and if these don’t work, we ignore the problem until it goes away (which problems often do). But in customer service, this approach just won’t sail. Will your candidate go the distance to resolve customer concerns? Will he apply a combination of knowledge, common sense, and critical thinking until the customer walks away happy? Or will he look for the fastest and easiest way to end the interaction?

Teamwork

This trait can be essential in a customer service environment, so you’ll need to ask a few pointed questions to determine how your candidate steps up to lead and steps back to follow when necessary.
Willingness to learn new things

This customer service role may involve a software system or a set of communications equipment that your candidate has never used before. Can this candidate handle a steep learning curve? Again, a few behavioral questions can help you use his or her past to make predictions about the future.

For more on how to find the candidates who can meet your needs and contribute to your team, reach out to the Connecticut staffing professionals at Merritt.

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