In any industry, one of the most important factors for a company’s success is the ability to deliver excellent customer service. Whether your company is B2B or B2C, you will be working with customers, and providing good service should be your top priority. After all, it costs more than six times as much money to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, and 60 percent of people are willing to try different companies in a quest to get better service.
The foundation to excellent customer service is, of course, your employees. All the training and policies in the world can only do so much if your employees don’t have a customer service mindset; that is, they are committed to providing an excellent experience to all customers and doing whatever is necessary to ensure satisfaction. Experience in customer service and knowledge of basic principles of customer service is a good start, but you should also look for certain personality clues during the hiring process to ensure that everyone who works in your company has the right mindset.
Social Skills and Manners
Social skills can be evident from the very first interaction with an individual. For instance, how long does it take for a candidate to respond to a phone call or email and set up an interview? If you call and must leave a message, do they return the call promptly and introduce themselves — or do they just say “I received a message” or “I had a missed call from this number.” The way that a prospective employee interacts with you during the hiring process can be a good indication of how they will interact with your clients and customers, and if they have mediocre or poor manners from the start, they aren’t likely to improve.
A Positive Mindset
Working with customers can be challenging. However, retaining a positive and friendly attitude throughout all interactions is key to providing excellent customer service.
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One of the best ways to evaluate whether someone has a positive attitude is to pay close attention to the language they use in both written and spoken communication. According to experts that provide executive resume writing services, there are certain keywords and clues to look for when reviewing applicants to determine whether they have a good attitude. Using positive, active verbs and adjectives to describe work and achievements, for instance, can indicate a positive attitude. Entries that indicate energy, commitment, and motivation are also often a good indicator of positivity. When interviewing a candidate, pay close attention to the language he or she uses in the interview, and the examples they provide, and ask references to provide insight into their overall demeanor.
Good Listening Skills
Great customer service relies on good listening. You want your team to hear what customers are saying, and respond accordingly. When interviewing candidates, look for signs of active listening: They make eye contact, take a few moments before responding, ask thoughtful questions for clarification, and demonstrate empathy and understanding. In many cases, solving customer problems requires reading between the lines and determining the real problem, which the customer may not be able to clearly articulate, so being a good listener is an important trait.
Good Problem Solver
All customer service is about solving problems in one way or another, so you want employees who can not only identify what the real problems are, but take steps to correct them. Asking behavioral-type interview questions that focus on the candidate’s experience in solving problems can help you determine their skill in this area. Look for employees who can evaluate situations and make good decisions that will leave your customers happy.
Finally, people who are great at customer service tend to be very persuasive, and able to “sell” a customer on a solution that will benefit both the customer and the business. They aren’t manipulative, but they know how to present the benefits of the solution in such a way that the customer feels as if he or she has “won” and the problem is solved. Look for resumes that highlight success in sales and marketing, coursework in persuasion and communication, and ask questions in which the candidate must persuade you of something — “Why should I hire you?” is often a solid choice.
Because great service is so important to a successful business, hiring people with a customer service mindset should be a priority. Look for these traits in your candidates, and you will have an effective team and happy customers.