The Most Important Competency for Great Customer Support Agents


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FurstPerson did research to find out the most highly rated competencies for the job family of customer care and found the #1 agent competency for successful customer care performance was compliance.

The type of compliance they looked at was defined as:

“…following rules, policies, and guidelines.”

Now, if you are in a highly regulated industry, such as medical devices, this is a given. But it seems that compliance is important outside the regulatory realm as well, in both home agents and on-premises agents.

The world is increasingly driven by data and the information that can be wrung from it. This means that specific pieces of data are needed from each and every customer contact in order to have accurate information. Every agent must understand that the accuracy of the data they put into the system will impact the information gleaned from it. Those who do not understand are unlikely to create accurate records. The information will be compromised and ineffective for running the business.

Many customer service and support software packages can be set up to require agents to fill in certain fields or even limit the data points by requiring a choice from a drop down menu or list. But that can be unwieldy depending on the industry and issues, plus there is still no guarantee that the data point entered is the correct one; it may merely be the most convenient one (i.e. the one at the top of the list).

How to find out if your candidates have a handle on compliance? Work samples, testing, and simulations are all good ways to find out how well someone follows instructions or rules; some places use self reporting or personality assessments.

Once they are on the job, it can be easier determining how well rules are being followed. In this case, you must be prepared to jettison someone who is not measuring up. While it can be difficult and expensive to find that one right person, remember how expensive using incorrect data could be to your business.

You need to be able to trust that data in order to use the information to keep your business going. You may lose much more money in the long run from non-compliant data entry and reporting than you can lose by letting a low performer go and hiring a new one.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jody Pellerin
Jody Pellerin is the Director of Marketing for PhaseWare, Inc. a provider of customer service and support software. PhaseWare helps companies optimize customer service and support with powerful, affordable solutions for incident management, knowledge management, SLA management, and more. Pellerin has authored several white papers and case studies about customer service and support practices including using live chat, optimizing multichannel support, and a guide for on-premise versus on-demand software.


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