Every company needs to think about how they can give customers better experiences that can compete, and that all starts with a great customer support team. Great service can help build relationships: 57% of people said customer service makes them feel loyal to a brand. So how do you hire the right people? Here are some ideas that will help you attract and maintain a stellar crew to keep your customers happy.
It all starts with your job post. Think about what your company needs in a customer support rep, then craft your post to reel in candidates who fit the bill. You’ll want to find people with certain customer service skills, like the ability to listen with empathy, stay cool under pressure, and provide support across channels (social media, chat, e-mail, phone, etc.)
You get the idea. Those are skills you can list in the job posting! As a place to start, you can look for previous job descriptions and recycle the parts that make sense. And, it’s always a good idea to get input from the people this role would work with directly. If you’re feeling stuck, it can help you narrow down on the bare-bones requirements, and what you’d see as bonus skills.
You have a few candidates selected so now it’s time to actually talk to them. Just like them, you want to make a good first impression. Ask probing questions to encourage the candidate to give thoughtful answers. This will also help illuminate the way they think. Did they do some homework on your company? Sign up for a free trial of your product? It shows initiative and demonstrates they actually want to work with you.
Whether it’s a Zoom call or an in-person meeting, keep it conversational so your candidate doesn’t feel like they’re being interrogated. Share a little about yourself to help them feel more comfortable. As you get to know each other, ask yourself: Can they answer your questions? Are they able to provide real examples, not just hypotheticals? Do they seem excited about the job? Jot down your thoughts for when it’s time to make a hiring decision.
Happy employees = happy customers. When your customer support team feels good and has a positive attitude, it shows in how they work with your customers. Let’s face it: even the best organizations will have days when things get rough. So keeping your team motivated is the secret to your company’s success. There are some things managers can do to foster a positive work environment.
Employee recognition is one of the keys to motivation, but only if you do it right. When your employees don’t understand why they’re getting an award, it can backfire. Not only can that be demotivating, but it can also make other teammates wonder why they didn’t get the award. Make sure you identify and clearly communicate the criteria for any award so that people understand what they need to do to be contenders. And don’t play favorites. Every person that qualifies for the award under the criteria you set should be honored.
Rewards don’t have to be shiny trophies given by leadership—your staff can reward one another, too. Encourage a supportive employee culture by letting them Yammer a shout-out for special achievements or great work. It can be incredibly motivating when your coworkers notice your hard work.
Beyond praise, leadership needs to be present. Make sure they show up for team meetings and talk with employees. There’s nothing worse than a leader who sits in their office making decisions without getting input from their team. By carving out some time on the front lines, leadership can be better informed about what road to take. And, since feedback goes both ways, it’s important for employees to share their opinions with leadership. It’s not enough to just say “my door is always open if you want to stop in.” People are more likely to speak up when they don’t feel at risk, so consider an anonymous way for employees to share their thoughts with leadership. Then, make sure to read the comments and answer them, so employees know they’ve been heard.
The need for customer support isn’t going anywhere, but it is evolving to meet modern demands. Companies that want to compete are investing in great customer support to create better experiences and foster deeper relationships.
Bio: Erin Hueffner is a content marketing manager at Zendesk. She has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing and editorial writing, and earned her degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.