According to Gartner survey, 89% of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience.
At the same time, 62% of companies already view customer experience delivered by the Contact Centers as a competitive advantage (Deloitte), and by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as a competitive differentiator (Walker).
Therefore, if you want your business to grow and your customers to stay loyal, you have to hire the best possible call center team.
Call center representatives are the voice of the company. They directly impact the revenue and reputation of your business, and you need to to be fully informed to find the best fit for your team.
To be the best, your candidate has to have the right skill set, background and personality, but what exactly are the ideal traits of a call center candidate?
Here’s what four Customer Service and Call Center influencers had to say when we asked them the question:
“When it comes to hiring Call Center representatives, what traits do you absolutely look for in candidates and which ones do you avoid?”
Shep Hyken, Customer Service and Experience Expert, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author (Twitter @Hyken)
Call center experience is nice, but a great background to look for is someone coming from the hospitality industry; specifically hotels or restaurants.
They have a service background and a “hospitality mentality” that will resonate with customers.
It’s easy to teach someone the technical skills for a support center, as in product knowledge and how to use the software, but It’s not so easy to teach the soft skills that endear customers to the company.
Jeremy Watkin, Director of Customer Experience at First Call Resolution (Twitter @jtwatkin)
At a very basic level I look for contact center professionals who are pleasant to converse with. After all they’re going to be speaking with our customers all day, every day.
They should be able to communicate clearly and effectively, carry on a robust conversation, and also know when to be quiet and actively listen. All of these skills are as important in written communication as they are on the phone. Finally, I’m looking for people who are willing to take ownership of each customer encounter, working tirelessly to solve problems.
While experience and knowledge are important, they are much easier to train than the aforementioned people skills.
Eddy Hansen, Department Manager of One Stop Support at Kvik (LI @eddyhansen)
I try to find someone that I feel can convey a smile through the phone, someone who can think on their feet and is not afraid to take a decision.
I try to avoid someone who is too detail oriented because most times that means someone who takes too long with decisions and getting things done. In my opinion most times you only need 80% of the info or knowledge on a case or issue to be able to take a decision. But as a manager you also need to create an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes, then people will not be afraid to make their own decisions.
Marco Houthuijzen, Product Evangelist at Knowingo (LI @houthuijzen)
My answer to your question is: I hire character and train skill.
First of all: does this candidate’s character/personality contribute to the team’s strengths? I trust my experience (gut feeling) to decide on that.
Secondly, is the candidate a good listener? Last but not least, is the candidate a problem solver?
Finding a call center representative is easy; finding the best candidate for your business is much trickier! Not everyone has years of experience of hiring call center candidates and not all of us can afford to simply trust a gut feeling.
Luckily, you are hiring in the information age! We incorporated years of scientific research, cutting edge artificial intelligence and custom-designed algorithms into CallCenterHiring.Guru, a hiring resource that will help you predict the results of your hiring before you even start!