Customer Service Starts With Your Staff



Peggy Carlaw
06/28/2010

I just read an interesting article in Inc. by Tali Yahalom called "How to Improve Your Company’s Customer Service." In it, she says that improving your customer service starts with your staff. She then goes on to talk about establishing service levels, using online tools like CRM systems, etc. I agree with Tali. These all pale in comparison to her first point: having the right people talking with customers and the right people in front-line supervisory positions.

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We’re a training company and I’d like to put a plug in for our training but really, just as important as training, is hiring the right people. If your representatives and managers have positive, upbeat, customer-focused attitudes, training is easy!

Too often we see companies skimp on hourly wages for reps and supervisors or rush through the hiring process and expect that training will make superstars out of everyone. Nope. Sorry. What we see from our end when we deal with companies like this, is hundreds of dollars (OK…tens of thousands sometimes) rolling out the door due to turnover. The wrong people are hired and they either wash out during training or they make it through to the call floor where they make their customers, managers, and co-workers miserable. A few weeks or months later, they’re gone. And the company is out the cost of hiring, training, and possibly the loss of a few customers.

If this sounds familiar:

  • Create a profile of your ideal representative based on the stellar performers you currently employ. What skills do they have? How do they demonstrate their customer-focused attitude?
  • Review your hiring practices. Are you paying a fair wage for this type of work in your area? How do you assess applicants? Do you need to use testing? If so, what kind? Test your current employees to identify scoring ranges across your high and low performers.
  • Track the results of your new profile and processes and adjust as needed.
  • Readers: If you have tips to share with others on interviewing techniques or hiring assessments for call center agents or supervisors, please leave a reply.
First published on impactlearning.com