Hiring a customer-service specialist: the definitive guide

Hiring a customer-service specialist: the definitive guide

Hiring a customer-service specialist: the definitive guide

Customer service is the bedrock on which companies build their brands. Excellent customer service is what separates firms that keep making a profit in an ever-changing market from those that simply fail and end up forgotten. 

Customers remember how a certain brand made them feel when they were shopping for them. If you build a good relationship with your customers, they will stick around and buy from you again. If they have one bad experience, 39 percent of them will leave.[1] Make it two bad experiences, and 71 percent are gone. 

It is therefore vital for businesses to maintain and develop their customer journeys in order to retain as many customers as possible. After all, happy customers become brand ambassadors, bringing in new leads and generating more revenue for you.

As such, hiring a skilled customer-service specialist might be your best bet to achieve your business goals. 

A customer-service specialist is someone who ensures every customer is well looked after. They see to it that customers receive the products or services they paid for and get answers to their queries. 

When looking to hire a customer-service specialist, you should use a pre-employment assessment like TestGorilla’s Customer Service test to help evaluate candidates’ core skills and get the very best. 

This article will explain in more detail what a customer-service specialist does, what skills and knowledge they should possess, and how to go about hiring one. 

Table of contents

What duties will your customer-service specialist perform? 

customer service specialist duties

A customer-service specialist has many duties. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Answering calls and replying to messages and emails
  • Managing customer queries and handling complaints
  • Processing orders
  • Managing customer accounts
  • Generating new leads 
  • Keeping records 
  • Going the extra mile when it comes to customer satisfaction 

You can expect your customer-service specialist to cover all these duties. Of course, new employees will gain hands-on experience and additional skills on the job, but you also want to hire someone already proficient in most of these areas. 

The most important skills every customer-service specialist should possess

As with any other job, there are certain skills that every customer-support specialist should possess. These include: 

1. Strong communication skills

Hiring someone who can clearly express their ideas, both in written and verbal forms, is crucial for every customer service job. You can use TestGorilla’s Communication test to assess if candidates can listen to and interpret information effectively, use professional etiquette, and summarize and reproduce information correctly. 

2. Ability to resolve problems

As with any customer-centric job, problems are bound to happen at some point. Your candidate should be able to resolve problems, leaving customers satisfied with the solution they provided. 

3. Multitasking

The ability to do several things at once is rare, but it’s a must-have skill for customer-service specialists. Those who can successfully carry out their tasks without making a mess are the ones to look out for. 

4. Time management

As with multitasking, time management is another core skill for this job. Having multiple responsibilities at all times requires excellent organization skills. People who can prioritize tasks in order of importance while keeping up with customer demands are your ideal candidates. 

Define why you need a customer-service specialist at your company

define why you need customer service specialist

Before starting your hiring process, you need to ask yourself why your company needs a customer-service specialist in the first place.

You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

1. Are you experiencing a workload increase that cannot be managed by your current customer-support team?

Your customer team may be struggling with the workload, which will be evident from their performance – how many deals they closed, how many orders they processed, and their general motivation for work. 

In addition, you might start receiving negative reviews on your product or service from customers. If you are experiencing such issues, it might be the right time to hire an additional customer-service specialist. 

2. Did you expand your customer base?

Another reason to hire more people is that you recently underwent an expansion in your business. You landed new customers, you opened another brick-and-mortar shop, or your advertisement strategy is simply working wonders. Whatever the cause, you may need more customer-support specialists to handle the increased workload. 

Once you define why you need to hire staff, you need to determine exactly what you’re looking for. Ask yourself the following questions:

3. What does your ideal candidate look like? 

Your ideal customer-support specialist will differ depending on the field in which your company operates. Do you need someone who is quick on their toes and can get as much work done as possible?

Or you need someone who can chat away and woo customers simply by talking to them? Look at your niche and decide what business route to take when hiring a new customer specialist. 

4. Which of the above skills are important in your field? 

Some of the skills mentioned above may not be related to your business. You may have a specific service or product that needs a particular set of skills not usually found in the labor market. Perhaps you want someone without much experience so you can train them yourself. Work around the concept of skills and experience and clearly define what you need before deciding to hire another client-service specialist. 

Answering these questions first will help you better structure your hiring process. 

The next section will give you a rundown of the steps you need to follow to make your hiring process a breeze. 

Hiring a customer-service specialist: a step-by-step guide

In this section, you’ll find a step-by-step guide explaining the process of hiring a talented customer-service specialist.

Use it to find your next CS expert quickly and efficiently.

1. Define the role based on your company needs

As mentioned above, first of all you need to define the role of the new customer-service specialist based on your company’s current needs. Once you know the profile of the person you want, you’re ready to begin the hiring process. 

2. Write a job ad and post it

How you write an ad for a job role can significantly impact the number of resumes you receive, not to mention the quality of the candidates that apply. 

You want to write a clear message, describing what you’re looking for, what skills and experience the job requires, and what remuneration you will give. By stating all the prerequisites clearly, candidates will understand what you expect from them, and you can hold them accountable if they don’t perform according to the job description. 

Once you write your ad, post it to your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social media accounts you have. After that, wait for the applications to start flying in. 

3. Create a skills assessment method

Your next step is to create an assessment method to evaluate your candidates’ experience and abilities. 

TestGorilla has created a Customer Service test to identify suitable candidates for your open role. It tests if applicants can understand customer queries and complaints, evaluate a situation and decide on appropriate solutions, interact with customers with the appropriate language and courtesy, and ensure a customer is left with a positive impression. 

4. Invite candidates to take the assessment

When you have enough applications and your assessment method is ready, invite candidates to take the test. Everyone will have the same amount of time to complete the test and you can be assured no one will be able to cheat, thanks to the built-in anti-cheating software. 

5. Analyze results

After everyone has completed the assessment, you can easily analyze the results to see who your top candidates are. TestGorilla’s assessments provide you with intuitive analysis reports. You can see who scored the highest marks and candidates will be sorted by percentages. Those on the top are the ones you want to invite for an interview. 

6. Invite successful candidates for an interview

During the interview stage, you will get to know your potential hires better. Here, you have a chance to ask specific questions to give you more insight into how they think and plan around certain customer-specific situations. You’re also looking for strong communication skills, the ability to solve problems, and qualities such as empathy and understanding. 

7. Make a hiring decision

Once you’re happy with the interviewing process, you will have a better understanding of the people you want to hire. One or two candidates should really stand out. Now, you must decide which one will be the best culture add to your company – or, if you have the budget and the need for it, you can hire both. 

8. Inform unsuccessful candidates

A final note here is to inform unsuccessful candidates about your decision. Doing this will help you stand out from your competitors who rarely give feedback, and you will show how important customer and employee satisfaction is to you. This will show you in a positive light as an employer who “talks the talk and walks the walk.” 

9. Extend an offer

Finally, extend an offer to your preferred candidate(s). Give them feedback about why you chose them and reiterate what you expect from them once they start the job. Don’t forget to prepare an in-depth onboarding program to really get the most of your new customer support specialist.  

Hire top customer-service specialists with TestGorilla

Hiring a customer-service specialist is the best way to ensure you have happy customers, thus increasing your overall profits. Finding people with a sterling track record is easier now than ever before. 

TestGorilla’s Customer Service test will help you identify candidates with appropriate experience and know-how. By using this assessment method, you’re leaving the guesswork aside, so you can be certain you’ll be left with the top candidates out there. 

Sources:

  1. CX Trends 2022. Zendesk. Retrieved on September 29, 2022

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