What Makes a Great CSR?

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CS-blog-picHiring quality customer service reps (or anyone, really) is a challenge. Customer service is a difficult job to excel at; and the difficulty of hiring for it is compounded by the fact that it’s generally a low paying position that’s not very appealing to many. Additionally, contact centers usually have a very high attrition rate, which means that you’re in a constant uphill battle of trying to hire quality new agents.

As the trainer at a contact center, I constantly got to see past the resumé and see what agents were truly like. What I noticed is that the hiring managers at this location were stuck in a rut of hiring people based purely on experience in other contact centers. While these people generally knew the workings of a contact center, often times many of them had been in the industry far too long and had simply burned out on the position entirely.

How many times have you gotten off the phone with a CSR, and thought to yourself “That person does not belong in Customer Service”. This is all too often the end result of someone who’s been in that position too long and has burned out, or wasn’t a good fit in the first place. This type of interaction is what leads to CSR’s bouncing from company to company, and to providing poor customer experiences.

After identifying this as an issue, we revamped what we wanted to have in a CSR entirely. Rather than focusing on experience, we started to focus on personality; friendliness, ability to hold a conversation, and personality. We spent the interview evaluating how the candidate was as a person, rather than what they looked like on a resume. This led us to our hiring mantra; “Would you want to work with this person every day?”.

This realization led us to what really makes a great CSR; the same thing that makes someone fun to be around; being intelligent enough to pick up process, friendly enough to be able to chat with anyone, anytime, and finally, positive enough to be able to always keep a smile on their face, even when calls are getting rough. If you can revamp your hiring to focus on CSRs like that, you can count on an ultimate increase in your customer experience.