Hiring excellent customer support agents involves selecting candidates who can effectively address a customer’s needs, work well with a team and enhance your team’s culture. The right agents will increase customer satisfaction, enhance customer loyalty and bring added value to your company.
Hiring customer support agents who are not happy, ineffective or not motivated will monopolize managers’ time and energy, decrease team morale, and ultimately tarnish the image of your company. Building a customer support team that will excel should therefore be a priority.
Below are five things you should know when hiring an excellent customer support agent.
Organizational psychologists have found that personality accounts for unique variance in job performance, after removing the effect of cognitive abilities. While choosing candidates that have the cognitive capacity to perform their job well is essential, keep in mind that knowledge about the product they are supporting can be taught.
What cannot be manipulated are the personality characteristics an individual possesses that may or may not make them an ideal candidate. Personality therefore should be considered when screening potential applicants as it an important factor in determining their ability to succeed in their desired position.
Recent research suggests that personality assessments are extremely useful and valid measures for predicting attitudes, job performance, job satisfaction and outcomes in the workplace. Many successful companies have recently been leveraging these powerful tools for hiring practices: 40% of Fortune 100 companies in America and 100% of the top 100 companies in Great Britain used personality tests to screen job applicants. Personality testing is a $400 million industry in the United States and is growing 10% per year. Thus, personality testing is increasing in frequency as an important component of the personnel selection process for many major companies and should be considered essential for any company looking to make strategic hiring decisions.
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The Big Five Personality Factors (aka the Big Five) are five major personality characteristics that exist on a continuum and are strongly correlated with long-term job success. A recent meta-analysis examined the relationship between the Big Five and job performance in individuals employed in the customer service sector. Below is an ordered list of personality characteristics that that are correlated with customer service job performance.
Results indicate that all of the Big Five predict customer service job performance and that conscientiousness is the single best predictor of how well a customer service agent performs at work. Thus, selecting candidates who are considered higher on the conscientious continuum should be made a priority when making hiring decisions. Equip your hiring team with this information and train them to recognize these five personality traits in each candidate.
When hiring, you should always consider how well a potential employee will work within a team setting. Finding the right candidates will facilitate collaboration, boost team morale and enhance team culture. Extraversion, conscientiousness and emotional stability are the only personality constructs from the Big Five that are significantly correlated with team-related behavior and performance. Thus, when considering a potential candidate’s goodness of fit within a team, assessing these three dimensions can be an effective tool.
The selection, administration and interpretation of personality measures in hiring practices should be conducted by a professional with proper training. There are both legal and ethical factors to consider; asking a manager to make these important decisions without proper training can result in legal issues. That being said, when hiring a consultant isn’t within your budget, below are more cost effective solutions.
Hiring the best talent starts with equipping your team with the most effective tools and guidelines that will help them make informed decisions. The use of personality tests when making hiring decisions is essential. It will provide a good return on investment as carefully chosen team members will increase retention rates and reduce employee turnover (and the costs associated with it). It will also increase customer satisfaction, boost team morale and positively influence your team’s culture.
Selecting talented customer support agent with personality traits that will allow them to excel within your company should be made a priority as they may be your most valuable resource.