Good staff these days are hard to find

Finding new staff is time consuming and expensive - so how do you find great customer service staff?

No matter how clever you are with wording and images, advertising for staff these days often attracts all kinds of people with various qualifications, experience and skills - or none at all.

Then there's the trawling through countless pages of applications and resumes - looking for the right combination of experience, skill and attitude.

So do resumes and job applications reflect what these people will be like as employees?

Here are some things to think about when next recruiting customer service staff:

Know and say exactly what you are looking for in a staff member

Whether you use recruitment agencies, advertise online or put a notice in your shop window, describe the person you are looking for:

  • Happy cheerful barista who loves serving our customers great coffee!
  • Confident and knowledgeable salesperson who has a passion for demonstrating our range of electronics
  • Qualified nurse who cares about the welfare of our patients and their families

Ditch any application that doesn't give you what you want

Don't waste your time trying to read between the lines. If someone can't take the time and effort to address your criteria, are they committed to working with you?

Phone all interviewees personally

Take note of how they answer their own phone and engage with you - it provides great insight into how they present themselves.

Interview waiting area

In most cases, interviewees are ushered into an office waiting area prior to their interview. Instead, why not place them in the middle of your business and get someone to ask them a simple question regarding the business ie. Can you tell me where I can get a trolley?
How they answer - what they say and how they say it - shows how committed they are to providing service.

ask meaningful questions

We've all been subject to the standard questions - tell us about yourself, why do you want this job etc etc.  

Here's some different approaches to consider:

  • Ask how they prepared for the interview.  Some may say - I had a shower, got my mate to drop me off, bought a new suit........ but what you are looking for is what they have found out about who you are and what you do.
  • Ask about the worse experience they have had as a customer....and then the best experience they had and why - this will demonstrate their empathy towards customers.
  • Ask what they hope to learn from the job - this shows a greater understanding of the business and it's operations.

There's no perfect method for recruiting or testing customer service skills until they are on job - so ensure that you are clear with your expectations of how customer service is delivered, train your staff appropriately and watch, listen and communicate. 

Lisa Thomas