Who is the ideal candidate for a customer service position? What qualifications should that person have to succeed?
Since customer service in inherently broad in scope, stretching across industries, sectors, and environments, no definitive set of qualifications exists. The skills one needs to deliver great customer service will differ between a wholesale jet fuel company and a strip center ice cream shop.
Yet, despite this diversity of circumstance, all customer service has human interaction at its core. No matter the situation, customer service is always about people helping other people, and as such, certain attributes are universally helpful for customer facing professionals (CFP’s) to have.
Below are 7 key qualifications for customer service that are essential for every customer service representative:
The customer service qualifications above are by no means comprehensive, but they do serve as a great starting point. The challenge with these qualifications is that most of them are not hard skills but psychological dispositions that are notoriously difficult to suss out in the interview process.
Without getting into formal predictive employment testing, you can attempt to get an idea about a candidate’s fitness in these areas by crafting strategically-worded interview questions, including role play scenarios, that help the candidate drop their interview face and show a glimpse of the person behind the mask.
You can also find out a great deal by carefully crafting your reference call questions to determine what a previous boss might have noticed in these areas — assuming, of course, that you can actually get a substantive reference in the current environment.
No matter whether you are hiring a new employee or trying to evaluate a current employee, understanding the qualifications for customer service listed above will greatly assist you in determining who has the ability to excel at customer service in your organization.
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.