Is There Such a Thing as the Perfect Candidate for a Customer Service Job?

The Myth of Finding the Ideal Customer Service Representative

Executives know that the customer service team drives a business’s success. They make – or break – the customer’s experience which, in turn, impacts profits. It’s logical that a business wants to find the perfect candidate for these roles. But is there a cost to waiting for the perfect candidate?

An employee contributes between one and three times their salary in value to an organization. Using a calculator from ASE and the average salary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a single unfilled role in customer service costs a business between $162 and $488 per day.

If vacant positions are hurting your company’s bottom line, it’s time to re-think your approach to hiring. Learn how adjusting – not lowering – your expectations can help you fill positions quickly and effectively.

The Costs of Waiting for the Perfect Candidate

Customer service jobs, especially in call centers, suffer from high rates of burnout and employee turnover. A vacant position compounds this problem, by thrusting additional work onto your existing staff. When customer service agents are forced to manage a higher volume of customers, it’s inevitable that the customer service experience will suffer.

Focus on Finding a Good Candidate (Not the Perfect One)

It’s rare to find an applicant who meets every requirement in your job posting, but other businesses are in the same position. If your competitors can succeed with the available pool of talent, you can as well. Try adjusting your approach by using these strategies.

Consider Their Potential to Learn

When reviewing resumes, you shouldn’t automatically toss aside an application that lacks customer service experience. Look for transferable skills that a candidate brings to the role, especially their potential to learn.

Be open-minded to considering evidence beyond the workplace. Self-taught musicians or bilingual candidates, for example, have proven they can grasp new concepts.

Candidates who can learn new skills quickly are an asset to any business. Their productivity will quickly match that of their more experienced peers.

Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills

Success in customer service jobs depends as much on attitude as experience. Using your customer database or point-of-sale system can be taught. It’s more difficult to change a conflicting attitude.

Consider each candidate’s long-term potential. Are they positive, motivated, and committed? Investing time in training is warranted, if it means gaining an employee who is a good fit in every other way.

Value Progress Over Perfection

We don’t expect perfection from our spouses, children, or friends. You shouldn’t expect it from your staff either. When an employee is new to your organization, it’s inevitable that mistakes will happen.

During the interview, include a question or two asking the candidate how they handled mistakes at previous jobs. Were they quick to blame the error on external forces? Or did they use it as an opportunity to learn? The goal is to aim for progress from your employees, not for perfection.

Prioritize Your Corporate Culture

There is a saying that ‘people are hired for their track record but fired for their personality’. In your enthusiasm to hire a candidate who fits your requirements, don’t neglect your corporate culture. A potential employee’s values and personality should align with those of your company.

Use Your Job Requirements as a Guide, Not a Rule

Think of a professional in your life who you count on and respect. Perhaps you’ll only take your car to a certain mechanic, or you rely on a tutor who is teaching your child to read. Remember: they likely didn’t have all the skills listed in their job postings, but this doesn’t exclude them from being great at what they do.

Staffing experts believe applicants should progress to the interview stage if they meet 75% of the qualifications. The interview allows you to understand who the candidate is as a person and as a professional.

Hire for Your Customer Service Jobs

When you stop trying to find the perfect candidate, you can focus on hiring the absolute best ones – the candidates who have the right attitude, the ability to learn, and who are the right fit for your corporate culture.

There are applicants currently available who would be keen to move forward with you. With years of experience in staffing, Lakeshore Talent can suggest candidates who can grow into valuable members of your customer service team. Contact us to discuss your staffing needs.