Here’s a scary fact.
Your customer service representatives could be causing your business heavy losses.
In fact, businesses lose up to $75 billion a year because of bad customer service. 🤯
The bottom line?
You can’t have great marketing without awesome customer service representatives.
It’s a fact, fam.
In the past nine years of running my content agency, Express Writers, I can’t reinforce enough how true of a statement this is. When we do have the right people in our customer service representative team, 85-90% of prospects who start a chat with us convert into customers.
So, how can you do it, too? How do you:
- Find the right people to hire as customer service representatives?
- Know how to differentiate between great and awful picks in the hiring process?
- Lead your team of representatives, so you keep winning by keeping your customers happy?
In this blog, I’ll answer all your questions.
Let’s dive in!Businesses lose up to $75 billion/year due to bad customer service (@forbes). 🤯 Great marketing doesn't work without awesome customer service reps. Learn to find the right hires and lead your team to keep your customers happy ❤ Click To Tweet
What Is a Customer Service Representative?
A customer service representative is a person who interacts with your customers.
You already know about customer contact centers, where callers go when they need help with problems or questions. Solving these problems and answering these questions is what customer service representatives do.
At Express Writers, my customer service representatives are the first people potential clients talk to. They’re our front liners: the experts who give buyers their first glimpse of what they can expect if they decide to work with us.
No wonder they have to be (and are) so awesome!
What Do Customer Service Representatives Do?
There’s more than meets the eye in the job customer service representatives do.
Here’s a list of their most important duties:
- Listening to customers’ concerns and needs
- Helping potential customers understand product information
- Taking new orders
- Processing billing
- Taking care of customers’ accounts
- Solving problems and issues behind complaints
- Taking care of returns and cancellations
Being a customer service representative is more than just picking up a phone call and answering a few questions.
It’s being a company’s voice, heart, and soul.
Customer service reps should be your company's voice 🗣, heart 💗, and soul 🕊. Find the right people to embody your company's vision, and you'll notice huge gains. Click To Tweet
And when you find the right people to embody your company’s vision, you’ll notice a huge change in your success level.
Why It’s Important to Hire the Right Customer Service Representatives
Ever eat at a restaurant with a grumpy, frowning waitress who acted annoyed by your little requests?
I bet the experience was unpleasant. You probably picked another place to eat the next time you dined out.
That’s how important customer service representatives are. They’re the people who determine if customers love or hate you. They can make or break your business.
“But what if I have a great product? Won’t they skip over my unpleasant customer service representatives?”
Well, yes. Maybe some of them will.
But remember, you have competitors. And customers are picky about spending their money.
In fact, 90% of Americans consider customer service an important factor when deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
When asked what made them fall in love with a brand, 73% said it was friendly customer services representatives.
According to a HubSpot survey, 80% of customers stop doing business with a company due to bad customer services.
And what happens when you keep losing customers?
You spend more, since it’s 5x more expensive to gain new customers than to retain existing ones.
So, you can put all your bets on your products and pray your customers will ignore your bad customer service…
But chances are you’ll still see your sales dropping and your faithful followers abandoning you for your competitors.
How to Find and Hire Excellent Customer Service Representatives
So now you’re sorting through the piles of resumes on your desk (or computer).
You’re not sure what to look for. The right degree? 5 years of experience? 10? Awards, maybe?
Hint: None of these will tell you if you’re hiring the right customer service representative.
Here are three things to look for instead.
1. People Who Are Hungry
Average people spend 22 years of their lives learning, and then stop.
Geniuses spend their whole lives learning.
Michelangelo was one of them. “Ancora Imparo,” he said at age 87. I’m still learning.
And while you probably can’t hire another Michelangelo, you CAN find people who share his hunger for learning.
They’re not hard to miss. They’re always craving knowledge. Always stretching for growth, even when it’s uncomfortable. They’re eager for challenges, hungry for new skills, and willing to step out of their comfort zones.
These are the people you should hire.
According to John Brubaker in his Entrepreneur article, “You don’t have to micromanage the hungry. They’re so self-motivated they’ll push themselves harder than you could push them.”
2. People Who Are Humble
When I started out hiring my own customer services representatives, I was attracted to the same things that catch a ton of interviewers’ eyes.
The decades of experience. The awards. The numerous accolades.
And no, there’s nothing wrong with these.
But surprisingly (or not), the people with all these credentials are sometimes the hardest to work with. They’re 100% sure of their skills. They’re inflexible and unwilling to grow and learn. They don’t take criticism positively.
On the other hand, it’s a dream to work with humble people. Even if they aren’t as experienced. They’re open to learn and change, and it won’t be long before they overtake others with more experience.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A great man is always willing to be little.”
Take his advice and go for great in the hiring process.
3. People Who Are Smart
Smart doesn’t necessarily mean degrees, honors, or awards.
It means wit, flexibility, and the ability to learn fast.
When hiring, look for people who think outside of the box. Look for individuals who are empathetic, quick to pick up new information, and determined not to give up on problems until they’re solved.How to hire amazing customer service reps to complement your marketing: 1️⃣ Find people hungry for growth & knowledge 2️⃣ Find humble people 3️⃣ Find fast-learning smarties - people with wit & flexibility ✅ Click To Tweet
How to Lead a Great Team of Customer Service Representatives
Of course, hiring is just the first step on a long journey of leading your team of customer service representatives.
To gain their loyalty, prepare them for dealing with customers, and enjoy their best work, follow these four steps.
1. Focus on Results
Give your representatives freedom.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them guidelines on how to do their job. You should.
But once they’re trained and ready, let them choose their own schedules. Allow them to solve problems in their own unique ways. Give them the flexibility to think outside of the box when they need to.
If you work remotely, ditch the apps that take random screenshots of their computer screens. Stop nitpicking and asking for detailed reports covering every minute of their day. Trust them, and you’ll be amazed with the trust and loyalty you gain back.
This is so true with my own team of customer services representatives. I’m overwhelmed with how much trusting them and focusing on results has made them happier and harder workers.
“A sense of freedom — the ability to choose what you work on, as well as how, when, and where you perform your work — is a growing priority for talented professionals across sectors and industries, and one of the core elements of a fulfilling career.” – Harvard Business Review
2. Train Your Reps to Make Customers Feel They’re #1
When customers reach out, they’re looking for a “wow” experience with a company. They want to feel valued, special, and listened to.
So, if there’s one thing you can teach your customer services representatives, it’s empathy. You want them to step into your customers’ shoes. See the world with their eyes. Understand their needs and problems, and desire to solve them.
A great example is one of our customer service team members, Content Strategist Kira. What she does is go back and forth with prospective clients, answering their questions and providing them with the information they’re looking for. On live chat, she doesn’t even ask for their email right away, so they never feel like they’re being “turned into leads” or “moved down the funnel.”
Our chatbot (punnily named “The Write Bot”) is only set up during offline hours. During working hours, I always make sure there’s a real human our customers can reach out to.
3. Encourage Self-Growth
You don’t want your customer service representatives to be like robots. You don’t want them churning out information they’re reading on a pre-made script.
Instead, you want them to be the voice of your company. You want them to be experts on what your company stands for and does, so customers feel they’re in excellent hands.
To do this, always encourage your representatives to grow. Train them, give them access to free materials and books, and dig up amazing resources for them.
This is how I do it at my agency. I give my team access to my courses and books, recommend blogs and authors to follow, and even curate content for them to read. The more they grow their expertise, the more they can gain trust from customers.
4. Create a Family Feeling
Make sure your customer service representatives feel supported. Let them know you (and other team members) will always be there when they have problems or questions.
This is exactly what we do at Express Writers. I created a special channel on Slack called #offtopic for my key members. On this channel, my team can chat about their day, share their experiences, and enjoy a close family feeling.
Great Customer Service Representatives Go a Long Way
You can create the best product or service in the world…
…and still be abandoned and ignored by customers because of bad customer experience.
So if you’ve been seeing a drop in sales or getting bad reviews, it’s time to step up your game and hire great customer service representatives.
You’ll be amazed by the difference this makes.