Choosing the right employees for your customer service center is critical to retaining customers. Not everyone is suited to deal with complaints from the public. Understanding what qualities the ideal customer support candidate should possess will make the recruitment and interviewing process more efficient.

Qualities to Look For in a Customer Service Representative
When it comes to customer support, it's a mistake to assume that because a job candidate has customer service experience that he or she will be a good employee. In general, look for the following traits in a customer support staff candidate:

  • A friendly manner
  • A commitment to service
  • Strong decision-making skills
  • The ability to remain calm under pressure

Look Inside before You Go Outside to Recruit Customer Service Representatives
Knowing what to look for in a candidate makes the recruitment process run more smoothly. You may want to begin by looking for current employees who possess the characteristics of a good customer service representative. Recruiting employees from within has the added benefit that they will already understand your company's products and services. If it is necessary to go outside the company to find the right person for the job, consider using online job boards, because respondents will be familiar with the Internet and e-mail. Be very clear in your advertisement about the characteristics that you seek.

Use Sample Scenarios to Interview Customer Service Representatives
The customer service industry experiences very high turnover rates, and many customer service representatives go from job to job. It's a mistake to assume that because a candidate has experience that he or she will be suited to address the unique needs of your customers. During the interview process, role-play both typical and problematic situations to help gauge how the candidate will respond to your customers.

Conduct a Reference Check
In addition to interviews and role playing, be sure to conduct a thorough reference check to ensure that candidates left their previous job for the reasons indicated on their application. If a candidate was terminated from a job for mistreating a customer, for example, hiring him or her could be detrimental to your company.

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