In order to reach your business goals, you need the right people on your side. However, it’s not sufficient to just have top notch talent at the top of your company pyramid. You need to invest a significant amount of time in recruiting both department managers and less qualified employees. This is especially true for hiring customer support staff.
Support reps are the face of your company! They are at the forefront of every customer interaction, trying to please your customers on a daily basis. Yet, in today’s world that is only a part of their job. They also carry a huge responsibility to safeguard customer data because they make the first steps in data collection!
We are witnessing an incredible rise in cyber crime that reached a new record number last year! This happened in part because of a pandemic that made doing business very difficult and in part because hackers have developed more sophisticated tools.
The traditional company structure was greatly redefined due to a massive switch to remote work practices last year. Unfortunately, many companies weren’t ready for this kind of digital transformation, thus remote departments became their weakest links. This was especially the case with customer support departments, which are the hardest to supervise due their size. Luckily, numerous companies have recognized the benefits of adding customer support software to their assets to enable remote support work and make it even more efficient!
That being said, last year wasn't just the year of increased cybersecurity concerns, it was also the year when major data privacy laws reached their peaks and others were newly rolled out. For example, the GDPR recorded at least one fine in every member state and it’s only the second year of enforcement! Meanwhile the CCPA has already been replaced with CPRA!
And your customers are aware of all these changes and their rights! Moreover, 84% of consumers want to have more control over the use of their data.
There are many things your IT and legal experts need to keep an eye on in the privacy era, but so do your support reps. For this reason, recruting new memebers in all of these departments needs to be equally serious to ensure that your customer data is safe!
How can you ensure you hire the right reps? Let’s check out the best practices!
1. Create an ideal customer support rep persona
Developing an ideal customer support rep profile works the same way as creating an ideal customer persona. You need to have guidelines to guarantee that you stay on the right track and get what you need. That said, you need to define what you want and what your business requires to keep growing.
You can start with a piece of paper where you will jot down all your thoughts regarding your future support rep. Next, evaluate your existing recruitment procedures and find the places that need improvement. Ask your support managers if they have found specific new skills that will benefit privacy in your department. Additionally, take a look at the best support rep’s KPIs and aim to replicate those or make them even higher with your new employee.
In terms of customer support hiring, these questions can help you:
- What would be the role of an ideal support rep?
- What’s the essential purpose of this position?
- What are the specific work obligations involved?
- What skill set is required for this job?
- What skills would help a new support rep deliver higher performance quickly?
- How will you track the success of your new rep?
- How can you determine if your candidate is security aware?
You can add as many questions as you find relevant, however, make sure that you keep focus on what your business needs as well. Your candidates can ask you these questions too, so they can serve as an interview preparation tool for you as well.
When thinking about your ideal support rep, there are are certain skills that are a must if you want to have a stellar support team:
- Advanced communication skills: Your support rockstar can’t be an introvert with basic communication abilities. Instead, they need to be chatty extroverts that can start any conversation easily.
- Kindness: Being kind is critical for successful customer support hiring because no one wants to talk to a rude or aggressive person.
- Positive personality: When your employee has a positive attitude, all problems are handled easier and there’s no doubt there will be a positive outcome too!
- Conflict management skills: Customers can be angry but your reps should never allow themselves to reach that point!
- Fast learner: Customer service is a fast-developing industry, especially nowadays when customer experience can give you a competitive advantage. Therefore, your whole team needs to get up to speed on new trends quickly!
- Multi-tasking skills: Juggling between chats and calls is a the best way to deliver solutions in a timely manner and keep all of your customers happy.
- Ability to relieve stress quickly: Your rep needs to stay calm during frustrating situations no matter what. You definitely don’t want your customer to spread the word about a negative interaction across social media!
- Quick-witted to solve issues fast: Customer support is full of surprises, from funny situations to the ones that are not described in a script. These situations are rare but your reps need to know how to solve them too!
- Tech-savviness: Whether you manage a remote or office team, both situations will require your reps to use a customer support software. The better they’re able to manage this technology, the more likely they’ll be able to speed up and improve all your support processes.
- Data protection-focused service: Whether your rep is reading your customer name or visiting their profile to check their purchasing history, they need to know how important that data is. For instance, they should never ask your customers to share their personal data within an email. The safest practice is to always collect your customer data using your support software, especially if you’re using a private cloud-based one!
2. Develop a security focused questionnaire
It’s simple! To keep your customer database safe, the people who work with your customers need to be aware of its importance in the privacy era! Depending on their experience level, they should have some knowledge of security methods related to customer support. While they are not IT experts, they need to have a basic understanding of the privacy practices and data laws related to your business in order to do their job correctly.
When evaluating your support rep superstar, check their data privacy skills with the following questions:
- Is the privacy of your personal data important to you?
- Can you list security practices that keep customer data safe?
- How do support agents collect customer data?
- Do you know any privacy law?
- Why is data privacy important?
- How comfortable are you with using customer support software?
A top-notch candidate will value the privacy of their personal data and will treat your customer data like their own!
3. Write a comprehensive job description
A well-made job description is crucial for attracting the right support talent. For instance, if you aim to find entry-level candidates then you should list that quality on your job posting so the overqualified job-seekers can skip it. On the flip side, you must emphasize if you are looking for senior-level applicants only.
Start with an ‘About Us’ section where you introduce your company and then discuss the role.
Make sure to list all the requirements needed such as:
- Every day duties
- Must-have skills (briefly emphasize that data privacy is among the most important ones)
- Good-to-have skills
- Write the intro summarizing the role and its importance to your company’s bottom line
- List the position’s benefits
- Use clear and direct language they understand
4. Publish your job posting
Now you are one step closer to hiring top-notch customer support member! In order to attract good quality applicants, you should publish your job posting on all relevant and popular recruitment platforms. Remote work platforms gather talents from all over the world, which is why you should start there!
Some suggestions are:
You can’t go wrong even if you publish on all of them! The more, the merrier!
5. Incorporate a proactive approach
This tip for customer support recruitment may be the most important one! You shouldn’t nurture the habit of looking for new members only when you need them.
If you follow this practice, you risk losing the best talent as most often there is not enough time to scan all those resumes worldwie. Instead, take a proactive approach and look for your agents even when you don’t have a free spot. This practice will allow you to constantly expand your talent pool and give you the choosing power among millions of great candidates. This continuous practice is especially important for the customer support department because we all know that it has the highest employee turnover every year.
Imagine that you need to start a whole hiring process each month or week?! Instead, if you maintain this practice, you can simply take a look at your database to find to find a new resume!
6. Take the time for selection
And voila! Now you have everything you need to make a decision regarding your perfect candidate! However, don’t rush into this and risk everything you did by hurriedly choosing a bad candidate. Instead, check their resumes, do a background check, and create interview cycles to shorten the candidate list each week.
And remember, if they don’t value privacy, they won’t be able to protect your company's data. A single data breach costs companies $3.92 million on average, so that number can go much higher. However, the main question is: Do you take the security of your customer data seriously?