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So, what do you need to look for in hiring Customer Service representatives?  Writing a careful, well thought out job description will help identify and locate the best employees.  Knowledge, skills, abilities and experience are included in the job description.  Problem solving abilities, high energy level, detail focused attitudes and a strong work ethic should be the areas the employee excels in when dealing with customers.  Usually Customer Services employees are motivated, have high standards and a customer-focused attitude when backed by the company.

What the company provides to them is a customer orientation, knowledge of the product,  how to resolve the issues and who to contact for help when the customer is asking for assistance beyond the scope of what can be provided through the Customer Service Department. The Human Resources department should have in place elements which address:  compensation, selection, orientation, induction, training, establishing a standard of performance, setting goals and objectives, performance coaching, progress reviews, performance appraisals, employee development, planned advancement and job postings.

In evaluating the performance of customer services reps, the organization must have clear customer goals and these goals need to be communicated to the reps.  All the assistance they need from other areas of the company must support them in carrying out the company mission.  It never hurts to ask employees what they need in order to make them successful.  In that way, all areas of the company can rally behind the customer service team to give them what they need to fulfill customer needs. 

External Support to keep the customer satisfied

Trust is the fundamental requirement for building long-term relationships with customers.  The company must trust the customer first, in order to have the customer trust the company. Customer trust develops when they can talk with a Customer Services Representatives who listens and acknowledges their issues and then takes responsibility to resolve their concerns. You must treat the customer as if they will buy from you for a lifetime.  If they are satisfied with the product and the service they receive, there will be no reason for them to purchase elsewhere.

To ensure that customers are treated in the right way from the start, ensure that you do the following:

  • Identify the person or team that will interact with the customer.
  • Choose employees who styles and personalities are consistent with the company values and messages you want to portray.
  • Value those employees and make sure that they understand how critical they are to the success of the business.
  • When the product is handed off to the customer, make sure the last impression is a good one. By adequate installation and training the customer will be able to make the transition to the product or service you are providing with greater ease.

Think about adding extra value in the delivery of service.  This means going the extra mile for your customer.  This does not mean delivering the product on time and feeling good about accepting complaints and returns for products.  It means providing an unconditional service guarantee and if time falls short in the process, figuring out what to do to keep the customer satisfied.

Some of the most successful companies use this service driven strategy.  Companies such as Nordstrom, American Express, L.L. Bean and McDonalds are examples of organizations that devote time and attention to customer service.  In contrast, have you ever had questions on a Microsoft product?  After going through voice mail menu trees or communicating via email, the response is often delayed and impersonal.  The customer does not feel valued.  No matter how good the product is, when the customer is not listened to, frustration and irritation develop. Microsoft is an example of technology driven strategy that is not backed up with customer service.

A customer-driven strategy incorporates quality and service .  Customers are brought into every area of the company so that they are heard and their comments acted upon in service delivery.  How many customers has your organization heard from in the past year to better design products?  Are the internal processes within your organization designed to coordinate sales, accounting, development, implementation and roll out to the customer so that they are satisfied with your solution?  Leading companies have seen the correlations between worker satisfaction and customer satisfaction.

This Business article was written by Ann Estabrooks on 2/28/2005

Ann Estabrooks is the founder of Catapulta, LLC, a business development consultancy based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She can be reached via or by phone at 919-556-6119. Her website is
Provided by: Capatulta, LLC