Hiring Customer Service Reps

Know the qualities you want in a customer service employee.

How do you determine whether potential employees have specialqualities to be excellent customer service representatives? Whenyou're interviewing for the job, you should ask candidates todescribe a difficult problem they once faced and how they solvedit. Did they come up with multiple solutions?

In addition, inquire whether they've ever had to help solveproblems within a company or had to organize people. As a rule,people good at these tasks would also be good at customer service.Like salespeople, these individuals will have ego drives.Salespeople, however, have the need to persuade, whereas customerservice people have the need to help.

Finally, remember that all customer service jobs are not the same.Many involve cross-selling, while others are like accountmanagement positions, which often include some sales. In the caseof cross-selling, you should look for more of a mix. Still, nomatter how much selling the customer service rep does, he or she isstill servicing existing accounts, and that should remain the focusof the job. Change the focus to selling, and you've changed theposition--and more than likely the type of person you want to fillit.

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