Hiring Customer Service Representatives For Your Plumbing Business
Hiring the people inside: Exercise caution when hiring CSRs
When it comes to hiring customer service representatives, are your hiring decisions desperation-driven or intentional? Let’s talk about some of the most common hiring pitfalls that occur during desperation-driven hiring.
The first pitfall is hiring family members. There are those who believe you need to find a position for family in your business without giving this decision much serious thought. I have even heard the following reasons when asked why a family member was employed in the business: “It is in their DNA!”; “Momma is a nice person!”; “My son-in-law needs a job, and I can keep an eye on him!”; “My daughter can answer the phone; we all know she lived on one in high school!”; “My aunt is as honest as they come!”.
Hiring a family member always presents its own set of challenges, especially if they’re not trained to do the job or, quite possibly, don’t want to do the job. What happens if their performance is not stellar? Accountability can be awkward when the last name is the same. Things get messy quickly, especially if you tell your mother-in-law she’s not booking enough calls or tell your own dad his tone is not empathetic enough. All of this can also spill over to the holiday family dinner table. Yikes!
I am not opposed to hiring family members. You just need to give it more thought and planning than you have in the past. You need to ensure you are setting firm expectations, outlining training, making sure they have the skill set to perform the job, and following through with the consequences if goals are not achieved.
The second pitfall I have noticed is hiring out of desperation. This usually occurs when someone has suddenly resigned or has been terminated rather quickly. Failing to have a plan, results in reactive behavior. The race is on to find someone, anyone, and you hire out of desperation, or maybe you think, “My bookkeeper has a nice demeanor, I’ll just have them be the CSR too.” Hiring out of desperation happens far too often and the ramifications can be devastating.
How, then, do you avoid these pitfalls? You put a plan in place. Start at the beginning by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you have a job description?
- What will advertisement say?
- Where will you place the ad?
- Who will sort through the want ad responses/resumes?
- Who will handle the inquiries if by phone?
- When and where will interviews take place?
- Who will conduct the interview(s)?
- Once hired, who will train and mentor the new employee?
These are just a few questions that need to be resolved for you to get started.
So, the resumes and inquiries are rolling in, now what? Once you are prepared to initiate your search for the right candidate, you should hire with a couple specific requirements in mind. Successful companies hire for attitude and a clear speaking voice, first and foremost. Aside from these key traits, you may also consider someone who is empathetic, enjoys working with people, is goal oriented and driven to win.
As you sort through the resumes, be careful not to eliminate great candidates by falling into old mindsets or stereotypes. Do you assume someone young will automatically be energetic and upbeat? Perhaps you think someone more “mature” will have a better work ethic? Or do you believe only women can excel at this job? If you broaden your horizons, and discard these stereotypes, you will instantly increase your candidate pool. With an open mind, you will find that great customer service professionals can come from a variety of backgrounds, age groups and genders.
Now, a few last things to consider. Conduct phone interviews with the candidates. After all, their primary job will be answering the phone and booking the call, so the last thing you want is to hire someone who sounds unpleasant or unprofessional on the phone. Then, evaluate the applicant to see if they would be a good culture fit for your company. Even great candidates can be mis-hires if they’re not aligned with your company culture. Lastly, if you’re not the best judge of character and usually make regrettable hiring decisions, bring in someone else to assist you with the interviewing process to ensure you make the best decision for the company.
Invest the time, effort and energy in developing the plan. Hire with intention and success will follow!