Editor’s Note: Bill Thompson is the Guru of Customer Happiness at Olark.com. He has been involved in Online Community and Internet Customer Care and Service since Web 1.0 for companies like Winamp, SHOUTcast, and Grouper.com.
Okay, you’ve made the right first decision; Live chat for your Customer service and/or sales teams. Good move. You’ve got the Olark chat box installed, you’ve connected your IM client and added operators. So what next to get the most out of the Live chat process?
If I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand times: All the cool/slick technology still is dependent on having the right people on the spot using it in such a way that it best represents your company. It’s vital that the people who have boots on the ground, first contact with your customers and clients be truly excellent at their jobs.
So how to make sure you get:
Instead of this:
What are those intangible, yet highly critical traits to look for when interviewing and choosing members of your support/CS team? Is there magic involved and is there a way to quantify the data in your search and make sure you never make a mistake? Well no, no magic involved…..
I stick to a pretty basic set of 6 personality traits, which I endeavor to bring out from the interview process:
- Genuine warmth: A person that exudes friendliness, caring about other people and an upbeat and outgoing personality.
- Empathic: Able to understand other people’s feelings and relate well and be sympathetic to someone under stress.
- A good listener: A person who trends toward active listening in order to fully understand an issue or problem before acting
- Conscientious: It sounds basic, but it’s vital to have people who by their nature take pride in taking care of every little detail perfectly
- Anticipatory: This sounds as though it’s antithetical to #3 but it’s slightly different. A person who is excellent at anticipating cause and effect can save much time in not just answering the main question but also digs deep to make sure every corner of the customer’s problem is fully resolved by the time the conversation is over.
- Optimistic: Again, it sounds basic, but an optimistic attitude is vital in avoiding burn-out as the daily exposure to people sometimes in stress and not acting in tune with their better angels can drag a person down.
Having a 6 point plan is easy. Making the right decision isn’t always an exact science. I use a combination of carefully crafted scenario questions (thank you Psych 1A in college) and trust my gut above and beyond trying to quantify sometime soft traits. I recommend bringing the whole interview team in on the 5-6 traits you’re looking to find and trusting your staff to give you strong backup during the process. When you get one of the greats (like Miranda above) you often know it instantly. Others you need to try out, guide and develop more slowly into becoming standout superstars on your CS team.
Good luck to you in building your team. It’s both harder than you think to find a pool of the right people, yet relatively easy to make the right decision once you know what you’re looking for.
Hit Bill up on Olark.com live chat. He’d love to hear from you. Visit the Olark blog for more great customer service insights!