The world of business is a competitive one. As each business competes for customers, business owners are forced to position their products/services in different ways. Each business tries to show that it has an advantage over its competitors whether in terms of pricing(our product is the cheapest), quality (we make very good products) or service.
These advantages crumble when compared to the greatest advantage of all–customers who love to do business with you. If you make your customers happy, then your business would be successful. It is as simple as that. In order to make your customers happy, you need to hire good sales and customer service employees.
The employees that sell for you or relate with your customers can make or mar your business. Many companies use the same method they use in recruiting other staff to hire sales and customer service staff. Don’t do that.
When employing sales people, you need to take extra care because they are a critical factor in the success of your business. Here are some tips to consider when employing a sales or customer service representatives.
The skills needed for sales and customer service roles are not as tangible as those needed in say programming or accounting. Also most salespeople are naturally driven to persuade other people. So you could find yourself making wrong decisions just because the candidate has built false rapport with you.
As an interviewer for sales and customer service roles, you need to be alert and focus on the goal. What type of candidate do you want to employ for this role? A successful one? In that case, define success. Make it specific. How much new business should the sales person win for you? How would you like your customer service representative to relate to customers?
By answering the above questions, you would be able to focus on your goal. Ask questions that would enable you get the information needed to determine if the candidate would be able to meet your goal.
Your interview questions should be behavioral. Past behavior often determines future behavior. Ask the candidate how s/he has handled the same or similar situations to those they would face on the job. By listening to their answers and comparing it to your goal, you would be able to know if they are the right candidate. The most important thing is that you should have a goal before the interview so you can be objective about the hire.
USE ROLE PLAYS
Interviews are often not enough for vital roles like sales or customer service. If the candidate says, I can deal with dress and difficult customers and gives anecdotal evidence to back this up, should you believe the employee?
In other to avoid guesswork, interviews should be backed up by role plays. Create role plays of situations the candidate is likely to face while working at your company.
CONDUCT A REFERENCE CHECK
You should always conduct a reference check before employing any staff particularly client facing staff. This enables you know the character of the people who would be dealing directly with your customer.
Remember, customers are the lifeblood of any business that wants to be profitable. So take great care in employing your sales and customer service staff.