Customer service representatives (CSRs) are an integral part of your company's operations, as they — quite literally — represent your business and its offerings to your valued customers. That means not having the right people in place to serve as your brand ambassadors can be detrimental not only to your business's reputation, but your bottom line. Considering the important role they play, it's no surprise that these pros are in very high demand. In fact, labor-insights provider Burning Glass reports that there were more than 700,000 open roles in the last year alone — and that number is expected to climb even higher in 2020 and beyond.
So how do you attract the right candidates for your open customer service representative positions, especially in this competitive job market? Here are the steps we recommend you take:
Ready to dive in and learn how to complete these steps? Read on for more information on how to hire your next great CSR.
demand for CSRs is high: 700,000-plus job postings in the last year — and that number will increase in 2020.
speed up your hiring process
Customer service representatives are on the front lines day in and day out, helping customers solve the issues they're having with your products or services. So in order to keep your customers happy, you need strong, empathetic communicators on your team. And in today's marketplace, you're not only going to have to be smart about who you hire — you're going to have to be fast when hiring them, too.
Did you know that it took an average of 31 days to fill the 700,000 CSR positions posted last year? Now take a step back and consider how long it's been taking you to hire for your open roles. If your hiring is taking longer than that, know that you're missing out on quality candidates. And if your number is lower than that, consider finding further efficiencies in your process, given that top talent can be on the market for as little as 10 days.
But where do you begin finding those efficiencies? Use this diagram to identify opportunities for making your recruitment process more time-effective.
develop a competitive compensation package
Demand is sky-high for customer service representatives, which makes the compensation package you offer a candidate more crucial than ever. To define what exactly makes for a competitive offering in today's landscape, start by taking a look at Randstad's 2019 Salary Guide. To kick things off, here are the average hourly wages for customer service representative nationwide:
However, these numbers can vary greatly based on your location. So head on over to our salary calculator to see the most up-to-date data on hourly rates for CSRs in your specific markets.
top talent can be on the market for as little as 10 days, so your hiring process needs to be swift and efficient.
identify the top skills for CSRs
A customer service representative is the first person someone will speak with when they're unhappy or have a question about your company's offerings, so first and foremost they need to be effective problem solvers and good communicators. As far as other necessary skills, meet with the hiring manager and other leaders in your customer service department to understand what traits will position someone to be successful in the role. Put together a list of "must-have" skills — like those mentioned above — and a list of "nice-to-have" skills — like live chat experience or knowledge of refunds, exchanges and adjustments processes.
Here are skills most required of customer service representatives, have, to get your list started:
write an eye-catching job description
Gone are the days in which a job description could go on for paragraph after paragraph citing every duty and responsibility until the reader went cross-eyed. But today, concision and engagement is key — especially with all of the job postings out there for CSRs. To make sure your job description catches a candidate's attention and excites them to apply, keep these three tips top of mind.
1. don't write like a robot
Write your job description in a friendly, conversational way, as if you were explaining the role and company to a friend over coffee. Making the posting as engaging as possible will go a long way in attracting quality CSR candidates, since these pros thrive on clear, precise communications. Simply put, use clear, engaging language, and leave the corporate jargon behind. Remember, you're trying to hire a human being — not a robot.
2. show how this job is meaningful
Now more than ever, job seekers are looking for their work to be meaningful. It's no secret that being a customer service representatives gets a bad reputation (most people just think of irate customers and around-the-clock schedules), so speak to the ways a candidate will be able to strengthen their skills while working at your company.
Whether it's improving their written and verbal communications, problem-solving skills or emotional intelligence levels, address how these roles are not only respected, but valuable to your business's success. Remember, too, that CSRs often look at these positions as a foot in the door of a company in which they can see themselves advancing, so if you have formalized internal recruitment processes or a history of CSRs moving into other business functions within your company, be sure to call those out.
3. make it easy to skim
In today's digital world where skimming reigns supreme, job seekers don't want to read a novel-length job description. Instead, they want the information they need presented in a way that's quick to digest as they pore over multiple job descriptions. So give them the key information they're looking for and make it simple for them to quickly get an understanding of the role and your company. This includes using:
For even more help taking your postings to the next level, check out our guide to writing highly effective job descriptions.
use your job description to show how CSRs are not only respected internally, but critical to your business's success.
brush up on the latest industry trends
Given the rapid change transforming almost every aspect of today's workforce, it's important to know what to expect when hiring for customer service representatives. After all, you're not looking to just fill a few positions today — you want the knowledge and insights that will strengthen your recruiting over the long term, as well.
Here are the trends you need to know today:
- Burning Glass anticipates a 4.9 percent growth in customer service rep positions by 2029 — with the insurance industry driving a lot of that demand.
- California, Texas and Florida lead the pack when it comes to hiring CSRs, so employers in those markets will need to be even more strategic and competitive with their recruitment plans.
- Live chat continues to have a major influence on the industry. In fact, 77 percent of consumers today said they wouldn't make a purchase without that capability.
To learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to talent trends impacting the office and administration space.
77% of today's consumers wouldn't make a purchase if there was no option to live chat with a CSR.
choose your channels to find candidates
With so many avenues available to source candidates, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are right for your company. After all, things like the size of your business, your recruitment budget and your specific hiring needs will shape how much ground you're able to cover.
So if you've come up short after getting referrals from your current team, posting on job boards and searching for employees on LinkedIn searches, consider diversifying your efforts by partnering with a staffing firm. Especially when hiring for an in-demand role like a customer service representative, it can prove useful to have access to a pool of prescreened, vetted talent — not to mention the support of a staffing firm's expertise in matching companies with best-fit candidates.
Reach out to Randstad's experts in the office and administration space today to discuss how we can help you find your next great customer service representative. Or, if you'd rather browse candidates first, head over to our Find Employees portal to introduce yourself to our nationwide pool of talent.