how to hire a customer service representative.

how to hire a customer service representative.

share this article:

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. Don't have the right people in place? That can be detrimental to your business's reputation as well as your bottom line.

Considering the important role that CSRs 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 CSR 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.

1. speed up your hiring process

Customer service representatives are on the front lines day in and day out, troubleshooting with customers and helping them resolve a wide range of challenges. So you need to have 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. Is your hiring process taking longer than that? If so, you're probably 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 the diagram below to identify opportunities for making your recruitment process more time-effective.

2. 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.

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 market.

top talent can be on the market for as little as 10 days, so your hiring process needs to be swift and efficient.

3. identify the top skills for CSRs

A CSR is the first person someone will speak with when they're unhappy or have a question about your company's offerings. As such, effective problem-solving and communication skills are essential for success in the role.

As far as other necessary skills, meet with hiring managers 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 the two mentioned above — and a list of "nice-to-have" skills — like live-chat experience or knowledge of refunds, exchanges and adjustments processes. 

Below are some of the skills typically associated with CSRs today:

customer service

customer contact

sales

data entry

scheduling

retail industry knowledge

4. write an eye-catching job description

Gone are the days when a job description could go on for paragraph after paragraph, citing every duty and responsibility until the reader went cross-eyed. Today, using concise and engaging language is key — especially considering the volume of job postings out there for CSRs right now. To make sure your job description catches a candidate's attention and excites them to apply, keep these three tips top of mind.

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 toward helping you attract and hire top-notch candidates. So be sure to use clear, engaging language, and leave the corporate jargon behind. Remember, you're trying to hire a human — not a robot.

show how the job is meaningful
Now more than ever, job seekers are looking for their work to be meaningful. CSRs sometimes get a bad reputation — irate customers, around-the-clock schedules — so it's important to speak to the ways a candidate will be able to strengthen their skills while working at your company.

You should also explain why the role is valuable to the success of your business. Remember, too, that CSRs often look at the role as a way to get a foot in the door with a company where they can grow, 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.

make it easy to skim
In today's digital world, people can be easily distracted, so don't bore potential applicants with novel-length job descriptions. Instead, deliver the key information about the role and your company in a way that's quick and easy to digest. This includes using:

  • short paragraphs
  • descriptive subheadings ("Our Mission", "The Role")
  • bullet points (this is great for listing out perks and benefits)
  • active sentences (these help the reader imagine themselves in the role)

use your job description to show that CSRs are critical to the success of your business.

5. 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 CSRs. After all, you're not looking to just fill a few positions today — you want to gain knowledge and insights that will strengthen your recruiting process over the long term as well.

Here are the trends you need to know today:

  • Burning Glass anticipates a 4.9 percent growth in CSR 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 customers 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.

A full 77% of customers won't make a purchase unless they have the option to live chat with a CSR.

6. 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.

Not seeing the candidates you need from referrals, job boards and LinkedIn? Consider diversifying your efforts by partnering with a staffing firm. Especially when hiring for in-demand roles like CSRs, having access to a pool of screened, qualified talent available on demand can make a world of difference.

Reach out to Randstad's experts in the office and administration space today to discuss how we can help you find your next great CSR. Or if you'd rather browse candidates first, search our talent database to find your next great new hire.

binoculars

looking to solve a hiring problem? let us help you

how to hire a customer service representative.

Posted by Michael Cirigliano on Sep 27, 2019 4:33:07 PM

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. Don't have the right people in place? That can be detrimental to your business's reputation as well as your bottom line.

Considering the important role that CSRs 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 CSR 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.

1. speed up your hiring process

Customer service representatives are on the front lines day in and day out, troubleshooting with customers and helping them resolve a wide range of challenges. So you need to have 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. Is your hiring process taking longer than that? If so, you're probably 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 the diagram below to identify opportunities for making your recruitment process more time-effective.

2. 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.

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 market.

top talent can be on the market for as little as 10 days, so your hiring process needs to be swift and efficient.

3. identify the top skills for CSRs

A CSR is the first person someone will speak with when they're unhappy or have a question about your company's offerings. As such, effective problem-solving and communication skills are essential for success in the role.

As far as other necessary skills, meet with hiring managers 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 the two mentioned above — and a list of "nice-to-have" skills — like live-chat experience or knowledge of refunds, exchanges and adjustments processes. 

Below are some of the skills typically associated with CSRs today:

customer service

customer contact

sales

data entry

scheduling

retail industry knowledge

4. write an eye-catching job description

Gone are the days when a job description could go on for paragraph after paragraph, citing every duty and responsibility until the reader went cross-eyed. Today, using concise and engaging language is key — especially considering the volume of job postings out there for CSRs right now. To make sure your job description catches a candidate's attention and excites them to apply, keep these three tips top of mind.

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 toward helping you attract and hire top-notch candidates. So be sure to use clear, engaging language, and leave the corporate jargon behind. Remember, you're trying to hire a human — not a robot.

show how the job is meaningful
Now more than ever, job seekers are looking for their work to be meaningful. CSRs sometimes get a bad reputation — irate customers, around-the-clock schedules — so it's important to speak to the ways a candidate will be able to strengthen their skills while working at your company.

You should also explain why the role is valuable to the success of your business. Remember, too, that CSRs often look at the role as a way to get a foot in the door with a company where they can grow, 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.

make it easy to skim
In today's digital world, people can be easily distracted, so don't bore potential applicants with novel-length job descriptions. Instead, deliver the key information about the role and your company in a way that's quick and easy to digest. This includes using:

  • short paragraphs
  • descriptive subheadings ("Our Mission", "The Role")
  • bullet points (this is great for listing out perks and benefits)
  • active sentences (these help the reader imagine themselves in the role)

use your job description to show that CSRs are critical to the success of your business.

5. 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 CSRs. After all, you're not looking to just fill a few positions today — you want to gain knowledge and insights that will strengthen your recruiting process over the long term as well.

Here are the trends you need to know today:

  • Burning Glass anticipates a 4.9 percent growth in CSR 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 customers 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.

A full 77% of customers won't make a purchase unless they have the option to live chat with a CSR.

6. 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.

Not seeing the candidates you need from referrals, job boards and LinkedIn? Consider diversifying your efforts by partnering with a staffing firm. Especially when hiring for in-demand roles like CSRs, having access to a pool of screened, qualified talent available on demand can make a world of difference.

Reach out to Randstad's experts in the office and administration space today to discuss how we can help you find your next great CSR. Or if you'd rather browse candidates first, search our talent database to find your next great new hire.

binoculars

Topics: phase:explore, industry:office & administration, topic:problems