When business owners think about how they’re going to take their company to the next level, many factors enter into the equation: market share, revenue, product launches, and marketing, to name a few. There are a multitude of other things that you can add or change in your strategy that can impact your business positively or negatively but there is one that is often overlooked: employees.
Customer Service: From First Impression to Long-Term Trust
As the leader of an organization, many of the things on your plate involve keeping the business running, and generally, you’re not the one on the phone with customers and prospects on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s the receptionist answering the phone or the service and support reps handling customer issues, the people that interact with your customers the most are your employees.
That’s why when you hire people to answer your phones, you’re entrusting them with more than just doing their jobs: you’re entrusting them with the company itself. A first impression means everything and it’s hard to change. Everyone knows that a consumer is 2x more likely to share a bad customer service experience than a good one, but even more dramatic is this statistic from HelpScout: 86% of customers take their business elsewhere because of poor customer service. That encompasses more than just the first impression: it extends to how your business handles customers during every single interaction. Think about the standards you set for the talent you recruit: can you trust them with your customers’ first impression of your business? Can you trust them with taking care of your customers over the long run?
Sales and Marketing: Passion, Knowledge, and Dedication
It’s not just the customer service team that represents the company. The way your sales team handles leads and prospects contributes to the image of your business as well. Are they sincere? Are they friendly? But more importantly: do they believe in your product? This is often something that is overlooked by a lot of companies who are focused on the past work experience of a potential new hire instead of the passion they have for your product or service. If you want to have a sales team that works hard and does everything it takes to sell, then you need to ensure that you’re hiring people who truly believe and stand behind the product or service you’re selling. They need that passion. How can they convince a prospect that they need to buy your product or service if they don’t believe it themselves?
The same goes for marketing. Do they believe? Is the messaging they create built on buzzwords, or is it based on true-blue dedication to the product? Effective marketing is that which communicates a benefit. How can a marketing team that doesn’t believe in your product or service create the fervor you need to pull away from the competition?
There’s product knowledge too, of course. One of the things that many businesses don’t take seriously enough when it comes to new hires is training. If you don’t think you want to invest the time putting each and every hire through a training schedule, think again. Only when an employee fully and thoroughly understands a product or service and all its offerings can they market or sell it properly.
The Importance of Hiring Right
Every business has standards that they apply to candidates they are interviewing, and it’s not always an easy process. Proper screening, interviewing, and careful analysis of feedback are usually time-consuming parts of the interview process. But time-consuming or not, there is nothing more important. The right people can carry your business to new heights. The wrong people can sink the ship. So with this huge importance of hiring right, how can you be sure? Here are some tips we can offer based on our customer service successes as well as having some of the happiest employees in the nation:
- Let your star employees interview candidates. And we don’t just mean management and team leads. Let your actual, everyday, phone-answering employees sit down with candidates and offer you their advice on whether they think the applicant would be a good fit. After all, they have proven to be good hires and can offer inside insight into what makes a lasting employee. Besides, they’re the ones that will have to work with the new hire every day. If they can assist in hiring someone they’ll get along with, you’ll have happier employees, meaning you’ll have employees who are more likely to dedicate themselves to your product and your customers.
- Institute a week (or longer) of training. Depending on how complicated your product or service is, this time may vary. But it cannot be emphasized enough: do not skimp on training. You cannot expect your employees to successfully market, sell, and troubleshoot your product if they don’t have a full understanding of its ins and outs. Bite the bullet. Spend the time on your talent and reap the long-term benefits.
- Hire SWANs. One of the things that has served DialogTech well is our SWAN policy. We only hire candidates that live up to the following qualifications: they must be Smart, they must Work hard, they must be Ambitious, and most importantly, they must be Nice. Niceness is often the overlooked ingredient for star employees, so pay special attention to that one. An all-star sales rep can drag an entire team down when he has a bad attitude.
It can’t be overstated: your employees are the single most valuable investment you will make in your company, so choose your talent wisely. Do you have any special hiring practices that you institute to hire the best of the best? Leave a comment below!