5 Tips for Hiring Your First Customer Service Agent

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5 Tips for Hiring Your First Customer Service Agent

If customer support requests are running you ragged and your team is fed up from wearing too many hats, it could be time to hire a dedicated customer service agent. Bringing on board a dedicated representative can scale your customer service efforts, helping to keep your customers loyal and win those business-boosting word-of-mouth recommendations at a fraction of the cost of advertising.

Since customer service reps are the voice of your business, it’s important that you hire someone who represents your values. Here are five tips to help you find the best candidates.


1. Define the Role

Figuring out the job you’re hiring for can be quite challenging, since the work of a customer service agent may vary quite a bit. Ask yourself what you want the new hire to do. Tackle support tickets? Reach out to customers through social media, chat, email, or by phone? Will she need expertise in a specific CRM program (ex: Salesforce, Zendesk)? Think about the tasks your new hire will be performing. Depending on the stage of your company, this may be a lengthy list!


2. Get Savvy on the Skillsetmake a list of your required skills

Customer service agents need the big kahuna skillset. They must be resourceful, determined, hard working, patient, likable and empathetic – otherwise they’ll burn out from resolving all those inquiries. They must be able to handle the worst in people and keep smiling. Since you want to attract someone who really understands your business and your customer, you should develop a clear idea of the type of person who will represent your company best.


3. Write an Effective Job Description

Now that you know what type of candidate you’re looking for, you’ll need to write a compelling job description. Here are some of the things you might include:

  • The purpose and deliverables of the role – why customer service is vital to your business
  • The “must-have” skills that you’ve identified
  • Why your organization is a desirable place to work – sell yourself!
  • What you can offer the candidate – flexible hours, paid vacation, perks, etc.
Merlin lets you make job descriptions from your smartphone

Merlin lets you create effective job descriptions to attract the best candidates right from your smartphone.


4. Get to Know the Candidate Before the Interview

If your customer service rep will be calling customers, give them a call. Screening a candidate over the phone is a great way to find out whether he possesses the energy, fluency, trustworthiness and personable speaking style that your customers need.

If your customer service rep will provide support over email and chat, chat with them through Merlin. If he makes a positive impression, it’s worth inviting him for an interview.

Merlin lets you chat with candidates in real time

Chat with candidates in real time through Merlin


5. Interview with a Twist

interview candidates with real customer scenarios=

Canned Q&A-style interviews may not give you much insight into the candidate’s passion, patience, empathy or positivity. A better approach is to try a role-playing situation. Structuring the interview around the scenario of a rude customer, a major service outage or a request for a discount lets you see the candidate in a real-life business situation and shows how she might handle uncomfortable conversations. Relationships are won or lost in problem situations, so you’ll get to see first-hand whether the candidate is a top performer.


The Bottom Line

Your customer service representative is the face of your business, so it pays to spend a little time defining the role and your expectations. These tips should help you to hire the right person for the job – someone who represents your values and will always make your customer their highest priority.

Hiring customer service representatives? Let us help you find candidates who can represent your business.



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