In today’s omnichannel customer service environment, CSRs need to have more than just excellent phone skills. Customers reach out via email, social media, and live chat, and those platforms require top-notch writing skills in addition to customer service savvy. Identifying potential agents with strong writing skills requires a little extra work throughout the hiring process, but taking that extra time is well worth it if you want to keep customer relationships strong.
Begin With The Cover Letter
A cover letter can tell you a lot about a candidate’s writing skills. Read these letters closely for structure, flow and salesmanship. A great letter will be concise, it will paint a clear picture of the candidate’s work history and goals, and it will conclude with an ask for an interview.
As you read through cover letters, be wary of potential red flags such as:
- A complete lack of a cover letter.
- A cover “letter” that is only a few sentences long.
- A letter that was clearly not spell-checked or proofed.
- Letters that lack specifics or appear to be copied directly from a resume website or book.
- Letters that don’t follow specific instructions put forth in the job posting.
Cover letters can be a great indicator of how well someone writes, but it is important to remember that it’s easy to ask a friend to write the letter. When you identify an applicant with potential, you must continue to evaluate their writing skills throughout the interview process.
Test Their Skills
Standardized tests can be helpful in evaluating basic writing skills. These tests will quiz applicants on basic grammar skills like sentence structure, word usage, spelling and punctuation.
Another effective test that will provide insight into both writing skills and the customer service acumen is to present them with mock customer service inquiries. Present candidates with real scenarios from past customers who reached out via email, social media and live chat, and have them craft a response in real-time. Remember, however, you are not evaluating them on their methods, as they have not been trained on your unique approach to service. You’re simply looking to evaluate writing skills and how well candidates think on their feet.
Ask Someone Who Knows
As your search narrows and you begin checking references of potential hires, make sure to follow up with their references. While verifying employment and running through your usual list of questions, make sure to ask about writing skills. Not every manager will remember a former employee’s writing style, but some will surely be able to speak to the quality of their written communications.
Today’s CSRs work in demanding environments that require a pleasant demeanor, creative thinking, people skills and strong writing skills. Finding just the right agent in a sea of applicants requires a significant investment of time and resources. If you are looking for well-rounded CSRs for your customer call center, the expert recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions are ready to help. We specialize in connecting call centers with fully-vetted, highly-skilled and engaged talent. Contact CSS today to start filling your customer service center with the best and brightest talent in the market.