If you’re recruiting customer service representatives, you’ll likely have some fierce competition. The number of people with customer service work experience is slowly shrinking, as the labor force in this field has gone from 3.13 million to about 2.85 million in just one year. This means that if you want to attract top candidates to fill your customer service positions, it’s essential to understand what they’re looking for in a job. To discover exactly what they find attractive in a job, we reached out to several of our internal experts to gather a list of the top ten features.
Competitive Pay (and Transparency)
Everyone wants to be fairly compensated for their work, and customer service reps are no exception to the rule. If you’re going to attract top talent, you should be ready to pay for it, so make sure you’re offering an average or above-average salary for each position. To ensure your pay is competitive, utilize online tools such as PayScale or Glassdoor which provide industry insights, average salary facts, and more.
Once you’ve determined the pay for your open position, it is imperative that it is advertised clearly early on. In other words, don’t wait until the first or second interview to let applicants know about the higher-than-average pay; put that information in your job descriptions to grab their attention immediately.
Keep in mind that if the market is incredibly competitive; even competitive pay and transparency won’t be enough to attract candidates. Sign-on bonuses may be necessary and are a terrific way to entice potential employees to apply — just be sure to advertise those as well!
These days, employees expect full-time jobs to come with benefits (rightfully so), so make sure you offer some good ones to attract experienced customer service reps. In fact, in one study, 60% of respondents said they consider benefits a significant factor in deciding whether to accept a job offer, and 80% said they’d pick more benefits over a pay raise. Consider adding — or improving — benefits such as health, dental, and vision insurance, child care assistance, and maternity/paternity leave. You’ll be even more competitive in this market if you offer additional benefits like tuition reimbursement, mental health counseling, and free gym memberships.
Flexibility for Employees
Another way to appeal to new candidates is to offer flexibility at work in any way you can. This might mean allowing them to work from home a few days a week or permanently, as this has become more prevalent in the era of a pandemic. After all, the call center environment can feel overwhelming some days to even the most experienced representatives, and the ability to work from home can provide some quiet and relief. If this isn’t an option, it’s still worth it to offer flexible schedules to accommodate employees attending school, raising a family, or working atypical hours in a way that suits their lifestyle and productivity best.
The Right Equipment
If you allow employees to work from home, it’s essential that you provide all of the necessary equipment. No one wants to accept a job offer only to turn around and spend money on the equipment they need to get started, so be sure to make it known to new employees that you’ll be loaning them a computer, phone, and/or any other necessities to get their job done.
Empathy from Management
We all know customer service jobs can be challenging at times, especially when customers take out their frustration on those at the other end of the line. This kind of treatment can affect anyone over time, even people who have spent years in customer service. That’s why it’s essential to exhibit empathy when your workers are dealing with demanding customers. Let them know that management will fully support them if customers treat them disrespectfully.
Streamlined Application Process
In order to attract more applicants, it’s vital to ensure the application process is neither stressful nor time-consuming. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing potential candidates who might quit halfway through filling out the application when they see multiple pages of complicated questions. Try to create a quick, simple process if you want to increase your pool of applicants, and consider utilizing applications, like KROW, which utilizes artificial intelligence to streamline the application process and filter candidates into pools for current and future job openings.
Opportunities for Career Advancement
When you find a great employee, it simply makes financial sense to keep them long-term (after all, the cost of hiring a new employee is about $4,129 per hire). One way to get them to stay with your company is to provide ample opportunity for career advancement — in other words, the knowledge that they won’t be stuck in the same customer service role if they choose to explore new career paths within the company (and have proven themselves as an upstanding asset). If you make it a priority to promote from within, make this clear in the interview process. Talk about the various departments, unique positions, and promising career paths within your organization that they can work up to for a fulfilling career long-term.
Solid Company Values
In order to attract and engage with customer service candidates, it’s imperative that your organization showcases its outstanding values, especially on your careers site. When your employees are proud to work at your company because of its ethical practices, they’re more likely to stay. So be sure to highlight your company values—the importance of community, company growth, and comprehensive training—if you want to appeal to a wide range of applicants.
A Good Brand
Finally, it’s important that your employer brand stands out if you want the best chance of attracting customer service reps to apply to your open positions. Make sure your job ads and careers site make it clear that your brand is strong, well developed and provides for a great employee experience.
At Bayard, we’ve worked with a number of customer service companies and have expertise in helping organizations successfully hire and retain employees. We’d love to help your team strategize and implement new tools and tactics to find and attract the best talent. Reach out to us to learn more.Reach out