ESkill How To Hire And Train For Customer Service Using Skills Tests

If the unemployment rate is high, posting a job opening for a customer service agent may very well result in your company being swamped with resumes and applications. Many of the applications are most likely from very competent, accomplished professionals who would be a great fit for the job. However, it can be difficult to find them if you must wade through dozens of applications. By using customer service skills assessment tests, you can easily screen out unqualified applicants and identify the best-qualified candidates so you can make better hires.

What Is a Customer Service Skills Assessment Test? 

The process of selecting and hiring new customer service employees is often subjective because it is based on gut feelings and overall impressions rather than hard facts. When people read resumes, they tend to jump to conclusions and make assumptions based on a candidate’s educational background, companies they have worked for, and previous job titles. This traditional approach causes unconscious bias, which can result in discrimination claims and make it likely that you will miss high-quality candidates.

We may never completely eliminate unconscious bias from the hiring process, but we can limit its effects. One great way to do that is to use customer service skills assessment tests to assess applicants’ skills and abilities.

How to Assess Customer Service Skills in Applicants

If you are wondering how to assess customer service abilities, it is important to remember that employment skills are most often placed into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those that most directly impact the job, and testing them tends to be very straightforward. Pre-employment tests you might use to assess hard skills include:

  • Typing and data entry: The ability to type quickly and enter data accurately may seem elementary, but it is extremely important because orders and shipping addresses need to be correct. Representatives also make notes on customer interactions that may be reviewed during subsequent calls with the customer. 
  • Communication skills: Customer service agents often have to convey detailed and complicated information. Therefore, they must be able to make themselves understood in a clear, confident manner that gives the customer confidence that the information is correct, what the next steps are, and what to expect moving forward. 
  • Multitasking simulation: Customer service representatives often work with multiple computer applications simultaneously while communicating with one or more customers. They must have good computer skills and be able to manage details for each interaction efficiently. 
  • Basic math skills: If prices and discount amounts are wrong on orders or shipping costs are figured incorrectly, it could cost you money as well as goodwill with customers. Therefore, customer service representatives need good basic math skills.

You should also assess customer service representatives’ soft skills (skills that are generally related to personality and have a big impact on customer interactions) to identify applicants with a strong probability for success. Examples of customer service skills assessment tests that focus on soft skills include:

  • Listening skills: The most successful customer service representatives are good listeners who are interested in helping people. Successful customer service representatives tend to have a positive mental outlook and are likely to be attentive, empathetic, and customer-focused. 
  • Problem-solving skills: Customer service representatives are, first and foremost, problem-solvers. Testing problem-solving skills helps you evaluate an applicant’s ability to gather and apply new information, use critical thinking to turn problems into solutions, and maintain patience in frustrating situations. 
  • Empathy: When customers are angry, they often just want someone to listen, and they want to feel that an effort is being made to help them. Good customer service representatives need to have the ability to “put themselves in the customer’s shoes” and offer options that satisfy the customer and provide an equitable solution.

Using Customer Service Skills Assessment Tests for Applicants 

When pre-employment tests are used, all applicants are judged equally because everyone is asked the same questions in the same order. Since pre-employment testing is objective rather than subjective, there is little chance that discrimination or unconscious bias will occur. A candidate either scored well on a customer service skills assessment test or did not. These tests help you make better hires based on your data instead of gut feelings, and provide a tangible record of why a particular employment decision was made.

How to Assess Customer Service Skills for Current Employees

Skills testing is a great way to select the candidates who are most likely to succeed at your company, but skills testing does not need to be limited to applicants. Using skills testing internally helps you establish a baseline for your staff’s knowledge and skills so you can pinpoint training and knowledge “gaps,” identify employees who are ready for new challenges, and develop customized training programs. This is especially useful when rolling out new processes, communicating new information and policies, and cross-training.

The result of using skills tests in hiring and training is better-quality hires and more productive employees, both of which reduce employee turnover and improve your company culture.

When companies use customer service skills assessment tests, everybody wins. Request a demo today.

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