How Strategic Employee Selection and Onboarding Can Boost Customer Service Levels.


In today’s high tech landscape, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is considered the leading strategy for optimizing an organization’s customer experience.

Thousands of instructive articles are available on related topics: How to Use CRM to Conduct Journey Mapping; How CRM Delivers Customization; and How Data Stored in CRM Can Personalize Loyalty Programs. CRM is a powerful tool.

Yet according to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, there’s another vital piece to the customer experience:

“The main hurdle in customer experience is translating boardroom vision into action at the front line. Empowered employees are the key.”

Setting CRM aside just for this conversation, let’s consider your primary connection with customers:  your staff. Engaged employees are those who are well suited for the task and feel encouraged and empowered to serve your customers with excellence.

While technology is important, your people are still the key to building loyal customer relationships. So, doesn’t it follow that talent acquisition and onboarding should be foundational to your customer experience strategy?

3 Key Strategies for Creating a Winning Customer Experience

1. Invest In Your Hiring Process

Attract the right talent by sharing your story. In today’s tight labor market, quickly engaging top talent is critical. A great way to attract the right people is to share your company story and values early in the hiring process. Interactive job previews are a great way to promote transparency about your culture and highlight how each employee can contribute to the overall mission of your organization.

Highly visual and engaging, multi-media previews bring job descriptions to life and enable you to tell your story, describe your culture, and show how you’re different. They enable you to attract more of the right candidates – that are right for the job and right for your company. 

Select an employment test that reflects the type of customer service you want to provide. Identifying top performers to fill your contact center is possible thanks to advanced technologies. Research documents that the most accurate form of talent assessment is simulation. (Check out this summary based on data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.) By immersing your job candidates in realistic customer interactions, you can clearly see which candidates have what it takes to connect with your customers and keep them coming back. Many job simulations are now mobile friendly, making it even easier for you to attract and hire the best new talent.

Consider virtual interviews. For contact center positions that attract a high volume of applicants, in-person and phone interviews early in the process are time and labor intensive. Not wanting to miss “the voice,” virtual interviews can be a cost-effective solution. Job candidates simply access the automated interview on any smart device then record their answers in their own words and voice. You have instant access to their responses and results can be shared online with internal decision makers.

2. Prepare Your Team for Key Customer Situations and Interactions

While a job simulator is proven to be the most effective predictor of talent in the hiring process, the immersive experience is also a terrific onboarding and development strategy.

Simulation enables team members to practice their customer service skills without the risk and consequence of mistakes in the real world. Job practice simulations:

  • Are based on real-world customer situations and interactions
  • Provide a risk-free way to interact with challenging customers
  • Prepare agents to handle complex customer issues
  • Clarify expectations for different learning styles
  • Deliver right-way modeling for mastery and success

3. Connect Success Metrics to Job Competencies

Success metrics typically focus on a matrix of calls placed or processed in a specified time frame. Why not look for opportunities to connect those metrics to competencies needed to flourish on the job?

Can you hear the difference between these two approaches?

“Let’s shorten those call times!”

Or. . .

“Focus on identifying the problem and move to the solution. Let’s bolster your problem solving skills!”

The second approach enables you to identify a job competency that can be nurtured, as well as pinpoint performance gaps that can be improved. Helping team members understand and improve specific customer service skills will pay big dividends in improved metrics AND a better customer experience.

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Atlantic airlines, is well known for the accent he places on his people. “It sort of should go without saying — and it’s surprising that it still doesn’t go without saying at some companies — If the person who’s working for your company is not given the right tools, is not looked after, is not appreciated, they’re not gonna do things with a smile and therefore the customer will be treated in a way where often they won’t want to come back for more. So, my philosophy has always been, if you can put staff first . . . in the end, the shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff are happy.”

By focusing first on hiring and empowering the best talent, you’ll have a strong foundation for building an impactful customer experience strategy – where everyone wins!

If you want to continue the discussion of building a strong talent base, please reach out to me by phone 888.332-0648 or email.