Stop Hiring “Nice” Service Reps

Customer effort matters.
Hire agents that create a
low-effort experience.

On September 27, 2016, Peter Sleaze, Principal Advisor, for the CEB Customer Leadership Council and I were among five customer service experts who presented at the University of Wisconsin-Madison E-Business Consortium Annual Conference.

I was impressed with Peter’s message and astonished to discover the type of agent personality we typically hire no longer fits.

Along with presenting CEB’s compelling research on why companies need a customer effort metric, Peter pointed out that 65% of effort comes from the customer’s interpretation of how the service rep made them feel. That is why, he said, we need to hire the type of service reps who can deliver low-effort customer experiences.

Historically, we assumed that “empathizers” made the best service reps. However, with the new emphasis on reducing customer effort, CEB found that of the seven service rep personality types studied, the “controller” was best suited for fixing problems the first time and preventing future calls. Controllers reduce customer effort by focusing on fixing the issue so it stays fixed and are very comfortable taking the lead in helping customers figure out what they need.

Bottom line? If indeed, today’s customers value a low-effort experience above all else, it’s time to rethink the type of service reps we hire. Considering that a mere 1% of reps we employ today, are controller personalities, we have some serious catching up to do.

May you be happy.

Barbara Burke
Work hard. Be nice to people.
2016 © Barbara Burke All Rights Reserved.

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