research

The four types of customer service agents hired by leading brands

Photo of Lucy Jasper
by Lucy Jasper
March 1, 2018

There is a common view among support leaders that your support experience is only as strong as the people providing it. If you want to provide an excellent support experience, you need to find, train, and manage the right people to build positive relationships with your customers and then follow through with solving their problems.

This sounds great in practice – but how do you find the right people?

To answer this question, I’ve gone through case studies with support managers at CDBaby, Sendle, and 99designs and found the following four personality traits desired by each of these brands.

Preview, for the job seekers of the world, if you stay calm and collected while also showing an interest in a customer’s problems, you might have your choice of job opportunities!

Patience is a virtue, you need to have it

Customers writing into a support team are almost always some combination of angry, frustrated or confused.

Derek Sivers, formerly of CDBaby, wanted his support team to spend a little extra time on every customer call:

I would ask them to pull up customers albums and catalogues; have a look at their pictures and gears - to learn a bit about them. Imagine how powerful it is for a customer to know that he is listening to somebody who is a musician that gets him, [rather] than something like, ‘Thank you customer 4325. How may I quickly handle your problem?’

Source: SupportBee Blog

When you slow down, you can take the time to learn about your customers, listen to their concerns, and deep dive into what’s actually happening. By doing this, they will feel valued, which (as a result) will highlight your team’s attention to detail and competence.

Stay calm, collected, and personable!

One of the simplest ways to make a client happy is to make them feel like they are connecting with a real-life human and not a scripted service. The happier you make the client, the more successful your long-term relationships will be. This long-term relationship connects directly to future revenue.

Eva Schaller, Head of Support at delivery service Sendle, made this point exactly in our interview eight months ago:

Get away from agents reading from scripts, sounding like robots, and not being accountable for the customer and their conversations.

Acting friendly, personable, and relaxed can be the difference between a customer purchasing from you once or becoming a customer and advocate for life.

Be proactive

Before going into detail here, let me be the first to acknowledge that acting proactively in a typically reactive support world can be incredibly tricky. However, hiring agents who are interested in acting proactively can be incredibly powerful.

Eva Schaller predicts this exact trend:

“There is going to be a much higher level of proactivity in the way we diagnose and fix problems. When something goes wrong, we’ll be able to provide a much more customized and, ultimately, better interaction with the customer.”

And we agree!

By acting proactively, you’re showing explicitly that you are client-focused and concentrated on delivering a knockout experience.

Show passion and act passionately

Out of all the traits ingrained in a support team, passion could be the most important. Passion directly affects your engagement and attention to detail within any job.

Ashley King, former Director of Support at 99designs articulates this point when talking about how she hired new agents at 99designs:

I am a strong believer that you can train nearly anyone to do anything; but you cannot train somebody to have a heart. For everyone, we look for a sense of a passion and empathy so that they can relate to whomever they are communicating with — designer or customer — when the user is having a problem.

Passion flows into other areas of business success as well. As the great Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, once said: Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.

And who are we to contradict a German Philosopher?


About the author

Photo of Lucy Jasper

Lucy Jasper

Lucy works at Influx. When she isn’t waxing poetic (or figuring out how to use that particular phrase in a sentence), she is probably setting unattainable health goals or grocery shopping.