Customer experience (CX) drives sales, loyalty, engagement, and consumers’ emotional experiences with brands. Most customers had fewer options throughout the pandemic than at any other time in their lives, but that is changing now.
Physical stores are open for business again, shelter-in-place rules and curfews have ended, restaurants and bars are open without restrictions, and crowds are now allowed to gather. Consumers again have a wide variety of choices available to them.
Having top CX talent is key to providing customers with the best experience across all channels of a brand. How can companies attract and hire top CX talent in the post-pandemic world?
“Whatever product your CX team supports, they are responsible for providing value-added service to every customer they encounter, and that service can make (or break) a big part of your company’s reputation. said John Monteith, Vice President and Chief of Staff of the Customer Success Organization at Seismic, a provider of AI-powered enablement, training and coaching solutions.
“If delivered well, a great CX can serve as a powerful, long-standing differentiator against your competition. If done poorly, it can cause a customer to turn away from an otherwise great product. For this reason, finding the right person to not only succeed in a CX role, but also to truly thrive, is an essential practice.
In addition to the improved morale and loyalty that comes from internal hiring, brands can save the time, effort, and financial expense of finding potential candidates.
Advertising a position, finding candidates, interviewing and background checks all cost money. On top of that, it takes up to two months to find and hire a new employee, according to a LinkedIn report, and external hires are generally better paid than internally promoted employees (University of Pennsylvania).
It takes longer for external hires to acclimate and feel comfortable in a new company, and up to 30% of external hires eventually leave within the first month ( Jobvite). Additionally, external hires are more likely to be fired or terminated within the first two years of employment.
Hiring from within, as well as upskilling and retraining, shows employees that a brand cares about their career development and provides them with opportunities to grow within the company. A report by LinkedIn Learning found that 94% of employees would stay with their employer longer if the company invested in their career development.
“Clearly define a career path and opportunities for growth,” Monteith said. “Due to the demanding nature of any customer-focused role, in order to retain and develop the right talent, it is essential to paint a clear picture of career trajectory and growth opportunities.”
Employees with customer service experience within the company are likely to be the best candidates for CX roles, as they are accustomed to working directly with customers in situations where customer happiness and satisfaction are paramount. main objectives. Other customer-facing roles can serve as training for the eventual position of a CX professional.
“Frontline employees (eg, a floor clerk at Best Buy), concierges, and flight attendants could also make great CX apprentices because they already have real experience interacting with customers and a stronger understanding of the real customer journey (especially if you’re hiring internally),” said Ximena Hartsock, Founder and CEO of BuildWithin, a Department of Labor Nationally Approved Learning Intermediary.
Recruit the right candidate
Bill Staikos, SVP, Evangelist and Head of Community Engagement at Medallia, a global leader in experience management, spoke with CMSWire about the importance of recruiting the right candidate.
“In a post-pandemic and high resignation world, CXs have changed dramatically and organizations need the right tools and talent to navigate these circumstances. When looking to hire CX teams, one piece of advice is to look for people who have a digital and analytical background, as this background can bring new perspectives while adding tremendous value to CX teams.
Monteith said CX requires employees who show up every day to give their all to please their customers. “Find out what motivates your candidates, where they find their motivation and how they can maintain their enthusiasm for the long term.”
Candidates who are naturally service oriented are well suited for CX positions. “During the interview process, seek to understand the overall picture of their career and select those who have always gravitated towards a service-oriented position,” he suggested.
Having top CX talent largely depends on the leaders they report to, so brands should take a closer look at their own leadership. “All of the core values that embody a good CX professional must also be present at all levels of management and leadership in the CX organization,” Monteith said.
“Your leaders must have the same drive and be ready to jump into any situation that is asked of them to support the team as a whole. Serving leadership is a must in a CX organization if team cohesion and retention team are core values and goals of the organization.”
Finding the right candidate for a CX position also depends on their good fit with the company. Do the values and mission of the brand match those of the candidate?
“Ask your candidate if they have a mission for their professional and personal life,” Monteith said. “Once the initial novelty of a new role wears off, a customer experience professional will begin to assess their role against their core values, and the more their mission and values align with those of your organization, the better the chances of a successful long-term romantic relationship.”
Prioritize good interpersonal skills
Customer-centric brands understand why they need to embed a customer-centric culture into their policies, procedures, mission, and core values.
“Every person in a CX role dedicates their career to ensuring their client portfolio realizes value,” Monteith said. “Since customers are the lifeblood of any business, make sure your entire organization aligns with this principle or your CX team will burn out and move on due to a lack of cohesion with customers. core values of his career.”
After the last two tumultuous years, customers are mentally and emotionally drained, and CX employees need to have a high emotional quotient (EQ) to connect with them. The voice of the customer, which drives customer experience, also requires soft skills such as empathy, active listening, effective communication, and self-awareness.
Soft skills – which relate to social, emotional and communication skills, as well as character and personality traits – are extremely useful for building relationships in general and lend themselves to building better relationships with clients. Soft skills are different from hard or technical skills specific to a profession or role.
“When hiring CX talent, core CX skills such as empathy, communication, and flexibility are transferable and can be found in other positions and professions, including teachers, nurses, counselors and social workers (these people also generally enjoy working with people),” Hartsock says.
Focus on integration and continuous learning
Joe Alim, product and CX manager at Compt, an employee benefits software provider, told CMSWire that one of the biggest mistakes brands make in attracting and hiring CX talent is that they often treat CX roles differently than others.
“This especially happens with roles that may have a more repetitive element, such as with onboarding and customer support, where employers expect employees to mindlessly follow a script/process and generally treat them as coin operated robots.”
Every role within a company is different, and the onboarding experience for employees should reflect those differences. “Just like most other employees,” Alim said, “those in CX should have a clear path and resources for their professional development, an understanding of the impact of their role on the business as a whole, and a real a say in how they do their jobs.”
Onboarding, along with retraining, development, mentoring, and learning, enables customer experience professionals to learn how to continually improve their role within the business.
“The customer journey is incredibly long, and the best customer experience professionals have a deep understanding of the entire customer experience from start to finish. Whether you’re recruiting from outside the company or helping an existing employee to improve their skills, apprenticeships offer a unique (and often untapped) route to finding CX talent,” said Hartsock.
CX is a top priority for the majority of customer-facing brands as consumers explore the myriad of options that have only recently become available. As such, hiring the best candidates for CX roles and giving them the tools they need to succeed can be the catalyst for creating exceptional CX across all channels.