As a child, teamwork has a profound effect on your development as a person: your ability to collaborate, your skill set, your hobbies and extracurricular activities, your social skills in and outside of the classroom, and ultimately the way you view the world.
As a customer success team, teamwork shapes confident, well-rounded employees. With excellent collaboration skills, customer success reps are empowered to learn new and creative ways to solve customers’ problems, develop new skills inspired by team members, divide and conquer work to function as efficiently as possible, and ultimately give customers an amazing experience.
Building a customer success team of collaboration-oriented employees is no easy feat in today’s fast-paced, competitive environment. Follow these tips to identify team players for your customer success team during the hiring process:
1. Forget About the Numbers (Sort Of)
A 4.0 undergraduate GPA (while impressive) is simply not an indication that an interviewee will be a successful customer success employee. Interviews should focus on the applicant’s ability to collaborate with others, as well as soft skills such as the ability to match and mirror the customer, empathize, and so on.
If you’re going to focus on numbers, make sure it’s the numbers that matter. Here are several key performance indicators used to measure customer success teams. Applicants should be able to discuss these metrics, and the efforts they took to improve them:
- Customer Churn Rate: The percentage of customers that don’t renew at the end of their subscription.
- Net Promoter Score: The percentage of customers who would recommend you to their friends, coworkers, and family (typically measured through a survey).
- Customer Effort Score: A score that determines how much effort a customer had to take to accomplish a task. This is typically measured through a survey. The goal is for all customers to select a 1, which expresses a low amount of effort was required on their end. If a number higher than 1 is selected, a change may be required to ensure your customers don’t experience this problem in the future.
By steering the interview away from questions that focus solely on individual achievement and towards their ideas and experience surrounding teamwork, you’ll get a better sense for how they will fit into your team. Ask behavioral questions that identify situations where the applicant worked in a team to solve a customer’s problem, what their role in the team was, what others’ roles were, etc.
2. Get Other Departments Involved
Your new customer support employee will most likely not work inside a bubble and interact with only the team lead and other leadership, so why should that be the case in the interview?
When building a customer success team, involve as many people from as many departments as possible. CS reps don’t just work with CS reps; they work with marketers, sales reps, product managers, and development to ensure customers have an ideal experience with your brand. Chances are, if the rest of the company likes working with the interviewee, your customers will, too.
3. Take Your Sweet Time
Focusing on hiring a team player means you don’t just phone screen and interview once, twice, or even three times to make a decision about hiring. To be sure you’re hiring a team player, you need to put in the time.
Try holding your first meeting in a casual setting. Inviting an interviewee who you’ve phone screened to meet you for coffee, instead of a formal interview, will give you a more accurate picture of who they are and how they interact with others. The relaxed setting will allow interviewees to be more comfortable answering questions honestly. You aren’t hiring the shiny robot people try to present themselves as during an interview; you are hiring a human being.
As previously mentioned, involving many people from many departments is crucial to making the correct hiring decision. However, this is often the most difficult part of building a customer success team stacked with team players; it just takes more time. A lot more time. Scheduling more people from more departments in your company to meet with an interviewee may add weeks to the hiring process, but the benefits are well worth the effort.
Ideally, by the time a new hire begins the job, they will have already spent such a significant amount of time with their future coworkers that they will feel comfortable and confident on their first day. The benefit of this is double sided; you gained a team player, and that new team player is more likely to stay in the job. They already know they get along with their coworkers, so there are no disgruntled new hires, and no surprises.
Just remember, if you and your co-workers enjoy working with a new hire, so will your customers! So choose wisely.