Not only are businesses more connected with their customers than ever (just think about the last time you used online chat to solve a problem in real time), the COVID-19 pandemic is changing consumer behavior and how they interact with businesses. A majority of a company’s interactions with consumers are now online, and it’s important to make sure every touchpoint is optimized throughout the customer’s journey.
In times like these, a good customer experience specialist can make a tremendous difference in how people feel about giving a company their hard-earned money. Even without a global health crisis going on, the digital proximity businesses have with web visitors or app users puts a spotlight on customer satisfaction and creating strong consumer relationships. The right customer experience specialist builds trust. The wrong can lead to a loss of customers at a critical time for your business. With the current climate forcing some businesses to operate exclusively online, companies who aren’t focusing on customer experience and retention will be severely behind. This is why highly skilled customer experience specialists are still in high demand.
What exactly do these professionals do, and how can they help your business? Read on to learn what you need to know about hiring a customer experience specialist.
Think beyond customer service
It’s vital to remember that customer experience (or CX) is more than customer service. While CX roles do typically entail traditional customer service duties, many incorporate marketing and analysis responsibilities, too. Customer experience specialists are on the front lines of consumer interaction but also contribute valuable insights to help teams across the enterprise enhance the customer experience, retain business and increase revenue.
Some of the quintessential responsibilities found in a customer experience specialist job description include:
- Developing a thorough understanding of the company’s products or services
- Serving as the primary point of contact for customers and managing correspondence via phone, email, social media and other avenues
- Responding to customer inquiries and solving issues in a timely fashion
- Tracking and analyzing customer encounters to identify errors, inconsistencies and possible areas of improvement
- Understanding the needs, motivations and emotions of customers
- Helping the company improve processes and interactions to create a positive customer experience
- Using in-depth knowledge of an organization’s existing customer base to help other departments develop new products, marketing plans and engagement strategies
Look for the right skill set
Most customer experience specialists should have a background working in customer service for at least two years. Depending on your company’s needs, you may even prefer a history of employment in a specific division, such as business development, client acquisition or product training.
Additionally, top CX specialists should have a proven record of excellence in data tracking and analysis, meaning they’ll need some technological know-how. Keep in mind, however, that there’s much more to a customer experience specialist than tech savvy.
While candidates should stay abreast of technological evolutions in their field, soft skills are also incredibly important to this role. For example, someone with high emotional intelligence will often have deep insights into how customers feel during various interactions with a company, online and in person, and shaping those touchpoints into good brand experiences.
Here are some common nontechnical skills CX candidates need for success:
Empathy — Can they put themselves in the customer’s shoes and see things from their perspective?
Problem-solving prowess — Do they possess the ability to understand customer issues and develop solutions accordingly? Can they then take what they’ve learned and proactively apply it to future process updates or innovations?
Strong verbal and written communication skills — Can candidates clearly relay information to customers? Are they able to translate data analysis and interpretation to colleagues who work in marketing or web development?
Collaborative capabilities — Can they work cohesively with other team members and departments for the good of your customers?
Adaptability — Will they embrace change as company processes, strategies and technologies evolve?
Interviewing your top CX candidates
To make the most of the interview, be it via video or more traditional means, ask a variety of questions. Start by focusing on CX candidates’ relevant work history and areas of expertise. Ask what types of CX-related software they have experience with — particularly programs for tracking and analyzing customer-related data.
It’s also helpful to inquire as to how much candidates know about your organization’s products or services. Do they understand the company they might be working for? Do they have the industry knowledge necessary to help solve your customers’ problems?
In addition, ask some pointed questions about work they’ve done to enhance the customer experience at previous companies. Do they have specific examples of how they used their customer knowledge to improve satisfaction levels? How have they worked with other teams to create a more positive customer life cycle? Have they ever seen their work make a noticeable impact on the bottom line?
How we can help you hire a customer experience specialist
If you need extra help to shore up or maintain your customer experience during this challenging time, The Creative Group can help you find the right candidates. We have years of experience helping companies bring in remote workers (and on-site staff as businesses begin to reopen physical locations), and can facilitate an all-remote recruiting process.
Whatever type of CX specialist you need — temporary, full-time or project-based — we can get someone on the job fast. With a huge pool of highly skilled workers and the ability to provide secure remote workspaces and staffing flexibility, we make it easy to hire customer experience specialists who can help keep your business on track.
This post has been updated.