The service industry spans many sectors of the economy. Professionals with customer service experience can come from backgrounds as varied as hospitality, travel, health care and information technology.
When you hire someone with experience working directly with customers, you get an employee with the ability to communicate effectively, manage expectations and provide value. Here are five reasons to consider candidates with service industry experience for your open roles:
1. They have excellent communication skills
Candidates from the service industry know how to talk to customers and clients. They understand how to be patient and helpful when dealing with frustrated people. The ability to manage expectations and provide timely information is useful in any professional setting.
Plus, there's a good chance they have strong persuasive speaking skills, even if they weren't in a sales role. Experience working with people gives them the confidence to collaborate with customers and clients to solve problems and provide value in the moment. In situations where they don't have the answers, service industry professionals understand how to elevate concerns in the proper manner.
2. They're good in a crisis
Anyone who has worked in a service role has dealt with crisis situations. Whether managing customers calling in a panic or responding to a situation that's out of their control, they understand how to comport themselves in a professional manner.
"Candidates coming out of the service industry typically have experience working in extremely intense, stressful situations," says Katie Hackney, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Columbus, OH. "The ability to stay calm while communicating with other team members is something that can greatly benefit employers when a project is getting off track or coming upon a firm deadline."
Service industry professionals know to stay calm and follow company protocols when they're faced with unique challenges. They've been trained to approach problems from a systematic perspective, while maintaining a professional demeanor.
3. They're great at empathizing with customers
Professionals with customer service experience understand how to place themselves in the shoes of customers. Empathy goes a long way toward providing an excellent customer experience, even when things don't go according to plan.
According to a McKinsey study, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customers feel they're treated during their interaction. In other words, even if customers have experienced a problem, a good interaction with an employee can help them to feel positive about the brand. This can lead to strong customer retention and satisfaction.
4. They build strong brand knowledge
Professionals in the service industry are great at absorbing company messaging and using it to inform their customer interactions. They know what type of behavior is expected of them and work to make every conversation meaningful.
They understand the importance of getting to know the ins and outs of the company so they can respond knowledgeably when asked a question. For instance, employees in the retail sector get to know all about the various products they sell so they can be helpful when customers have questions. The ability to absorb and retain that sort of knowledge is highly useful in other industries.
5. They possess strong problem-solving skills
In the world of customer service, there's no time to call a team meeting to discuss how to handle a customer's problem. More often than not, customer service representatives have to make snap decisions and utilize problem-solving skills to help customers as quickly as possible. In other words, they're great at identifying the nature of a problem, considering potential solutions and then immediately implementing the best solution.
"Those who've worked in the service industry just have an innate knack for solving conflicts," notes Lindsey Hastings, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Legal Division in Richmond, VA. "I've had experience running multiple offices, and when I started hiring individuals with service industry experience to my remote office, the number of issues I personally dealt with decreased dramatically. Customer service skills – knowing when to escalate a matter, and having the confidence to deal with lesser matters head-on – are invaluable to any profession."
Candidates with customer service experience can solve problems quickly while staying calm and patient with clients. It's a skill set that is highly valuable in many situations.
Looking for strong candidates for your open roles? Connect with the expert recruiters at Beacon Hill Staffing Group to find the talent your business needs to succeed.
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