Perfection doesn’t exist—but some people just happen to possess the characteristics that make them more suited for playing the role of customer support agents, while others just don’t. So what is it that makes these “perfect”individuals different? What are the traits that make them the ideal candidates when dealing with other people’s problems? This article will take a look at some of these common character traits that set fantastic customer service employees apart.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter

There are numerous ways in which you can classify personality types. In 1978, educational psychologist David Keirsey devised the theory of personality temperaments, grouping them into four – the Artisan, the Guardian, the Rational, and the Idealist.. The benefit of such personality tests and classification method is that it will help in understanding your prospective employee’s temperament and thus facilitate decisions on how they fit in your company and by extension determine how well they can serve your customers.

In order for you to find the perfect candidate, you will have to be specific and certain about what you are looking for. When placing job postings, remember to not only include the requirements and job descriptions, but also a paragraph or two about the type of person that you are looking for.

Here are some outstanding personality traits to look for in your next customer service employee:

1. They Are Loyal

As author Alexander Kjerulf says, “Happy employees make the customers happy.” It might sound rather straight forward, but happiness and satisfaction within a company will inevitably lead to loyalty.

When interviewing a candidate, pay attention to what they say about the previous companies they’ve worked for. There will definitely be some underlying unhappiness, (why else would they have left the job?) but a potential employee that speaks highly of their previous company despite having left is one that is both respectful and is loyal. A customer care representative that is loyal will always put the company’s interest in priority when dealing with difficult customers. This doesn’t mean that they’ll speak up for the business regardless of fault, it just means that they’ll try their utmost best to protect the company’s image even in the presence of most difficult customers. Usually, this means apologizing and placating the customer even when reason stands on the company’s side.

“Studies show very clearly that when employees like their jobs, customers get better service and are more satisfied.”– Executive Travel magazine

2. The 3 P’s – Positivity, Patience, And Politeness

Although companies may have had a limited customer service budget in the past, finding the ideal employee has taken precedence over lowering costs in recent years. The perfect customer service employees have a positive attitude, are patient with customers and are polite to all. These are just the basics of satisfying the needs of both the client and the company. If you neglect paying attention to these details while hiring, you might find yourself having a hard time trying to convert a hot-headed, negative individual into a suitable member of your customer support team. Your HR team or the person conducting the interview should also know how to decipher a resume in order to find the right match. When reading through your prospective employee’s resume, look for keywords in their testimonials such as “works well with others” and “maintains a positive attitude.” Positivity is important because dealing with customer issues day after day can place a strain on an employee’s mental health. Being able to maintain a positive outlook despite the daily churn can help negate the negative effects of customer servicing. Patience and politeness allows the customer service rep to project their voice, tone, and brand without sounding rude or agitated. They will also be able to solve complex customer problems without losing their cool.

“The link between employee attitude and customer satisfaction can be seen both in quantitative studies and in everyday life.” – People Ink

They Are Problem-Solvers By Nature

Companies that excel at customer service don’t wait for a problem to arise before addressing it. They take a preemptive approach in managing possible risks and being prepared when a problem does arise.

Similarly, customer service employees must be able to provide a solution even before the customer poses the question (within reason of course!). In combination with a problem-solving nature, the candidate also needs to be a great listener in order to gather ‘clues’ and read between the lines during communication.

With reference to the above mentioned temperament types it is ideal for customer service reps to be either the Artisan or Guardian type since they are known for being stable, conscientious as well as pleasant to talk to and great at problem-solving.

They Are Highly Conscientious

Look for candidates that are highly conscientious. The candidate that arrives late for the interview, looking completely flustered and confused is probably not the ideal choice.

Conscientious individuals are reliable, disciplined, methodical, organized, and goal driven. The Journal of Applied Social Psychology noted that “[individuals] who are identified through tests as highly conscientious are more likely to be aware of how good interpersonal interactions positively affect customer service – and are more likely to behave this way.”

To a degree, conscientious individuals s are “pleasers” in the sense that they are aware of what works for certain people and what doesn’t. They have a strong intuition about what is morally right and wrong as well as how to treat others.

When customers make a call, they’re actively seeking help in resolving a problem. A conscientious customer service agent will be better equipped to pick up the clues interlaced in the customer’s words, that will allow them to resolve pain points. Zopim also shares some creative ways in which you can deal with difficult clients and complaints while remaining helpful and calm.

“When you show respect to your customer, you’ll eventually gain his or her respect in return.” – Sales Gravy

5. They Are Persuasive

A great customer service employee will also have some amazing marketing and sales skills. It’s not always about being a manipulator, but being able to steer the customer into a direction that is beneficial for both the company and the client.

If you want to know if your candidate has this trait, ask a simple question in the interview such as “Why should we hire you?” This way he/she has to sell themselves in a persuasive manner while listing qualities, traits and reasons—a perfect, practical test of their customer service skills.

When interviewing candidates to become your next customer service hero, look for for these qualities, traits and skills. Look for someone that is easy to communicate with, is able to persuade you, is polite, patient, conscientious, and shows the potential of becoming one of your most loyal employees ever. Employing someone that already has all these great character traits is half the battle won in the war for great customer service.

Read more: