Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service?

Since we are on the subject of hiring people, I thought this would be a good post. The post about customer service in the media relations department will be posted tomorrow.

This is a bit different than my usual posts, but give me a chance. Firstly, the subject was inspired by Ben Yoskovitz and the headline was written by Brian Clark (both of whom have excellent blogs). They shared their ideas with me at Successful Blog‘s Open Mic night (held every Tuesday – it is a lot of fun and worth checking out). Though the “official” topic was The Wizard of Oz, there was a good amount of talk about moronic idiots who happen to work in customer service. Many people who work in customer service are quite intelligent; but for as many intelligent ones, it seems there are 5 moronic idiot counterparts.

Everyone has dealt with people who work in customer service that are just plain old stupid. They don’t really understand what is going on, who is supposed to be ding what, what they are supposed to do, or how to do it. Their lack of intelligence often leads to a below average customer service experience at best. Hiring the right people is important.

  1. Test their abilities. Read this post written by an employee assessment test expert. Inc. Magazine had a big article about testing employee’s abilities through a series of assessment tests and job-like scenario tests (note: at the time of writing, the new issue of their magazine is not on their web site). Testing employees to get a feel about how their actual knowledge, if they will fit into your company culture and how well they will do on the job is extremely important. It’s hard to tell that from an interview, so try the tests and challenges out.
  2. Ensure the hiring and training processes are run by smart people. Make sure there are no moronic idiots interviewing, making hiring decisions, or doing the training. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – so as countless books suggest – have A players hire other A players. Otherwise, B players will hire C players, C players will hire D players, and so on. Ensure some of the company’s best and brightest employees are involved in the hiring and training processes.
  3. Find good talent. A big part of not hiring moronic idiots is knowing where to find people. Be creative with how you post your job ads. Are you looking for a customer service representative that isn’t doing anything that complicated and that you are willing to train? Then post an ad for a receptionist with above-average customer skills. This person very well may be a good fit for the job. Ask employees to refer people they think may be fits. Always keep your eyes out for talent. Or do as Craig Newmark suggests and hire hardened criminals, specifically ex-cons to work in your customer service department. (Too bad he was kidding.)
  4. Pay better. It is a sad fact, but generally, the better you are willing to pay, the more talented people you will have applying to work for you. This isn’t always the case, but if you are paying twice the average wage for the same job, chances are the best of the best for that job will want to work for you. Ensure other things like company benefits, company culture, and some other perks (free lunches, daycare, etc.) are at least up to par with your competition. If your company is a miserable place to work, no one will want to work there.
  5. Read about it. Read books about hiring smart (a book called Topgrading comes to mind), read this post, read articles in magazines and newspapers about how to hire right, ask people about it (not reading, but along the same lines of self-education), and actually make an effort to to do it right.

Remember, keep the moronic idiots out of your company and it will do better.

Edit: Brian Clark has submitted this article to digg. digg it

Edit #2: Ben Yoskovitz added this article to reddit. reddit link

7 Responses to “Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service?”

  1. CustomersAreAlways said:

    Aug 02, 06 at 8:36 pm

    Ignorant, Self-Centered Customer Service Reps…Ok, They’re Just Plain Moronic…

    Service Untitled has a great post called "Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service?".  Fortunately I don’t come across too many of these people, but when I do, I really try not to let them get……

  2. Ben Yoskovitz said:

    Aug 03, 06 at 2:44 pm

    Hey Doug – nice work. It really is a great title.

    I just put it on reddit. Best of luck to you.

    And if I could avoid stupid people I’d be a way better off person…*smile*

  3. Successful Blog - Digg This! A Post Born in OZ said:

    Sep 15, 06 at 8:02 pm

    […] Here’s Doug’s original post at Service Untitled: Who Else Wishes . . . […]

  4. Successful Blog - 20 More Successful Bloggers’ Most Successful Posts: Afternoon and Evening Links said:

    Oct 27, 06 at 10:41 am

    […] Customer Service Difference #3: Ritz Carlton and Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service? […]

  5. A Place To Come Home To: Successful Blog » TravelBlog Archive » Family Travel said:

    Oct 27, 06 at 2:49 pm

    […] Customer Service Difference #3: Ritz Carlton and Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service? […]

  6. Service Untitled » Rapid Growth: Recruiting, Hiring, and Training - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Dec 03, 06 at 4:12 pm

    […] Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service? […]

  7. Service Untitled » What You Want vs. What You Get - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Dec 07, 06 at 11:10 am

    […] Follow the advice. Read this classic post on Service Untitled. Listen to your HR managers, listen to the consulants you hire, listen to somewhat well informed bloggers. You can’t be good at everything, so it is okay to admit that other people may know how to hire better than you. […]