How do you hire the right people for your technical support team? What are the key skills and qualities you should be looking for? You will find detailed answers to these and many other important questions in this guide.
Hiring technical support agents is not an easy task. For this reason, we’ve written this guide to provide you with the top six tips for building your technical support team successfully. In it, you will learn what key qualities and skills to look for, and how to do it correctly.
Technical support is a vital component of any technology-related product or service. It’s not just enough to sell something. You must also provide continuous and effective assistance to your customers.
If a company fails to do it, it may ruin the entire customer experience and satisfaction. It does not matter how great a product is if one can’t receive excellent technical support. For this reason, building a great technical support team is a crucial task for HR managers.
Many companies struggle with building great customer service precisely because they hire the wrong people. In many cases, HR managers do not know how to screen and test technical support agents. They assume that it’s similar to hiring general customer support agents. This is a big mistake. Technical support and customer service are slightly different things.
The former requires sufficient technical knowledge and skills in addition to the long list of qualities which customer support agents must possess. And even if HR managers do know this, they sometimes fail to effectively test candidates.
Below we’ll provide the key six tips for screening and hiring the best talent for your technical support team:
- Examine technical knowledge and skills
- Check their ability to provide multichannel support
- Understanding of your business
- Make sure they have the right experience
- Must be a kind, polite, and naturally-positive person
- Must be a team player
Of course, each of these tips requires a detailed explanation.
Examine Technical Knowledge and Skills
The key thing you should be looking for is sufficient technical knowledge. This requires conducting a series of tests for estimating it. You should also ask relevant questions during the interview. Additionally, you can ask for official certificates or documents which confirm a candidate’s level of technical proficiency.
Unless you are knowledgeable in the required technologies, it’s not a good idea to set up the tests yourself. Instead, have someone who is proficient in those technologies create the tests and ask questions during the interview. He or she can estimate a candidate’s technical level better than anyone else.
Check Their Ability to Provide Multichannel Support
These days providing great support is not enough. Your customers must be able to get your assistance through multiple channels. Not the channels which you like but the ones which they prefer. In most cases, these are email, phone, live chat, and social media.
Consequently, your support agents must be comfortable with all those channels. You don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t know how to use Facebook Messenger if that’s one of your support channels. Therefore, a part of the testing process is ensuring that candidates are comfortable working with all the support channels you use.
Understanding of Your Business
How can agents provide effective assistance without a good understanding of how your business works and the industry, in general?
Exactly, they can’t.
Therefore, during interviews, you must also check how well they understand your industry and business. If their expertise is not sufficient, it’s not the end of the world. You can teach them, provided they are fast learners.
Make Sure They Have the Right Experience
Experience is the second magic pillar of excellent technical support. Nothing can substitute it. Vast experience is definitely something you want to see in an ideal candidate’s resume.
However, just because a candidate does not have it this does not mean he or she is a bad hire. If you see big potential, the right personal qualities and ability to learn, you can hire that person in spite of lack of experience.
Must Be a Polite, Kind, and Naturally Positive Person
These three qualities are mandatory for any customer support agent. Technical assistance is no exception. Conversations with customers require all agents to be polite and supportive. It’s important to remain calm and positive even when conversations become unpleasant. Some people are just naturally more optimistic and positive than others. These are the people you want on your team.
Must Be a Team Player
Technical support requires tight cooperation between team members. For this reason, every one of them must be good at working in a team and interacting with other colleagues. It often happens that a great support specialist may not have good social skills and is an introvert.
In such a case, ensure that it doesn’t negatively affect the teamwork and overall performance of your technical support team.
Building a great technical support team is impossible without a diligent and careful hiring process. This process should include serious technical tests and interviews. You must ensure that candidates are capable of providing effective multichannel support.
They must have a good understanding of your business and industry. Vast experience is also a big plus. Finally, the ideal candidate must be kind, polite, optimistic and a team player. All of these tips will help you to build a real rockstar team.
About the Author
Dan Goldman is a full-time writer and content marketing manager at CyberCraft Inc. He is passionate about HR management, software development and how these two overlap.