5 Ways to Onboard New CSRs

The right onboarding is crucial for CSRs, whose duties include being the face of the company, answering questions for customers.

After going through the process of finding candidates, interviewing prospects and eventually choosing the individual who's perfect for the customer service representative (CSR) position you're trying to fill, it may be tempting to take a deep breath, sit back and think that the hard part is mostly over. And while taking a deep breath is certainly never a bad idea, thinking that new employees will simply figure everything out on their own is. This is especially true for CSRs, whose main responsibilities include being the face of the company, answering questions and helping clients and customers through their issues. In this case, proper onboarding couldn't be more critical. Providing CSRs with the information and tools they need to feel comfortable on the phone, via chat or in person, will not only make them better at their own jobs, but it will ensure that the image your company portrays is accurate at all levels of the business. Here are five ways to onboard new CSRs to help make their transition much smoother and to make them productive team members sooner.
  • Create or customize a customer service employee handbook
Having a go-to source for every question and concern, while a sizable undertaking to start from scratch, can be extremely helpful for new employees. Fill a CSR handbook with information about the company, policies, FAQs, insights about customers and anything else that would help new CSRs feel as though they've been with the company for years. Or personalize an existing handbook by adding notes with tips, tricks and helpful message points. Your advice and suggestions can help new hires feel welcome and comfortable with you as a colleague or boss. See also: How to Redesign Customer Experience
  • Set up new employee meet-and-greets
Usually during the first few days on the job, employees are bombarded with countless names and titles, making it stressful for them if they believe they are expected to remember everyone immediately. By organizing ice-breaking meet-and-greets between new and current employees, supervisors can provide everyone with the chance to learn a bit more about each other, and new hires may more quickly feel like part of the collective group.
  • Organize regular check-ins
Starting a new job is overwhelming. It's often difficult to know how you're doing, if you're doing the job right and if there's anything you should be doing differently. By setting up weekly check-ins with new hires, even just for 10 minutes in the morning, employees can ask any questions they have, and you can provide helpful feedback on their performance. This can also be a great time to review customer service reports or calls to ensure that all steps are being taken to solve customers' issues. This small time commitment can help employees stay on track early in their development.
  • Write an onboarding checklist
During the first few weeks of a new job, there are seemingly dozens of forms, meetings, technology setups and more that an employee has to complete. Developing a checklist for new employees to make sure they are prepared to do their job is a great way to take the full onboarding onus off of you or HR. This checklist can also be a great place to set immediate, concrete goals that you'd like new employees to achieve within a scheduled timeframe. To ensure that the checklist doesn't seem like one more piece of paperwork, make it a little less formal by adding a few must-visit lunch spots, important people to meet or other fun aspects of your corporate culture.
  • Run through some mock customer service calls
New CSRs are ideally hired for interpersonal skills and their ability to solve problems. However, the way those things are conveyed to customers can vary dramatically from one company to the next, and new employees will often default to the methods and messages they used at their last employer. To gauge how new employees will respond to your company's calls and test whether they're staying on message, run through some mock customer service calls — from simple to exasperating — before allowing them to answer phones on behalf of the company. If adjustments need to be made, you can alert them to how things are done at your company and correct any issues before they present themselves during a live call. See also: Are We Listening to Our Customers? These suggestions are surely just a few ways to optimize your onboarding process. Do you have anything to add that you've found helpful? Please share your advice below so other professionals can learn from your experience. Thanks!

Susan Kearney

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Susan Kearney

Susan Kearney joined The Institutes in 2007 as a senior director of knowledge resources. In her current role, Kearney is a key source for industry issues and technical insurance, providing content for trade publications and leading workshops and seminars.


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