Ask anyone you know if they have recently experienced bad customer service, and you’ll be regaled with tales of shop clerks too involved in personal conversations to notice a customer needs assistance, or of call-center employees so focused on selling upgrades that they barely addressed the issue the customer called about. Your friends will probably end the story by saying they no longer do businesses with that company if they can help it.

While bad customer service will cost you customers, good customer service is how you keep your existing customers. Those happy customers often become ambassadors for your enterprise, spreading the word of good service they received and recommending your business to their friends. The Right Now 2011 Customer Service Impact Report indicates that 86 percent of customers will pay more for a better service experience, and nine out of 10 will move to a competitor if they experience poor customer service.

Testing for customer service skills before you hire someone is your best way to ensure your employees have the necessary skills. A good customer service representative has attributes that might not be apparent on a job application. These include:

  • A positive attitude.
  • An ability to work with diverse people.
  • A desire to meet the needs of others.
  • A tolerance for frustration and for dealing with people who are upset, angry or complaining.

For the most part, these are not skills that can be taught. The benefit of pre-employment customer service skill tests is that you will find the workers who are naturally inclined to serve customers. Once you know a potential employee will be happy in the customer service role, you can teach him the specifics he needs to perform the role for your company. 

The consequences of not performing pre-employment customer service skill  tests can be huge. Think of how many clients a customer service agent deals with in just one day. Do the math to figure out how many previously good customer relationships an unqualified customer service rep could damage in a week, a month, or a year. Put a dollar figure on those lost sales or the cost of recruiting new customers to replace repeat business, and the damage might be staggering.

Pre-employment customer service skill tests are a cost-effective way to make sure your new hire has what it takes to meet the needs of your customers.