As the dominance of mobile device usage in everyday life continues to rise, customers will begin to expect a customer service experience that meets their needs through text messaging. The way people interact and communicate with one another has evolved, and SMS messages ” more commonly known as text messages ” has become one of the most dominant forms of communication.

Contact Center Hiring 4 Essential Skills for SMS Customer ServiceThe evidence is clear: with text messages becoming up to eight times more effective to interacting with customers, contact centers will need to find ways to leverage this new demand. And with 64% of customers preferring text over voice support, you’re not just meeting a demand with text message customer support, you’re giving your customers what they want.

Much like with any other channel, making sure your employees can handle this form of communication is paramount. Using the hiring process to assess whether or not a candidate is able to meet the requirements of this novel communication channel is an excellent strategy to ensuring your contact center seamlessly adapts to text message customer support.

Here are some key qualities you should look for in a candidate when it comes to text message support:

Excellent Writing Skills

As the name implies, text messages are text-based. This puts a heavy requirement on writing skills for new candidates. To make sure the candidate can handle this, take advantage of writing-based simulations and tests. In addition to testing for classic spelling and grammar skills, also examine how long it takes a candidate to write and get the point across. Texts will need to be shorter in length due to message limitations, so quick and clear writing will be a winner in text messaging customer support. Consider evaluating a candidate’s judgment for when shorter messages should be used versus when a response should be broken up into a few parts.

Keep it Personal

Unlike social media support ” which is public to anyone who cares to search for a Twitter handle or Facebook page ” text messaging is between the company and the customer. Having interpersonal skills that transcend a voice support and can be shown through written communication will ensure your customers feel like they’re talking to a person, rather than an automated response system. In addition to writing simulations, incorporate personality testing into your hiring process to see if candidates have the empathy and interpersonal communication traits necessary to handle this new medium.

Use Creative Minds

One the most interesting things about text messages is that, while it may feel like a tool similar to email, social media, or live chat, there’s something about text messaging that makes the exchange take on a different type of ownership. Companies can adapt to this in unique ways ” for example, a customer can text a picture of an issue they’re having to a company’s text message support service, and the customer service representative can text back an image of a coupon or credit they can redeem to help mitigate the issue. That image becomes valuable information for the company, and that coupon instantly becomes a tangible solution for the customer. Consider strategies like this when examining candidates by testing a candidate’s creativity when it comes to providing solutions to customer issues.

Clarity is Key

Like with any customer service channel, being clear about instructions or solutions is the easiest way to keep the customer understanding of what’s going on. The same holds true for text messages. If a question is being answered, be brief but clear. If more information is required of the customer, be short and direct with what is needed. Making sure the customer understands the first time not only speeds up the support process, it also reduces the risk of having a customer get frustrated. Make sure when a candidate is being assessed that you’re evaluating his or her ability to be concise and clear regarding instructions, solutions, or requests for more information.

As text messages continue to rise in importance, so does the ability to handle support issues via SMS. Using the hiring process to ensure customer service candidates can undertake this responsibility will save your company time and money as this practice becomes more common. Using the essential traits above, you can create an online of important skills required of any candidate for SMS customer support.

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