Word on the street is that there’s an algorithm that can detect whether a candidate is likely to succeed as a help desk employee. The idea is simple—using voice pattern recognition, the algorithm can predict whether an interviewee will succeed in commanding your telephone lines.
In theory, this idea sounds great…until you realize that help desk support requires more—much more— than a pleasant voice. Especially in technical companies, customer service reps need to be able to think on their feet and tackle situational complexities. This job is a demanding one that requires team members to be upbeat for hours on end, while translating technical jargon into layman’s terms. An algorithm will fall short in explaining how a potential employee responds to angry customers or situations that are touch to tackle.
If you want to build a world-class help desk operation, you can’t use an algorithm. Here’s why:
1 – The best support reps are empowered to think on their feet
Your best support reps aren’t robots — they’re living, breathing human beings who enjoy thinking on their feet. That’s why companies like Eventbrite give careful consideration to who they invite to join the team. All customer support hires must demonstrate empathy, sensibility, and creative problem-solving skills.
As a result, Eventbrite’s customer support operation is self-sustaining; with team members feeling empowered to think on their feet. There are absolutely no scripts in the picture here, meaning that Eventbrite has full trust and confidence in its team members’ personalities and skills.
You need more than an algorithm to assemble a team this strong.
2 – People need coaching
Helpdesk work is stressful. Customer service reps spend hours listening to complaints and are often on the receiving end of an angry customer or stressful situation. It can take some level of time and coaching for new team members to fully succeed in this type of role.
Some people are good at hiding but not truly managing their stress. Voice, alone, won’t tell you whether someone is struggling, dealing with anxiety, or suffering from depression.
When hiring, companies need to screen applicants for emotional strength and ensure that team members have the characteristics to make help desk work sustainable and engaging. An algorithm will fall short in uncovering these traits—the best way for hiring managers to read people is with their own eyes and ears.
3 – Great service comes from empathy
Top performing helpdesk workers are strategic consultants who can recognize and empathize with their customers’ needs. This capability is often seen ‘in the moment’ and is otherwise undetectable in every day life. In other words, it’s virtually impossible to detect empathy—a quality that can be faked—by listening to a person’s voice.
Consider the Apple Store, as an example. Nobody has a script. What team members do have, however, is strong understanding for how certain products fit into their customers’ lifestyles.
No algorithm will be sophisticated enough to detect this capability—hiring managers need to rely on interviews to find these great people.
If something—like an algorithm—sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You need to take a step back to remember how and why you’re hiring helpdesk workers. Success in the role depends on more than an aesthetically pleasing voice.