We had a client that struggled with high turnover for a mission critical position that titled Customer Service Representative. We were hired to create a job benchmark for the position and subsequently assess candidates.
To Avoid Confusing Activity with Achievement
Our Job Benchmarking process works with company subject matter experts who know the job and culture. With this group we determine the job’s key accountabibilities. These take the form of three to five achievements as we seek to define the service model and desired outcomes for a specific job. In effect, we define star performance for the position. Then we methodically survey our subject matter experts to generate a Job Benchmark that prioritizes attributes, skills, behaviors and motivators of a potential star performer for this job in this culture.
In our facilitated discussions with the client’s job experts for this Customer Service position, we started to collect some responsibilities that were un-common to a typical customer service role. Profitable sourcing of customer requirements was at the top of the accountability list. The group agreed that the job potentially provided great fulfillment for a proactive, results orientated person as the job was an opportunity to run a business within the business.
Moment of Discovery
Upon hearing all of this, I was compelled to ask: Why are we calling this a “Customer Service Position”? Their answer is the title of this post. “That’s what the prior owners of the company called it ten years ago.” One of our job experts had joined the company eight years ago in a customer service capacity and had grown along with the position. Upon reflection, she candidly admitted that if she had started in the position as it is today, she would have lacked the skills to do the job and could never have done the job. Indeed, all too many other successful candidates for the job that the skills that served them in other Customer Service positions did not translate to success in this job. The result was a revolving door of frustrated workers that resulted in under served customers and untold lost revenue opportunities. And the ongoing turnover related costs of re-recruitment and training.
So the client discovered the cause of their turnover problem. They created an new, more appropriate job title and defined and communicated the jobs proactive attributes and key accountabilities up front. We surveyed the job experts to generate a prioritized list of attributes, behaviors and values: the Job’s DNA. We could then match the DNA of their candidates with the newly discovered DNA of the job. The metaphoric revolving door to their customer sourcing department is gone. Their customers are better served. Their turnover bleeding has stoped.