Our #BehindTheScreens blog series has been exploring the regional nuances and people behind HireRight’s global background screening solutions. We know that employers all over the world are seeing huge benefits to adding background screening to their talent acquisition strategies – but the inclination for screening programmes varies widely from region to region.
In this next Behind the Screens instalment, we are exploring the EMEA Customer Service (CS) team, which is supported by a dedicated EMEA CS Management team, who live and breathe great service. Our EMEA Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are located in the UK and Poland, supporting English, Polish, French, and German languages. On an average month, our team has around 35,000 interactions with both customers and applicants, 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.
Customer support is more than just providing answers; it’s an important part of the promise that we make to our customers. Great customer support drives an amazing customer experience, especially when our team moves beyond just reacting to problems and towards anticipating customers’ needs. Our Customer Service Representatives are supported and empowered to go above and beyond with our customers, creating winning experiences that help HireRight stand out from the competition. We are always looking for ways to improve our service offering and will continue to do so in 2022.
Customer service has been my passion throughout my career and creating the EMEA team has been a challenge, a privilege, and an honour. Over the years, we have built a strong and dedicated team who work tirelessly to help each contact leave satisfied.
For this latest #BehindTheScreens blog post, I spoke with Customer Service Manager Magda Milek and CSR Wojciech Dziabor about their roles in the Customer Service team, common candidate queries, and some of the challenges when supporting candidates from across the EMEA region.
How long have you worked at HireRight and what is your role?
Magda: I have been with HireRight for over 14 years, working in various roles and departments before most recently joining the Customer Service team as a CS Manager. I first started working in a customer-facing role 10 years ago and have enjoyed it ever since. I currently manage a CS team of 60+ people based in EMEA who provide support to EMEA and U.S.-based customers in four different languages: English, German, French, and Polish.
Wojciech: I have worked at HireRight as a Customer Service Representative for one year. Prior to joining, I worked for one and a half years in the Client Retention Team at Groupon.
What are the most common candidate queries you receive?
Magda: Candidates contact Customer Service with a variety of questions, however, most of the time they are reaching out to provide clarification about the information they’ve entered on their background screening form. They also often want to receive an update on the progress of their screening, which is something only the employer or recruiter can provide, or to better understand HireRight’s processes and procedures.
Wojciech: The most common candidate query types include clarifications of information (e.g. changing the name of an employer that may have been misspelled or updating incorrectly entered employment dates), requesting information about our processes (e.g. candidates requesting information about what happens throughout the screening process or checking the documentation they will need before completing their screening form), or candidates having issues with their online forms (e.g. contractors sometimes have challenges around their past employment details).
How have things changed for the EMEA Customer Service team since the start of the pandemic?
Magda: The start of the pandemic triggered a shift in how the Customer Service team works. For safety reasons, we all moved to work from home, but this didn’t limit our ability to service customers in any way. When it comes to the types of queries we’ve received during this time, there was not a massive change from usual, however, we did notice a significant increase in candidates using online chat as their preferred method of communication.
What are some of the challenges of supporting candidates from across the different countries in EMEA and how do you overcome these?
Magda: Most candidates from countries such as the U.S. or the UK are familiar with the concept of background screening, so the process doesn’t usually cause them much concern. While awareness of background screening in Europe is growing, candidates are generally less confident and tend to ask more questions, especially if they are going through their first screening.
The diversity of our team – Customer Service Representatives from different countries and backgrounds – is a huge benefit and allows us to service candidates from all around the world with ease. Our team is even trained to ensure the pace of speaking and language used is adjusted to match the candidate’s level, to aid communication and avoid any confusion.
Wojciech: Some of the candidates who contact us are a little worried about the screening process. This is usually quickly resolved by providing a detailed explanation of how the screening is conducted and its purpose. It is important to speak carefully to candidates, as a word or sentence misinterpreted can escalate their concerns, and we don’t want that.
I think the best way to calm candidates down is to smile. Just smile over the phone – even if they can’t see it, they will hear it. If they hear it, it will get to them and lighten their mood a bit. Then, if you explain everything calmly and clearly, they are more likely to feel reassured.
Language can also be a challenge, for example, if you have a candidate contacting you via online chat in a different language. By having a good understanding of the most common queries, we are still able to assist candidates even if there is a language gap to be bridged.
What do you like the best about your role?
Magda: I love my team. I am very proud to work with people who are so engaged and fully devoted to performing their daily duties despite any challenges. I think they’re amazing and their combined skills make one awesome team, which allows us to effectively service our customer base. I also like the fact that my current position is constantly changing and evolving, giving me the chance to grow both personally and professionally.
Wojciech: I absolutely love helping people, explaining, and assisting. When you get thanks from candidates, especially during a call after talking to you, that is the best feeling you can get. Thanks to you, someone will be in a much better mood because you took care of the problem they were having.
Finally, what do you think it takes to be a great customer service professional?
Magda: I believe that to be successful in any customer-facing role you need to have what I call a “customer service personality”. While the role can be taught, confident communicators with high levels of empathy and self-control coupled with an ability to listen effectively will make a perfect and successful customer service professional.
Wojciech: I think that a good customer service professional should be a good listener, have a friendly approach, and have an understanding of psychology. Active listening is really important to the role, making sure you allow the candidate to fully explain their situation without interruptions, which could throw them off track.
Being in a good mood and having a friendly tone can help you avoid a lot of conflicts, even if the caller is frustrated or upset. When they hear your sincerity and friendliness paired with a willingness to understand and assist, it can quickly diffuse the situation.
Lastly, the ability to understand others is the most important skill. Being able to put yourself in their shoes for a moment and feel what they feel, can really help you to understand why they think and feel the way they do. With a good understanding of human psychology, all the above will come naturally, and you will be a great customer service professional.
Be part of a diverse, global team dedicated to helping the world’s greatest companies – including your most loved brands – hire their talent with confidence.
We are always looking for motivated, talented people to join our Customer Service team, so please check our EMEA Careers page for any roles that coming up within the team. And stay tuned for the next update in our Behind the Screens series, which looks at the people supporting HireRight in the Middle East.