Wayfair’s innovative recruitment methods help drive their award winning customer service

Comic Con Guardians

In the world of customer service, frontline roles are evolving and are doing so rapidly. As higher levels of self-service and the utilisation of artificial intelligence, chat bots and other tech applications take hold, frontline customer service roles are evolving such that they are now starting to require deeper level thinking and problem solving skills.

This is supported by research done by BT futurist Nicola Millard who published a report in 2014 called SuperAgent 2020, which found that the 2 most important skills for frontline agents in the coming years will be communication skills and problem solving skills.

However, considering this and traditional methods of recruitment……how do you know if someone has these sort of skills?

And, can you discern and judge if they have them or not from a CV? Or, from an interview process?

Possibly.

But, many firms are now starting to question whether or not traditional methods of recruitment are the best ways to identify and recruit these sort of skills.

One such company is Wayfair, an online home furnishings and décor items retailer, who is rapidly innovating around their recruitment practices in order to make sure that they attract, identify and recruit the sort of talent that they need to continue to deliver their award-winning customer service.

In an interview with Liz Graham, Vice President of Sales and Service at Wayfair, she told me about a couple of new and innovative initiatives that they have recently implemented:

  1. Comic-Con – The Wayfair team recently travelled to a Comic-Con festival in Salt Lake City and set up a Guardians of the Galaxy stand in order to attract and engage with new talent. The stand was a hit both in and outside of the company as it attracted a lot of highly talented and passionate new candidates. But, it also generated a lot of engagement amongst their employees who were much more willing to come and talk with potential candidates at somewhere like Comic Con rather than at a traditional job fair.
  2. Escape The Room – One of the next initiatives that they have implemented is an ‘Escape the Room’ type challenge, where candidates are faced with a number of activities including puzzles, riddles and word logic-based reasoning problems. Observing candidates performing in this type of environment, allows Wayfair’s recruiters to get a better sense of the candidates personalities, their ability to think creatively and work as a team and how they handle complex problems in a fun yet high-pressure situation. Moreover, they have also found that the skills and attributes of the people that do well at this type of challenge are highly correlated with those that do well at Wayfair.

What is clear is that, in the future, firms will need to recruit people that are not only technically proficient but are also creative, problem solvers, team players and great communicators if they are to deliver the level of service that they and their customers want.

However, firms like Wayfair realise that the CV and the traditional interview process is just not going to cut it and have started to develop innovative recruitment methods so that they can continue to evolve the way that they identify and recruit the skills and talent that they need to fuel their future growth.

They’ve started. Have you?

 

 

 

This post was originally published on my Forbes column.
Photo Credit: GabboT Flickr via Compfight cc

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