3 Essential Qualities of Excellent Customer Service Employees

A conversation with Mandy Nelson

I had the opportunity to talk with Mandy Nelson, Director of Human Resources, Premier Health, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She offered recruiting insights for other Human Resources professionals.

Chad Harrington
January 2016

Mandy Nelson (Image credit: Premier Health)

Mandy Nelson (Image credit: Premier Health)

Premier Health is an urgent care organization who specializes in joint-ventures with some of the nation’s top health systems.

They manage approximately 40 urgent care clinics in partnership with several hospital systems representing a number of hospitals. Nelson aides hiring for Premier at over 30 locations in Louisiana, Indiana, with expansion plans into Alabama in 2016 with several new clinics. As the Director of Human Resources for Premier Health, Mandy’s main goal is to hire “the right people for the right fit.”

When hiring for customer service, Nelson knows the importance of making a great hire, so she offered three essential qualities that she looks for.

3 Essential Qualities of Excellent Customer Service Employees

  1. Character
  2. Responsiveness, and
  3. Experience in customer service

On responsiveness as an essential quality

Mandy Nelson: "I base a lot of my first impression of them on their responsiveness. If you apply for the position and I’m reaching out to you, I’m looking for these key triggers: How long did it take you to reply? What did you say in your reply? If they call me or email me, I’m looking to see how they communicate with me initially. That’s going to tell me a little about how they’re going to communicate with our patients when they first meet them.

An example of the recent hire who met those qualifications

“We just recently hired someone to come help in the administrative office. The second I met her, I knew.

"She presented well, she spoke enough, but she paused and let us speak, too—she didn’t try to speak over us. Sometimes I’m a little reluctant when someone has the right answer for everything or has been through every situation (that may throw up red flags for me).
 
“Someone who definitely answers everything, but pauses and gives you an opportunity to answer back. I like someone who comes in prepared with their questions. I personally love it when people ask us about the benefits of the company, because I think we offer a really good package. I’m proud of them. It helps me to know that they’re thinking about this position for the long haul, which is important, too.”

 
Image credit: Premier Health

Image credit: Premier Health

 

Premier company benefits that attract candidates 

  • Two medical plans with dental, vision, life, long-term, short-term
  • 401k
  • Safe Harbor (i.e., the employee doesn’t have to contribute anything, company gives three percent of annual income regardless of their contribution)
  • Supplemental insurance through AFLAC
  • Comprehensive PTO plan with sick and vacation options
  • Eight paid holidays

Top 3 Pieces of Advice for other HR Directors in General

Mandy told us her top three pieces of advice for other HR Directors in healthcare:

1. Personally know the areas you’re hiring for.

“Job requirements will be different for a front desk position when compared to those for a Registered Nurse. Knowing about the job we’re trying to fill helps out with communication.”

2. Nothing is better than face-to-face. Email is okay to start, but communication is always best in person, or even over the phone.

3. Conduct face-to-face orientations as much as possible. Video training modules are not a replacement for in-person, orientations. I recommend using them as a supplement to their training.