Mar 15, 2016
Reaction score
How to Hire Support Employees that Guarantee Positive Online Reviews


Customers can be tough.

Some, once they?ve paid for your product, become demanding and difficult. These customers pick at your support staff, slowly wearing them down.

When this happens, conflict is inevitable.

Your support staff is your first line of defense. They experience abuse on a regular basis. Customers approach from a neutral place of need and occasionally a negative place of unhappiness and dissatisfaction.

Can your support staff thrive in that environment or?

Will your support staff make things worse?

Most of us know it?s important to choose the right support staff. We hear legendary stories about amazing support teams and how they?re (rightfully) rewarded with amazing reviews and more business.

But we also hear the horror stories.

You have your own horror stories I?m sure.

We all know what a horrible customer service experience looks like. We?ve also seen the negative reviews that come with horrible service, and we know what it?s like to deal with terrible support staff.

How do we find and hire amazing support staff?

More specifically, how do we hire support employees who?ll virtually guarantee we receive positive online reviews?

It?s simple.

Step #1: Use OCEAN to find amazing support employees

The big five personality traits, listed under the acronym OCEAN, gives you the keys you need to find amazing support employees.

  • Openness to experience measures intellectual curiosity. Imagination, independence and variety are hallmarks of this personality type.
  • Conscientiousness describes a person who is dependable, ambitious and dutiful, showing self-discipline, and a preference for planning.
  • Extraversion refers to the energetic, passionate, and fun-loving life of the party. These employees are often seen as talkative and domineering connectors.
  • Agreeableness refers to the empathetic, compassionate and cooperative peacemakers among us. These employees tend to be helpful, trusting and pleasant.
  • Neuroticism describes the tendency for a person to experience unpleasant emotions (e.g. anger, fear, depression and anxiety) more easily than others around them.

So which personality traits are most important? Which one will lead you to the right support employee?

1. Agreeableness. Compassion and empathy are standard requirements for support employees. These employees have higher levels of compassion and politeness so they?re much easier to get along with.

2. Conscientiousness. Higher levels of conscientiousness means your support employees will do what it takes to take care of the customer and your business.

While the other factors are helpful, agreeableness and conscientiousness are most important. Here?s the thing about that though.

You need them both.

High on agreeableness, low on conscientiousness? These support employees are far more likely to become doormats, handing out too many concessions, discounts and incentives. They?re routinely abused and mistreated by customers.

High on conscientiousness, low on agreeableness? These support employees can be domineering, authoritative and brutal. They?re often inflexible, cold and matter-of-fact. This means they?re less likely to convey empathy and compassion to customers.

Check out the rest of Andrew's post here, to see the other 4 steps he lays out for finding and hiring those cream of the crop support employees.



Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
Reaction score
Garrett, you guys always come up with such creative story lines and great tips!

OCEAN - I don't get the last one: Neuroticism - how is that a good trait?
Anyone care to weigh in?
Mar 15, 2016
Reaction score
Thanks for the reply, Linda!

Neuroticism isn't necessarily a good thing, as you pointed out! It's a major trait in traditional psychology personality trait studies. If anything, you'd want to find employees that present less neuroticism (as you implied in your comment).

I know I try to limit my neuroticism!!
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
OCEAN is actually a mainstream psychology tool that's been in use since the 80's. Also as an interesting aside, there was a Guardian investigation published a while back about a data analysis company that paid mechanical Turk users $1 to take the OCEAN psych quiz, and provide their Facebook like history. Supposedly they ended up with enough data to start extracting the OCEAN psych profile for users just from Facebook likes using a trained neural net. I don't want to get political, but just from an advertising perspective, it's a fascinating story, whatever you make of it. Garret's right, it's certainly an interesting tool for looking at and classifying behavioral patterns. Makes sense to use metrics like this to influence hiring decisions.

Who knows, maybe in the future you can take your resume stack, feed in their Facebook information, and sort out applicants based on favorable OCEAN patterns for the job you're hiring them for. Not sure if that'd be a particularly good thing for our society, but it'd certainly make it easier to sort through a big list of applicants.
Mar 15, 2016
Reaction score
Thanks for the comment, James! And for providing that link.

That's fascinating (and scary)! It just highlights how the seemingly innocuous info we put out there could be used in some impactful aspects of our lives. I wonder to what extent that use of data in the future will be transparent in the hiring the process, if implemented.
Oct 25, 2013
Reaction score
I don't know, but it certainly sounds like it had a fascinating place in the 2016 election. Seeing the level of sophistication the Republican party was able to pull together makes me feel like a real stone age advertiser using Facebook's normal ad manager. Ah well, we do the best we can with what we've got.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
brettmandoes Hiring SEO Analyst - Full Time - Remote Accepted Local SEO Job Board 0
P Hiring Expert PPC/SEM Manager - DFW area Local SEO Job Board 0
CraigJMount 10-Minute Survey Request for People Who Have Hired SEO Agencies Local Search 1
Andrew Shotland Local SEO Guide is Hiring a Sr Director of SEO Local SEO Job Board 0
JoyHawkins We Are Hiring! Local SEO Job Board 3
Shelly Hiring a Full-Time Local SEO & PPC Specialist Local SEO Job Board 3
iFuse Hiring a Local Paid Search Manager Local SEO Job Board 0
iFuse Hiring A Project Manager For Our Agency! Local SEO Job Board 0
Andrew Shotland Is Hiring! Local SEO Job Board 4
M Maps Help Needed - Ready to hire the right Google pro! Local SEO Job Board 15
JoshuaMackens Contractor for Hire Consultant's Corner 0
econbethelmy I want to hire a Professional seo services Recycle Bin 0
iFuse Looking To Hire A Local SEO Expert Recycle Bin 1
Linda Buquet Wow - Google Maps has Team of Over 7000 - Apple is Hiring Up Local Search 1
Niki Business category does not support more hours Help & Support for Google Local 2
valentinb13 No support follow up on getting access to/ownership of existing listings Help & Support for Google Local 2
Adam C. Google Ads Phone Support Paid Search and Local Service Ads 6
djbaxter Tech Support Break Room: Chat and Off Topic 2
djbaxter Giphy support Admin Stuff 5
Nicole Basham No response from GMB Support after a month despite following up Help & Support for Google Local 2
P Support for LSA's Local Search 4
wesduplantier New Maps feature for businesses COVID Support links? Google News: Important Changes & Features 1
steviephil GMB Support telling me to delete & re-add listing to change its language? Multi-Location Issues 4
Peter Hill How to get through to Bing support? Citations 9
Danish Blackmail Review (Asking money to remove it) | Google support does not wish to take it down Local Reviews 2
Scott ClientClicks GMB phone support? Google My Business & Google Maps 8
WAHamilton How long is it taking you to get a response from Google Support? Help & Support for Google Local 16
sixthcitysarah New GMB post type - COVID-19 Support? Google My Business & Google Maps 4
Jeffrey COVID-19 Support Post Google My Business & Google Maps 6
Lanerizz Google My Business Support Request Question Moving or Name Changes 1
S GMB Support Google My Business & Google Maps 6
dave101 Looking for an SEO consultant with experience optimizing IT support companies Local SEO Job Board 1
dave101 Anyone have experience with optimizing IT Support companies? Service Area Businesses 0
Cordell Crowley GMB Phone Support No More? Google My Business & Google Maps 10
Tim Colling Call Tracking Metrics no longer provides phone support Recycle Bin 1
S Multi Fake GMB listings. What evidence is best to send to support my case(s) in redressal form? Google My Business & Google Maps 4
hajnasiewicz GSC discontinues support for Mobile Apps end of the month (March 31, 2019) Mobile & Social 0
Cagro Suspended, Reinstated only to be suspended again and ignored by Local Appeals Support Help & Support for Google Local 13
Colan Nielsen [Examples Needed] GMB Support Offering Ranking Advice Google My Business & Google Maps 2
BenFisher How to Contact Google My Business for Help and Support? Google My Business & Google Maps 0
JoshuaMackens Google Support Chat Consultant's Corner 22
M Is There A Phone Number For Google Adwords Support? Paid Search and Local Service Ads 5
Garrett Sussman 6 Review Request Scripts For Your Support and Sales Team Local Reviews 2
M Best Contact for Google Support? Local Search 6
L Is it still possible to contact Google my Business support by phone ? Local Search 1
timcapper Manual Penalties and Google Business Support on Suspended Listings Google My Business & Google Maps 5
JoyHawkins Google My Business Phasing Out Phone Support? Google My Business & Google Maps 37
JoshuaMackens Google Phone Support Google My Business & Google Maps 13
DanLeibson Google My Business Support Horror Stories Google My Business & Google Maps 13
djbaxter Automattic Adds AMP Support to WordPress Mobile & Social 1

Similar threads

Login / Register

Already a member?   LOG IN
Not a member yet?   REGISTER

Most UpVoted Answers

LocalU Podcasts

  Promoted Posts

New advertising option: A review of your product or service posted by a Sterling Sky employee. This will also be shared on the Sterling Sky & LSF Twitter accounts, our Facebook group, LinkedIn, and both newsletters. More...
Google Product Exert

Top Bottom