Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

How to Hire Customer-Focused Employees

September 13, 2011

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The sign on the door of a local ice cream shop read: “Wanted: Friendly Employees!”A dynamic company that advertises great customer service must be staffed by employees who are anxious to provide customer care. Many managers and business owners believe that everybody knows how to provide quality service. Their motto is: “If they don’t know, we can teach them.”   It is very difficult to motivate negative employees. It’s impossible to force someone to have a positive attitude. Negative employees will tend to complain, gossip and sneer no matter how elaborate the training resources are in a company. In order to create a culture of customer service excellence, a company needs to build a team of trainable employees who are easy to motivate.   Here are some tips for hiring customer-focused employees:

  • Select only people who are naturally friendly, helpful and people-oriented.
  • Hire people based on attitude first, skills second. Skills can be taught. Attitude is a choice.
  • Hire people who are not embarrassed to provide great service.
  • If a job candidate can’t smile during the interview, he or she won’t smile at your customers.
  • Communicate to prospective employees that great customer service delivery will be a primary measurement on their performance evaluations.
  • Ask candidates to define customer service excellence during their interviews. 
  • Ask your best employees to recommend friends they can be “proud of” for job vacancies.
  • Don’t be in a hurry to fill a position with a warm body.

Take your time and wait for the right employee. Ask open-ended questions during the interview:

  • “What’s the nicest thing you’ve ever done for a customer?”
  • “What would your former co-workers tell me if I asked them to describe you?”
  • “What do you think is the most important part of your job?”
  • “Please describe what exceptional customer service looks like.”

If you want employees who will put the customers first, you need to put customer service first during the selection process. Keep in mind that great customer service begins inside the company with the way employees treat their co-workers.

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