The job interview process can be a bit like hopping on the merry-go-round at the park. Businesses ask, “do you have experience?” And of course, our thoughts were “how do we get experience if no one will hire us?” Can’t they see we are trainable and happy people?
If you are looking to fill any position within your organization, you owe it to yourself, your existing employees and most importantly to your customers, to hire happy people.
Hiring someone with experience is not always the best choice for a customer service position. Just because the candidate is a seasoned waiter, teller, retail clerk, etc., doesn’t mean they’re good or have the complete customer service skills package. Does that mean they are a bad employee? Absolutely not. Just better suited in a different position. To take this further, some people work their entire life in the wrong position or field and don’t even know it. Sounds strange, but true.
We recommend you consider the following when interviewing for a customer service position:
- Hire people based on attitude first, skills next. Attitude is a choice we make. Learning the job can be taught.
- If an applicant does not smile during the interview process . . . your customers won’t see it either.
- Select people that are naturally friendly. You will be able to tell right away, seriously.
- Tell applicants that the primary measurement for performance evaluations will be on their customer service delivery.
- Ask applicants to define customer loyalty and get their comments on how best to achieve it.
How about a few open-ended customer service interview questions?
- How would your former co-workers describe you? Is that what they would say if I asked them?
- What is the nicest thing you have ever done for a customer?
- What is your process for handling a difficult customer? Not that you have any.
I recall interviewing one applicant in particular. She came highly recommended from a trusted colleague and her resume was right in line with what we were looking for.
She entered my office dressed somewhat professional, but a little wrinkled (her dress!). I dismissed it because it was late in the afternoon.
She sat down. Whoops, she slouched down and flung her left arm over the back of the chair sitting awkward and crooked. I guess she felt comfortable and was settling in. Her hair was tossled (in a bad way), was it windy outside? She then proceeded to chomp and snap her chewing gum. Before she started to blow bubbles I could see this candidate was not what I was looking for.
Yes, it was that fast that I mentally disqualified her. Her qualifications were exceptional on paper, but clearly that’s where it ended. If she was that cavalier during the interview, how would she treat our customers?
Think about your existing employees.
- Are the right employees in the right positions?
- Do they like what they are doing?
- Are they good at it?
I once worked at a company that took 3 employees and rotated them to 3 different positions over a period of 9 months. Amazingly they ended up in different positions than where they started and it worked out better for them and the company.
When personalities and job descriptions match, employees are happy and production soars. Fortunately for these employees, the company was large and they had a supervisor that thought “outside the envelope.”
Bottom line . . . Everyone deserves to be happy in the workplace.
To keep your current customers loyal and happy, send them a custom thank you card in the mail a few times a year. To get some ideas you can shop our card catalog here.