In the minds of most business owners and Human Resources managers, hiring the right people is the first step to offering customer service. Common sense, right? Well, if this was widely understood, then there would be fewer issues in the realm of customer service.
“No matter how good or successful you are, or how clever or crafty, your business and its future are in the hands of the people you hire," says Akio Morita, co-founder of Sony Corporation. The problem is, it's difficult to find good help these days (pardon the cliche).
Maybe on paper, they seem intelligent and driven, but when they further down the road, you find out that they aren't exactly good at dealing with customers or clients.
Finding the Right Person to Hire Is a Pain
As an employer, you soon find yourself almost wanting to give up by the time the fifth interview is over. The downside to interviews is that potential candidates are putting their best foot forward. Sometimes that best foot is not really the foot they use after they get the job. It is important to know when they’re being honest.
Having to let someone go after finding out they aren't a match for your company can be demoralizing to the rest of your staff, along with giving you and your company a bad image. This makes finding the right person the first time around even more crucial.
This comes especially true with the not so simple task of seeking good customer service people. Most companies are just looking to get the position filled. They overlook critical factors in finding the right person in their haste.
Subtle things such as whether or not they understand the difference between cover letter and letter of interest are signs that you're dealing with someone who did their research before starting their job search. Those people who understand the basics in applying for job positions should be at the top of your list.
Furthermore, you can see great customer service people in all industries. Believe it or not, if you just focus on educational background or the number of years in a particular industry, you might find that you are actually cheating yourself out of finding some awesome candidates.
As for those fancy resumes, they're good in order to get a gist of who you are dealing with, but they shouldn't be the deciding factor. When it comes to customer service, you as an employer really need to focus about 90 percent on the individual's personality.This can be a time and energy consuming endeavor. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it will pay off.
Remember, Great Customer Service Boosts Your Bottom Line
There was a very interesting article in the Harvard Business Review concerning how investors in the airline industry only want to invest in airlines with great customer service. Pretty much makes sense, right? No one wants to invest into a company that looks poised to fail. A company with poor customer service is just that: a company poised to fail.
Take British Airways as an example. They are killing the airline industry at the moment. The thing is, their prices are higher than their competitors. So, how do they stay on top in such a dog-eat-dog business? It is all in the service they provide. They charge more in order to hire the best people. Furthermore, not only do they offer better benefits and salaries, but they choose their customer service people carefully.
Sir Colin Marshall, the chairman of British Airways told Harvard Business School this, “It all comes back in the end to value for money. If you can deliver something extra that others are not or cannot, some people will pay a slight premium for it. I want to stress that when I say ‘slight,’ I mean precisely that. In our case, we’re talking about an average of 5%. On our revenues of £5 billion, however, that 5% translates into an extra £250 million, or $400 million, a year.”