Hire for Attitude

By: Jude Carter

Lately I’ve been feeling like the invisible customer. Call me crazy, but doesn’t the term “customer experience” imply that there is a living, breathing human being (the customer) in the equation?

Recently I’ve been to a dental hygienist, a lab technician and my hairdresser. Here’s what they all have in common:
· They’re technically proficient at their jobs… cleaning teeth, drawing blood and cutting hair.
· They take pride in their work.
· They prefer to work in total silence, making no attempt to chat with me during the procedures.

So what’s really going on here? Have we gotten so used to the anonymity of one-way communication (texting, emailing and voicemail), that we’re completely tongue-tied when it comes to carrying on an actual conversation?

Or does it have more to do with how we, as employers hire and train our workers?
Obviously we want to attract qualified people who have the skill and experience to perform the tasks required, but what about attitude, personality, and the ability to connect with people? In many cases these are the very things that define the customer experience…and the brand. (Look at Zappos and Southwest.)

Do yourself (and your customers) a favor. The next time you hire anyone who will be customer-facing, make sure you know what personality traits and attitudes will make the best fit.  Just take a look at your top customer service people and you’ll have the answer.
Hire with that in mind and you’ll avoid being in the “attitude adjustment” business.

Sharon Toelle
November 2, 2010

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