Archive for the ‘customer service’ category

Building a Company Customer Service Culture through Hiring

September 24th, 2013

customer service cultureIs your company doing everything possible to maximize the level of customer service you provide?

As a human resources professional, you have a lot to do with building your company’s customer service culture because of the decisions you make about whether to hire each job candidate. That’s the contention of a recent post by Micah Solomon at Forbes, who notes that there are two primary reasons that determine how your hiring decisions will affect customer service.

The first  is the fact each worker interacts with customers on a face-to-face basis, and the second point has to do with how your employees influence one another through peer pressure to give good (or bad) customer service.

Customer Service on the Front Lines

It may seem obvious on the face of it, but it’s important for you to keep in mind that every person you hire will have a big impact on the customer service your organization provides. The people on your front lines interact with customers the most, and each encounter can lead to increased customer loyalty or drive people to leave if they are ignored or treated rudely.

For example, the Forbes piece notes that at the Mayo Clinic, the needs of patients come first, and this attitude is reflected in the behavior of everyone in the organization, including the people who do the hiring and those who mentor new hires.

At Apple, fanatically devoted employees not only enjoy creating new products and showing other people how they work, they also are driven to protect intellectual property.

Southwest Airlines employees are well-known for going above and beyond the call of duty for their customers, including agents at the gate moving luggage and pilots assisting disabled people moving about in their wheelchairs. This is the result of a corporate culture that embraces a “can-do” attitude at every level of employee, and customers are taking notice.

In a hiring environment like Silicon Valleys that his chock full of competitive start ups – customer service for a new app or website can make the difference between failing and succeeding.  The first few hiring decisions will likely determine the ongoing customer service pathway for a start up.

Peer Pressure Affects Customer Service Too

Peer pressure is a major influence on the level of customer service an organization offers, the Forbes piece notes. Basically, if a new employee sees how well his fellow workers treat each customer, he will be more inclined to treat them well too, because of his desire to fit in with the other employees.

At Disneyland, people marvel at how janitors rush in to pick up trash nearly as soon as it hits the ground. This is not because Walt Disney would legendarily fire people on the spot for failing to pick up litter, but because so many old-timers modeled this behavior to their fellow workers.

When you see a successful employee doing something like leaping to pick up discarded popcorn boxes, you will be inclined to do the same when you see a guest drop trash. The same principle applies to providing excellent customer service. If those around you habitually go out of their way to help each customer, you will find yourself behaving the same way. On the other hand, if employees slack off when it comes to customer service, they could infect their colleagues with their negative attitude, and we all know how bad that can be for business.

The next time you are evaluating a group of candidates to fill a position, you should remember to consider the customer service ramifications of each new hire. The hiring choices you make will have a long-lasting effect on the quality of your organization’s customer service.