Hiring Employees Who Are ‘Customer-Ready’

The Age of the Customer is the title and the focus of Jim Blasingame’s new book. I like the tagline even more — Prepare For The Moment of Relevance.

This got me thinking about manpower — human capital — whether are our employees capable of preparing for that moment of delivering service in an epic way? Moreover, how does the organization consider this in the hiring and recruiting process — hiring employees who are “customer-ready” and prepared to deliver exceptional service in that moment of relevance.”

Few employees truly understand their organization’s service focus or commitment primarily because organizations are not clear about their service definition and expectation — of defining the value and importance of the customer and establishing a service standard that activates customer loyalty, not just satisfaction. Without this, organizations are unable to consistently bring in talent who will be capable of creating that all-important service response — at the moment of relevance — when it really matters. So, how customer-ready are your employees and how do you assess for the ability to deliver your level of service in the sourcing, attracting, and hiring process?

One of my clients is a progressive and holistic dental care provider. With help, he and his team have redefined their service vision to become more ready for the moment of relevance — of that all-important connection to the patient. They are taking the time to build a loyalty formula into their vision statement — one that openly shares that the dental procedures will always done right and that all patients will be treated with the office’s defined level of exceptional care.

I share this because its new vision or service deliverable statement has become its service standard, a standard that they provide to their patients, expect from their current staff, and use as a standard to assess for when interviewing future staff. In addition to the skill and experience expectations (including technical proficiency), it is assessing for empathy, nurturing, amiability, respect, and compassion. Employees who are not interested or capable of this level of care are not a good fit for this organization; they will be unable to continually support the practice’s service vision. Because this service standard is clear, its recruiting and hiring process integrates it.

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Today’s service workplace reminds us that regardless of our particular product or service, how we deliver what we deliver gets compared to every other service provider. The service at the muffler repair shop gets compared to the service at the hotel, which gets compared to the service at the dental practice. Customers (or patients) notice how they are treated everywhere, and remember the exceptional responses. They then expect this in all of their providers; the dental practice’s service isn’t just compared to other dental practices, it is now compared to all services. And the more customer-capable and customer-ready employees are, the more successful the business.

Clarity of your service standard is critical to attract and hire the right employees. How clear is your service standard, and how do you integrate it into your recruiting and hiring?

As president and founder of the Forte Factor and certified executive coach, Jay Forte speaks to thousands of CEOs and talent management/HR professionals each year, introducing them to all aspects of amplifying, managing and leveraging talent. He has helped organizations build high-performance teams by improving the effectiveness and efficiency of hiring, amplifying employee engagement and improving workplace culture. Through his advising, educating, and coaching, his clients have improved their ability to hire based on fit, shift from managing to coaching, and significantly improve employee retention. He is also the author of Fire Up Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, and The Greatness Zone: Know Yourself, Find Your Fit, Transform the World. You can learn more about him and his services at www.thefortefactor.com