You can teach people how to perform tasks, whether it’s stocking shelves or doing the books. And you can teach them enough about your products and services to be able to help your customers. But if they’re people who don’t want to help customers, you’re not going to teach them to be different people.
Are there really that many people out there who just don’t want to help customers? Yes. That’s a lesson Kevin Peters, the president of Office Depot North America, learned several years ago.
Kevin asked all 22,500 store associates to take a personality assessment test designed to evaluate employees‘ skills, behaviors, and aptitudes as they related to serving customers. To his surprise and disappointment, a significant percentage agreed with statements like “If the job requires me to interface with customers, I‘d rather not do the job.”
How do you avoid falling into the trap of hiring people who not only won’t help you deliver a great customer experience, they might even prevent you from delivering one? The advice we hear over and over from customer-centric companies is to “hire the will, train the skill.” That starts with creating profiles of ideal candidates, profiles that emphasize customer-centric behavior and character traits. Then during the interview process, asking candidates to describe a time when they helped a customer. If they can’t come up with an example, or if their example sounds contrived, they’re probably not someone you want.
Excerpted from Forrester blog by Harley Manning