The customer experience encompasses every interaction your customer has with your business -- from marketing and advertisements to in-store interactions.
As cashiers, stockers, sales associates, and the source of your business's first face-to-face contact with your customers, your employees are an important element of your store's overall customer experience.
They can turn a new customer into a loyal, returning customer -- or they can make long-term customers second guess frequenting your business. That's why it's integral that, when hiring employees, you do so with the customer experience closely in mind.
Related: Compare competing quotes for employee screening and background checks
Look for the Right Attitude
Every business has a different atmosphere, workplace culture, and attitude towards the customer; and each of those may differ greatly from your own.
Instead of looking at experience as an accurate predictor of an applicant's success as an employee, look for the right attitude. You know what experience you want to give to your customers, so look for employees who personify it.
It's much easier to train someone on your business processes than it is to change someone's attitude towards customers.
- During the interview, ask behavior-based questions to determine how applicants would react to specific situations that could occur in your business.
- How they answer these questions can be a strong indicator of their attitude towards the customer experience and how well they will fit in with your business's culture. Are they proactive? Are they reactive? Do they put the customer's needs first? Do they know when to ask for help?
Hire Good Listeners
Hiring for listening skills, much like hiring for attitude, isn't a matter of simply asking the applicant how well they listen. Naturally, they're going to respond that they're great at it -- and they're going to couch the rest of their interview answers in terms of their excellent listening skills.
Remove the bias from the interview by refraining from bringing up listening at all. Instead, observe how they act when they are unaware that they are being assessed for their listening skills. Over the course of the interview, assess them for:
- How well they listen to your questions and comments.
- Whether they let you complete your thoughts before speaking, or if they talk over you or jump in with their thoughts.
- How well their responses indicate that they were actively listening.
- How well they maintain eye contact during the conversation.
Check References -- Always
As an employer and business owner, it's your responsibility to make sure that the individuals you hire are right for the job, responsible, and trustworthy. This is not something that you can afford to guess at, or accurately determine simply through an applicant's resume and interview. You need to garner outside opinions -- which is why you should always request and check the references of your applicants before offering them a position.
- Think that you can't get an unbiased report from an applicant's references? Not so. According to a survey by Office Team, 21% of applicants are removed from the candidate pool following their reference check.
- Since your employees have constant contact with your customers, consider ordering background checks or purchasing background screening software to make sure that your potential employees don't have skeletons in their closet that could hurt your business, your employees, or your customers.
When you hire employees who have the right attitude, listening skills, and character, they can help to provide your customers with the best possible experience in your store. The more satisfied your customers are, the more likely they'll keep patronizing your business.