Real Talk

8 Traits to Look for When Hiring Customer-Facing Employees

Time to hire? Specifically recruiting front-line employees for positions like sales, service and customer support? It’s not always easy but neither is the position. You are hiring the face of your business, the DNA of your customer experience. Customers start forming opinions of your business the moment they walk through the door. And first impressions can be powerful so make yours outstanding by looking for the following 8 traits when hiring customer-facing employees.

Respectful
Make like Aretha Franklin and look for someone who knows how to show the customer R.E.S.P.E.C.T. We all like some respect especially when we’re putting our hard-earned money down for it.

Proactive
These types of employees are capable of making snap decisions, perhaps not always the final one but a direction nonetheless. You need an employee who can take charge of any situation without getting too pushy, who can keep it casual with questions about wants and needs and let the customer divulge private details as needed.

Great Listener
You need an active listener, someone who can absorb and digest what a customer says and act upon it. You want the employee who can pinpoint a customer’s needs and wants through careful listening. People can have a lot to say, find the person that can find the meaning in the noise.

Friendly
So are you looking for a social butterfly? Or a green creature living in a trash can calling himself Oscar? While no one likes a grouch you’re looking for something between the two extremes. Social enough to interact well but attentive enough to recognize when a customer would like their shopping space.

Positive Outlook
There will be good days and there will be hard days. You want someone who will remain positive despite challenges. One difficult customer interaction doesn’t need to ruin the next, make sure you look for an employee that can stay level and positive. A thick skin can go a long way.

Strong observation skills
They’re right behind you! You’re going for the employee that would survive a horror movie just by recognizing they’re in one! These employees notice if guests are holding or have “Happy Birthday” bags sitting nearby and know to suggest a festive dessert.

Articulate
Not everyone can be Winston Churchill but we all appreciate someone who prides themselves in communicating clearly and thoughtfully. You want an employee who will do just that with customers.

Patient
Whether it’s a cashier waiting for someone to count out exact change or a salesperson interacting with a customer mentally weighing a big purchase, patience is crucial. Understanding, empathy and patience build good customer relations that can last for years!

People can be imperfect creatures. If you’re hiring you’ll want to look for these traits in potential employees but you don’t want to forget about your current employees, keep in mind to coach towards these traits. Remember, front-line employees are imperative to a business’ success so be wise and keep these traits in mind.

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