Monthly Archives: November 2015

Attracting talent for a good customer experience

At our local Institute of Directors event last week we discussed the topic of attracting and retaining talent in a tight market.Ensuring a consistent customer experience from seasonal staff

Of course having the right people on board is imperative for achieving a good customer experience. Not having sufficient people with the right skills will obviously impact service delivery.

But the way that service is delivered is of course dependent on the energy and enthusiasm of the people behind it.

Here’s a summary of some of the key points covered, with some of my own thoughts for good measure.

Why are they leaving?

If you are constantly striving to look for new staff then consider why you have a vacancy in the first place.

Fantastic news if it’s down to growth; but more often than not it’s down to labour turnover.

Unless we understand why staff are leaving it will be difficult to reverse the trend.

They say that people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses, so if someone has already made up their mind to leave be sensitive as to how you find out! But of course prevention is better than cure. Listening to, involving and engaging your team is a topic in itself, so I’m not going to cover this here.

But naturally if you’ve got good people you want to hang onto them. And of course they can make great ambassadors for your business.

Define what you’re looking for

It’s all too easy to focus on replacing like for like.

But when someone moves on it might be an ideal opportunity to restructure to open up opportunities for your existing loyal team members, and potentially giving you more flexibility in terms of potential candidates that can fulfil the new role.

In my experience when recruiting businesses tend to focus on skills and experience. But how often when we are reviewing somebody’s under performance do we focus on their attitude towards the work rather than capability? If team work and/or customer service are important to your business then define what attributes you are looking for so there are good fit for your company culture/aspirations.

Once you know what you’re looking for it’s a darn sight easier to use language that appeals to your ideal candidate. If you want someone enthusiastic, dynamic and lively make your ad enthusiastic, dynamic and lively too! You’re not looking to attract anyone who’s desperate for a job; make it clear what you’re looking for and who fits the bill of the ideal candidate.

Build your network and your pipeline

By the time you have a vacancy all your focus is on filling that vacancy as quickly as possible. Wouldn’t it be great to have a queue of people waiting with bated breath for you to get in touch to tell them you have that job they’ve been waiting for?!

Use your network of business contacts, connections with education, your existing team and even your customers to help develop a “candidate pool” from which you can pick the best candidates.  Network or socialise where your prospective staff are; this will not only help to build relationships and reputation but will give you an opportunity to see people in a more relaxed environment.

Keep this as an ongoing activity rather than waiting until you suddenly have a vacancy to fill.

Develop your talent

Promote from within whenever possible.  Always let your existing team members know when a position is available.  Even if this is not a step up, it may present a new challenge to keep someone motivated.

If you do have internal applicants treat them in the same way as your external ones – acknowledging receipt of their application, interviews, offer letters, salary details, etc.  If internal candidates do not get the job ensure you give feedback to help with their development and to encourage them to apply for future positions.

Become a great place to work

Create a culture where the best employees will want to work, and build a reputation as a good employer so you attract the best people.

This includes continuing to build your brand with applicants who haven’t been successful.

What does it mean to work for your organisation? Ask your existing employees for their perspective and to share what’s important to them about working for you.
If your existing team feel valued they are far more likely to recommend you to others and spread the word that it’s a great place to work.

No regrets

Start your induction process at the point they accept your job offer.

Let them know how much you are looking forward to them coming to work for you. Drip feed information that lets them know that they’re going to get a warm welcome. This might include a background to your business, your values and what’s important to you, current topical information, an invitation to any events/social activities happening between now and their start date, a copy of their induction programme and the point of contact for day one.

Doing all this before they start will make them feel more welcome and minimise that risk of any second thoughts.

Hit the ground running

During the first few weeks in the job people start to make up their mind whether or not this is the place they want to stay and whether or not they’re able to pursue their career here.

For new people it can sometimes feel to them as if they are not achieving much in the early days. So consider allocating a specific project that they can get stuck in to and for which they have some responsibility and ownership.

This is a great way to get them involved and give them something where they can contribute early on.

For more on employee engagement see https://www.naturallyloyal.com/engagement/


A first-hand experience

Shoes. Single flat color icon. Vector illustration.

How often do you or any of your team put yourselves in your customers’ shoes? Is it built into your customer service training?

I’m often amazed how frequently I come across employees who only know their tiny little bit of the customer journey, having never experienced anything else the customer gets to see or hear.

I strongly encourage all businesses to have every single employee experience every one of their customer touch points.

This has two spin offs.

Firstly you get a fresh pair of eyes (and ears) on what the customer sees, hears or experiences. Of course this is no substitute for your customers’ feedback, but it’s amazing what team members will spot as opportunities to enhance or modify the customer touch points to give a smoother or enhanced customer experience. Not forgetting the potential it opens up for spotting opportunities to add value or make recommendations to customers.

Secondly it helps your team members to engage more readily with your customers.

Because they’ve experienced everything first hand for themselves they are able to appreciate what’s important to the customer at that point, and can relate easily to them when discussing or describing any aspect of your service or products.

Of course it may not always be possible for team members to experience everything (let’s say you are a midwife or undertaker!) but even if you sell exotic holidays or exclusive wedding dresses there will still be plenty of opportunity to get a sense of what your customers experience particularly the various touch points your customer experiences before or after doing business with you, which so often get forgotten.

Because we can become oblivious to what we’re involved in every day (and sometimes quite protective) aim to mix things up a bit. Even old hands can give you another perspective by experiencing another department. And build it into your induction process as new team members will be experiencing things for the first time, giving you a fresh perspective.