On a recent Q&A on another website, the question was asked: ‘Outside of education and experience, what are the top three qualities that you look for in candidates and colleages?’
There were some great answers, but one former business owner honed in on a key issue – a candidate’s personality. Hiring managers are looking for employees whose personality will attract, rather than repel business. For that reason, a candidate’s personality can be a key factor in a hiring manager’s final decision for a job that involves customer service or interaction with other employees. A hiring manager wants to hire employees whose personality will help bring customers back to the store, not ones that will cause customers to avoid a specific employee.
Let’s face it, have you ever been to a business where you had rotten customer service? Chances are that incident represented your entire viewpoint of the company, based upon that interaction. You most likely didn’t think about it being just that individual or an isolated incident. If it was a bad enough customer service experience, you probably won’t return, unless you have no alternative. It’s why an employer wants to avoid employees who are likely to give poor customer service. In contrast, an employee who gives outstanding customer service helps retain customers. Those employees who go the extra mile are memorable.
West Michigan job seekers – a search on www.MLive.com, the Michigan Talent Bank, or any other job search engine will show that these skills are critical in most jobs. Whether you will be in a job that involves external or internal customers, it is important to have these key skills in your arsenal of skills that you can offer an employer. Very few employers are willing to hire someone with a negative personality or someone that lacks solid interpersonal communication skills.
Key skills needed for outstanding customer service
For job seekers who are seeking work that involves customer service, here are some key skills to develop. Even if you are not working right now, you still can practice these skills as you interact with others. If you have these skills already in place, make sure that you can effectively communicate that you possess these qualities. While they may not be stated as needed, most hiring managers are looking for these skills in future employees.
- Careful listening skills. That involves not only listening to what is said, but often determining the underlying issue behind the question. Can you listen and offer a solution that will make the person happy enough to want to return to the business?
- Patience. You have the capability of listening to the person without becoming irritated.
- Positive interactions. When presented with a problem, you find solutions to problems; not simply complain about the problem and expect someone else to figure out the solution. You will always do your best to have the customer want to return for future business.
- Avoid becoming overly defensive. Don’t argue with someone; listen and empathize. Find common ground where you can come up with a solution that will meet each other’s needs.
- Accept responsibility when you make a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. Even the person who always seems to be irritatingly perfect. The key to this issue is to show that when you have made a mistake, you have a solution on rectifying the situation, and more importantly have a plan in place to ensure the mistake won’t happen again. And you take ownership of the problem, and the resolution.
- Effective. Let’s face it, being nice and helpful is one thing. Being able to give the customer what they want at the time they need it, is key. You can deliver results, not delays. If you will delay, you will let the person know why it is being delayed and to show that you are working on getting results.
- Visually appealing. Looking your best while networking and interviewing is important. Now, more than ever is the time to make sure you walk out the door with your hair well groomed, clothing that looks neat and clean, and a smile on your face. Stay positive and make sure that you are approachable.
- Now is not the time to expect that people will accept you just as you are – not if you want to be hired. Because in this economy, it’s not about what you want. The only way you will get a hiring manager to give you what you want, is if you have skills that are so amazing that no one else has those skills, and then you have room to negotiate. Unless you are truly the only person with the required skills, the winning candidate is the one that best delivers upon what the hiring manager needs.
- Integrity. You deliver on your promises, and you are dependable. You show up when promised, and you will do what you say.
- Communication skills. You can not only effectively listen and understand what the recipient needs, but you can also recall what they say.
- You can remember a person. Nothing makes a customer happier than to know you remember their name, and their concerns. What happens if you the customer needs something and stops by, and you are ready with the answer for their needs? If this is a problem area for you, do some research on how to remember a person’s name.
- Quick learner. The ability to recall and to learn quickly, shows that you are capable of quickly getting up to speed on a new position. If you have been out of work, showing that you are still learning and keeping up with the latest techniques shows that you are capable of learning on the job.
- Thinking outside of the proverbial box. Can you see a unique perspective and offer a solution that may help resolve a long-standing issue?
- Understands the culture and is aware of their surroundings. Being able to work within the parameters and not rock the boat is highly important. You want your interactions to attract rather than repel customers.
- Organized and not easily distracted. Being organized is a skill that a person has to learn. Being able to stay on task is a key component necessary. Keep a log handy if that will help you stay focused. If you get interrupted, you get immediately back on task. You finish what you started.
A job seeker that can effectively deliver on each and every one of these issues has the capability of helping the manager grow the business. Let’s face it, most businesses want increased profits and increased revenues. Showing that you have the capability of helping the business, is a key factor in a favorable hiring decision. Your personality and customer service skills are key to obtaining the job.
Most important job skills are learned, not natural
What if you cannot do all of these issues? Let’s face it, most of these skills are developed through years of practicing and refining. The good news is that if they are not your best skills, they can all be learned! You can make the choice to improve and learn these skills. Go to the library and read books on these topics. Use your favorite job search engine and research online articles, websites, and blogs devoted to these topics. Talk to people who have outstanding skills in these areas, and see if they will provide insights on what is needed. When you are unemployed, what better time to learn and to grow?
Additional Resources to learn more about effective customer service skills
Fort Worth Information Technology Examiner
Seattle Poetry Examiner
Hartford Job Search Examiner
(Facebook) Yo-Ville Examiner
Detroit Job Search Examiner
Irwin Christian Living Examiner
Nashville Gospel Music Entertainment Examiner
Nashville Doll Collecting Examiner
National Barbie Collecting Examiner
Indianapolis Unemployment Examiner