Want Better Employees? Improve Your Selection Process.

I don’t know what it is, but I love customer service. Sadly, it seems non-existent nearly everywhere I go. Employees don’t seem to care and their managers don’t seem to care that they don’t care. Anyhow, I have been reading “The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.” It’s a great book, that EVERY manager and executive should read. In the book, I came across this excerpt regarding employee pride, which seems to be tied to their employee selection process (they don’t call it hiring):

“That pride in being selected also serves as a motivator to live up to the trust that has been placed in the individual upon being hired. Adam Hassan, boiler operator in the engineering department, explains, ‘When people take so much time to select you, you really want to prove that they made the right choice. So if I see anything unusual, I take care of it. I don’t have my boss telling me to go do it; I go do it on my own because I don’t want to let the guests or the other Ladies and Gentlemen down. If I turn my head on a broken lamp, I am not living up to the standard of a service professional. Everybody here does the same thing: They walk in the hallway and if they see a piece of paper, they bend down and pick it up. That comes from the heart; it comes freely, because they have chosen us as if we owned the place.’

“The hiring process not only serves as an opportunity to find people to perform necessary functions for a business but ultimately also sets the tone for the pride people take in their work. By creating layers of evaluation, new hires feel that leadership has invested in getting to know them. Further, they realize that leadership wants to ensure that those who join the company can meet or exceed the standards of those who have come before them. Ultimately, staff members feel a responsibility to live up to the trust placed in them through their offer of employment . . . and they even become recruiters themselves.”

I have often wondered why some people go above and beyond, while others tend to do as little as possible. I ALWAYS picked up trash and ALWAYS straightened displays. I couldn’t not do it. I took pride in my work. And that is what it all comes down to: personal pride. If a person doesn’t take pride in their work—no matter what that work is—they most likely are not going to do a good job. Companies can go a long way in helping their employees take pride in their work and one of those methods comes in the hiring process.

The good news in all of this is in a sea of mediocrity, it’s not hard to stand out.

NOTE: The image is an affiliate link.

Finally, A Positive Customer Service Story

One of my facebook friends posted this recently:

So, a few months ago, with no warning, I lost ALL my e-mail history. Everything. I called my provider to find out what the hell happened, and they told me they had been deleted, probably on my iPhone (excuse me?), but they had a backup of it in archive, but it would be difficult to acquire and I had to work with tech support for quite awhile to get it done… Needless to say, I never got around to it. I NEVER delete emails, and the account is 12 years old… Yeah, it’s 20 GB of e-mails, lol.

Today, my e-mail service stops working and I call tech support. After wasting 45 minutes of my life with someone in a foreign land that could barely speak or understand english, they forwarded me to a level 2 guy, who tells me that my messages were ARCHIVED BY THE COMPANY because they were too much of a load on their system!?!?!?!?! I asked him about the “unlimited storage” I’m supposed to have, but apparently that doesn’t apply to e-mails. Grrrrr…..

Anyway, he apologized profusely for the lies I had been told, gave me his direct number & e-mail, and helped me fix my problem in about 5 minutes.

I told him he had saved me as a customer for his company. Why? Because he told me the truth without trying to hide anything, apologized, upgrade my account for 72 hours for free so I could get e-mail again while I dealt with the archive, and provided me with a way to get back with him without going through Pakistan. I really couldn’t ask for anything more.

I once read a book called Positively Outrageous Service: How to Delight and Astound Your Customers and Win Them for Life* that talked about taking advantage of a mistake and using it as an opportunity to win the customer. This was proof. I went from hopping mad to completely placated in seconds.

There are some big lessons in that! I am still withholding referring people to them until I have more confidence, but if they do what they say they are going to, I will start referring people again. They turned a negative into a positive, for sure.

I love to hear/read positive stories. I know I’m one to gripe about the state of customer service these days. It seems pathetic almost everywhere I go. Anyway, it’s nice to read something positive! I think my friend should send a letter to this guy’s boss and let him know about his experience.

Was there a time when you received excellent customer service? Share it in the comments.

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An Example of Excellent Customer Service from Sam’s Club

A friend of mine is looking for hot dog bags for a function she is helping with. I googled “hot dog bags” and this entry for Sam’s Club popped up. I noticed that there was one one-star review for the product by someone named “Editor”:

These are represented as a “bag”. They are not a BAG. They are open on one side and one end. Very disappointed in this order. This is a waste of my money. I will try to get a refund.

Right below this review, was this response from Sam’s Club:


In the industry this is commonly referred to as a bag, and depending on your needs, this may, or may not, be the bag for you. However, because of your review we thought it best, in order to better clarify the description, to add a picture featuring the hotdog “in” the bag. Feel free to contact us at 888-746-7726 if you’d like to return these to us. Thank you for your input!

That’s pretty cool if you ask me. That’s excellent customer service.

What Are Your Thoughts on This Cashier’s Thoughts?

Check out this comment that was left on the post “Rude Customers” from last year (I did not edit the comment):

I agree with Sarah about her feelings for people after cashiering for over 5 years. At this point, I could care less about losing my job after dealing with so many rude customers. It is a lose, lose situation for cashiers; you don’t say anything to avoid a confrontation, your rude. You say one word; your rude. You look at customers in what they feel is a “wrong way”; your rude. And Billy, I too, have developed a very low opinion of the general public. Most customers should stay home and take their meds first before coming out in public.

I think this person is just looking for an excuse to justify not doing a good job. If you can push all the blame to the customer, then you can justify your I-don’t-give-a-crap attitude.

I’m sorry but this is just wrong.

Sure, there are rude customers out there. But, MOST people are not rude. Most people just want good service and to be taken care of.

I challenge this person to take a different approach. Try these following actions that I found on page 83 of Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude* for 30 days and see what happens:

Be nice.

Be kind.


Make friends.

Say nice things.

Praise others.

Take responsibility.

Be proud of your work.

Be proud of your accomplishments.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Finally, I couldn’t help but notice that this person has been cashiering for 5 years. FIVE YEARS! That’s a long time. Cashiering is usually an entry-level job…not a career. I would encourage this person to either set their sights on a better position within the company or take action to find a career elsewhere. Once a plan is in place and you don’t feel like you’re stuck in a dead-end job, it’s a lot easier to have a positive attitude!

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