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This article from eSkill.com contains some good ideas about employee motivation and process engagement while also addressing the role of incentives and rewards.
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I have been hiring employees for 34 years and some of the best advice I can give an owner of a business, whether or not large or small, is not to rush decisions on hiring customer service and sales representatives. Retail businesses that fail to hire talented candidates are doomed to be average and might never know how successful their business could have been.
Take your time.
Here is a fact: Retail businesses that spend as much time choosing the best customer service and sales representatives as they do hiring C-Suite executives are going to win their market. I go into far too many retail establishments and notice apathy on the faces of
sales people. Little attention is paid to me, I often don’t find exactly what I need and end up heading over to the next competitor. I understand that finding good candidates is a tedious process: Post the job - Receive a flood of emailed resumes - Call everyone back and invite people in for an interview - Flip a coin and hire the one that seems the most outgoing and friendly. This is a recipe for little to no growth and lots of turnover. Call less people back and take your time interviewing.
Follow a script during the first interview.
No more winging it! Ask the right questions and know what to listen for in a candidate’s answer. The only way to consistently evaluate talent is to ask the same question to every candidate and a good script will focus on things that you know lead to success at your business. Formulate a list of questions on these points and ask the questions in the same way each time you talk to a candidate. A person’s attitude towards work is a highly predictable indicator of future success. Start screening for a positive attitude.
Don’t follow a script during the second interview.
The second interview should be all about finding the “x-factor,” that is, that extra something special about the candidates personality that sets them apart. Remember, customer service and sales representatives need to be able to naturally find the positives in everything. Ask the candidate questions they haven’t prepared for. For example, ask about their experience working for their former manager. Candidates with a positive disposition towards work will go out of their way to speak positively about their former manager, even if the situation ended on less than ideal terms. I am always amazed how a candidate responds to questions they were not prepared to answer and it usually tells me things about a candidate that help me make my decision.
This will appeal to your Millennial customers. By 2017, the purchasing power of the Millennial Generation (born after 1980) will be bigger than that of the Baby Boomers. They
are soon to be your largest customer base which means success depends on your customer service representatives and sales force having the ability to sell to this new generation of buyers.
Research shows that they are likely to be independent, expect quick results and value personal relationships. That means each candidate you hire must know how read customers, give them enough space and know the right time to jump in and build a quick rapport. Obviously millennials will know best how to handle this delicate balance. Tip: post openings on local colleges’ online job boards.
Peter Barry Consulting
Consulting services and advice for businesses that want to grow.