How to Find Employees Who Actually Care About Your Customers


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As a business owner, one of the toughest realities you have to face is the fact that nobody else cares about your company as much as you do. No matter how fantastic your employees and partners are, nobody will ever have the same emotional connection that you have with your organization.

This doesn’t mean everyone hates your business, though. And it’s certainly not a knock on your company or the people you choose to hire. It simply means you have much more invested – emotionally and financially – in the company.

With this being said, some people will care more about your business than others – and you want to hire these people. Why? Because people who show signs of caring about your business will also care about your customers. It’s a simple and logical conclusion for customer-centric organizations, but one that far too few business owners consider.

Master Interviews

While job seekers often spend large amounts of time preparing for interviews and honing their interview skills, the reality is that businesses need to spend more time on the process, too. The majority of businesses are inadequately prepared for successfully interviewing job candidates. As a result, they often end up with poor selections that are based on nothing more than a paper resume.

Just as interviewees are encouraged to conduct research prior to the interview, so should you. Armed with candidate’s application and resume, check out their social media profiles, speak with their referrals, and conduct some Google searches to find out more about them. This will give you a much better idea of who the candidate is.

When it comes to the actual interview, there are some questions you need to ask in order to uncover how likely it is that a candidate will make the right choices. According to Mel Kleiman, an authority figure in the recruiting industry, these include the following:

  • Have you ever had bad service at a store or restaurant? Why did you consider it bad, and how did you deal with it?

  • What does the phrase “making an extra effort” mean to you?

  • Tell me about the best recognition you’ve ever received at work. What was it for?

  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond what was expected of you.

  • Have you ever noticed a co-worker struggling to learn a task or accomplish a goal? What did you do about it?

By analyzing the candidate outside of the actual application, you can get a feel for their commitment level. Is their career merely a vessel for making money, or are they actually emotionally invested in the jobs they take on? You can tap into this before and during the interview process.

Incentivize Employees After Hiring

While you want to hire the right employee in the first place, your job doesn’t end there. If you want employees to care about your customers, then you have to incentivize them. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, workers who experience uncivil behavior from those in management positions are less likely to work hard – even when it’s in their nature.

Among workers polled in this study, 48 percent intentionally decreased their work effort, 66 percent said their sales performance declined, 25 percent admitted to taking frustrations out on customers, and 78 percent said their commitment to the organization declined. The takeaway? Keep your hires incentivized and they’re more likely to keep their commitment to care for the customers.

Recognize the Difference Between Innate and Teachable Skills

Did you know that there’s a big difference between innate skills and teachable skills? If you want to hire the right employees, then you need to recognize this difference. As some companies say: hire for attitude; train for skill.

The traits you want to identify when hiring include kindness, empathy, optimism, creativity, curiosity, and teamwork. The skills you can then train for include customer service expertise, bilingual capabilities, the use of positive language, the ability to “read” customers, and persuasiveness.

Implement a Trial Period

You should never hire an employee and immediately place them in front of customers. The most successful customer-centric businesses in the world make a habit of putting new hires through a trial period. You should, too.

“You never want those potentially weak links out there representing your brand, whether at the returns counter, the contact center, or connected via their workstations to customers,” writes Micah Solomon, a customer experience consultant. The answer is to start everyone on a trial basis before introducing them to your customers.

Hire Employees Who Care

As Kleiman writes, “The most powerful competitive advantage any organization can have is employees who care.” The good news is that these employees do exist. The bad news is that they are few and far between. However, by understanding what they look like, you can increase your chances of hiring them before the competition does. 

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


  1. Hi Larry – there are some excellent points in this article. One thing I learned early in my career, however, is that most employees are not emotionally vested in their jobs, and expecting them to be is a recipe for hiring frustration. That doesn’t mean that they are not good, competent, caring and hard working. Just that for many people, a job means a paycheck, and there are other things that they would readily prefer to do. Stephen Colbert joked about this recently, saying that he just bought some lottery tickets, and if any of his numbers were drawn, he wouldn’t be performing his show the following Monday. I trust that struck a chord with millions of viewers.

    It seems the most insightful questions and methodical interview practices won’t necessarily bring a company closer to having caring employees. Over time, I’ve learned that caring employers attract caring employees. No matter how carefully they have been vetted during the hiring process, caring employees who work for uncaring bosses quickly burn out, quit, and move on.


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