What Qualities Make a Difference in Customer-Facing Employees?


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Say you’re pur­chas­ing a new cloud-based cus­tomer rela­tion­ship man­age­ment (CRM) sys­tem for your com­pany. You’re faced with sim­i­lar prod­uct options, and the pric­ing struc­ture is com­pa­ra­ble. At com­pany A, the sales rep is help­ful, but not very engag­ing. He is knowl­edge­able, but isn’t very friendly, doesn’t fol­low up, and you can tell that though the sales rep knows the prod­uct well, he isn’t par­tic­u­larly enthusiastic.

At com­pany B, the sales rep is pas­sion­ate, knowl­edge­able, engaged, and pleas­ant to work with, with­out being too hard on the sell. You know, from brief expe­ri­ences with both sales reps, that com­pany B will be much eas­ier to work with.

Which company’s prod­uct will you choose?

With cost and prod­uct fea­tures being sim­i­lar, your choice isn’t even a con­test. You’ll go with com­pany B. After all, you rec­og­nize that being able to get assis­tance, prod­uct updates, and hav­ing your ques­tions answered will go much smoother with the sales rep from com­pany B.

In this sit­u­a­tion, the sales rep from com­pany A didn’t do any­thing “wrong” per se, but there was a lack of engage­ment, which became clear when con­trasted with the rep from com­pany B. This gets you think­ing: What is it, exactly, that sep­a­rates a great sales rep from a mediocre one?

Let’s look at the qual­i­ties of stand­out customer-facing employ­ees so that you can under­stand what areas to train your employ­ees in, and what to look for when hir­ing.

Pride in the job

Employ­ees with cer­tain tem­pera­ments may nat­u­rally dis­play more pride in their work, but for many employ­ees, their level of pride will be a reflec­tion of the work­place. Do you offer train­ing so that your employ­ees are knowl­edge­able and con­fi­dent about their prod­uct? Are the employ­ees treated well, given ade­quate time-off, and respected? Do you specif­i­cally tell your employ­ees to show their pride when deal­ing with cus­tomers? Cus­tomers notice employee pride, so when hir­ing and train­ing, make sure this qual­ity is one of the top char­ac­ter­is­tics that comes through.

Your com­pany val­ues should shine through

Your employ­ees will have dif­fer­ent per­son­al­ity char­ac­ter­is­tics and ways of han­dling cus­tomers, but they should all be able to work off of your core com­pany and brand val­ues. In other words, your customer-facing employ­ees need to be able to show a united front. Do they make deci­sions based off of your cor­po­rate ethos? Employ­ees should be able to think cre­atively and flex­i­bly, but your job is to ensure that they under­stand what your com­pany stands for. Cus­tomers should not get dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences from dif­fer­ent employ­ees. Make sure your employ­ees are able to demon­strate your val­ues. Put effort into com­mu­ni­cat­ing and train­ing your employ­ees so they reflect your com­pany culture.

A flex­i­ble attitude

Flex­i­bil­ity is a per­son­al­ity char­ac­ter­is­tic and a qual­ity that can be encour­aged. Customer-facing employ­ees should be able to adapt, think out-of-the box, take on new adven­tures, and adjust to changes. When deal­ing with cus­tomers – who can be frus­trat­ing or demand­ing – customer-facing employ­ees need to demon­strate a way to mod­ify and come up with solu­tions. Rigid, uncom­pro­mis­ing per­son­al­ity types do not do as well in customer-facing roles; make sure you take note of this when you are screen­ing applicants.


Empa­thy can be improved through soft-skills train­ing, but some employ­ees def­i­nitely have an innate knack at show­ing empa­thy. Empathic employ­ees make cus­tomers feel val­ued, and even when the employee can’t directly solve the prob­lem, the employee shows that he or she under­stands and val­i­dates the customer’s concerns.

A friendly per­son­al­ity goes a long way

Friend­li­ness is one of those qual­i­ties that seems straight­for­ward, but if you think back to your own expe­ri­ences with cus­tomer ser­vice reps, you can prob­a­bly name sit­u­a­tions where cus­tomer ser­vice reps were not friendly and didn’t have a light atti­tude. In customer-facing roles, peo­ple want to look for­ward to work­ing with a rep, and when your employ­ees radi­ate a friendly atti­tude, this can make all of the difference.

Friend­li­ness is cer­tainly a qual­ity you can look for when hir­ing, but it’s also a char­ac­ter­is­tic worth point­ing out and encour­ag­ing when you are train­ing your reps.

Employee-facing employ­ees are the face of your brand

Remem­ber the exam­ple from com­pany A and com­pany B in the begin­ning of this arti­cle? A good employee really can make the dif­fer­ence in a pur­chase deci­sion. The qual­i­ties of customer-facing employ­ees should not be dis­counted, and don’t make the mis­take of think­ing that employ­ees will just “improve” with time. When screen­ing and hir­ing, look for employ­ees who show the char­ac­ter­is­tics high­lighted above, and then spend time train­ing and arrang­ing your work envi­ron­ment to get the best out of your employ­ees. Your customer-facing employ­ees can truly make or break a sale, and they are the face of your brand, so it’s worth invest­ing in employ­ees who will rep­re­sent your com­pany in the best light.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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