There are a myriad of factors that go into delivering exceptional customer service. Although some are more important than others, a strong argument could be made that none are more important than this one. It’s one of the top things I look for when interviewing any employee and without it, I’d never hire you. This one thing can make or break your help desk, your department and yes, even your company.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Hiring for Attitude
Without the right attitude, nothing else matters yet many of us continue to hire people based on their technical merits and employment history. To hire the right attitude you need to interview for the right attitude. Asking about one’s strengths and weaknesses are questions that are somewhat outdated and don’t really help you get any closer to finding the right candidate with the right attitude. Here are some of the questions I like to ask a potential candidate:
- How do you handle a situation where the workload is beginning to be too much and your emotions start to be involved in the situation?
- When was the last time you had a project that really energized you?
- How do you react when asked to do something beyond your capabilities?
Here are some more good ones from Monster:
- Tell me about a time that you caused an issue with your team and how you managed it?
- Have you had any differences with your previous managers? If so, how did you handle them?
- Have you ever felt that your skills were being overlooked? What did you do to improve the situation?
While direct questions about how the candidate was treated in previous jobs should be avoided (it can lead to possible legal action), you can listen for how the candidate handled various situations with their co-workers and managers.
The Right Attitude and Customer Service
Although there are a myriad of ways to provide exceptional customer service and thousands of books have been written on the subject, it really starts with one simple concept: focus on the customer in front of you. The next time you’re helping a customer, clear your mind of everything but that customer. Forget about your next ticket, your next call, your next project. Forget about what you’re going to have for lunch or that fight you had with your spouse that made you grouchy this morning. Remove all distractions. If your mind is cluttered, you won’t be there for the customer in front of you. You won’t be listening and if you’re in the customer service business (which is really all what IT support is), you must take time to listen – with a positive attitude. Clear your head of all the other “noise” and focus your complete attention on serving the customer.
I’ll leave you with perhaps my favorite quote on having a positive attitude:
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”
― Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi