But when it comes to hiring the people who deliver it, there are a lot of easy-to-make mistakes. Here’s what you can do to
                 avoid bad customer service hires.





The Importance of Hiring the Right Team for Your Small Business (And How to Do It)





Even if your leadership skills are top-notch, it’s mission-critical to find the right team for your small business. People who are naturally motivated to contribute and serve your customers well will be a lot easier to lead than those who have no interest in delivering rock-star performance.






Many small business owners are on the hunt for talent that will help them grow their businesses. Thirty-six percent of owners projected that the number of jobs at their company would increase a little or a lot over the next 12 months in the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index released in December 2016. That was the highest reading in the survey’s 13-year history.

If you’re among them, there’s a lot you can do to build the right team—even if your budget is tight. Here are some strategies that will help.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers.
Try to experience your business the way customers and prospects do. Call the main phone number from a number your team won’t recognize. Does the person who greets you sound happy and professional before you identify yourself the as person who is calling? Leave a message on the company voice mail. Does someone on your team play it and return it the same day? Send a message through the contact box on your website. Does it get returned? If you’re in retail or the food business, ask a few friends to visit your business as mystery shoppers and report back to you. What is their experience like?

The point isn’t to spy on your employees or play gotcha. It’s to get an objective look at how they are treating customers. If you find gaps in the customer experience, offer your team more training, or, if no one the team is suited for a particular role, like sales, look for a hire who fills in the gaps on your team.

Another way to do a reality check is to use customer surveys. Use SurveyMonkey or another free survey software to design a survey and send it to customers after a purchase. Ask them about what their experience was like. Or use the Net Promoter Score survey, inquiring whether customers would be likely to refer to you to a friend or family member. If your scores need major improvement, you may need to help your team buff up their performance at work or replace those who are seriously underperforming with new hires who are better at keeping customers happy.

Keep recruiting top of mind.
The time to find great hires isn’t when you’re desperate because someone has quit the day before. It’s when you don’t need help. Try to find ways every week to look for people you might add to your talent pool. If, for instance, you volunteer in a community organization, play in an amateur sports league or take classes in the evening, mention your business to the friends you meet and ask if they know anyone who might be a good fit, should you need to hire someone in the future. Reach out to the contacts they suggest and invite them for a cup of coffee on a day when you’re not busy to get to know them long before you need to hire.

Look beyond the obvious talent pools.
In some instances, it pays to look for people who fit a certain profile when you hire. If you own a running shoe store, hiring people who are runners—whether serious marathoners or recreational joggers—may help your sales. They will have a natural enthusiasm for what they are selling and will be able to share their knowledge with customers.

However, many small business owners miss out on great hires because they have created too narrow a picture of who is right for a job. For instance, a software company may only send open jobs to new graduates with little experience, thinking that no one else will accept the job.

In reality, there may be many other applicants who would be interested in the role in a part-time or freelance capacity. Thinking about job openings in a different way can open your talent pool and allow you to find someone who complement the qualities of the other people on your team and won’t be as sensitive to whether you pay the highest wages or not.

Focus on culture and character. 
Skills can always be taught – and even the most seasoned professionals are learning new things every day. Tougher to instill in your team is character. Hiring people who show up every day on time with an enthusiasm to grow will be an asset to your business no matter what their skill-set is.

In addition to character, hiring a culture-fit is a must for small businesses. When it comes to small teams, a new addition can instantly change the group dynamic. It’s important that new hires mesh with your culture – whether your business values quirkiness and the ability to think outside the box, or values driven type-A perfectionists who never miss a beat.

Hiring intentionally means that you get the right people in the door to scale and accelerate your small business.

















Erin Posey