The market is gradually shifting towards customer-centricity and customers are beginning to demand more attention with positive service experiences. 

Customers now expect you to know their jobs-to-be-done, communicate and implement solutions with minimal effort from them, consider every difficulty they face – even the insignificant ones. 

However, achieving a customer-centric hiring approach is not something that can be done without building a customer-centric workforce. 

Here’s how you can pull it off as an HR: 

customer-centric hiring
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

1. Prioritize Customer-Centric Hiring

While both hard and soft skills provide a good assessment of what your job applicants are capable of, only soft skills can help you know if a customer is customer-centric or not.

For instance, imagine hiring a sales representative that has difficulty adapting to different situations and managing stress. When communicating with eccentric customers, this sales rep is more likely to snap at them or fail to resolve their complaints.

That’s why HRs must not only focus on hard skills when hiring. You need to prioritize soft skills such as communication, teamwork, ability to adapt quickly, leadership, stress and crisis management, and conflict resolution.

To assess communication skills, simply schedule a pre-employment screening video call with your candidates. Check for signs of uncontrolled anxiety, analyze response, and timing of responses as well. 

Other skills such as teamwork and leadership are things you can’t assess on call. So you might need to contact the former employers of your potential hires for more info.

The goal is to look for individuals that are conscious of others, can carry everyone else along, and provide a good customer experience even in near-impossible situations. Note that this isn’t for the customer service department alone.

2. Provide Customer Service Training

You’ve gotten talents that possess the required soft skills – that’s great. But that doesn’t mean they are ready to stand on the frontline to handle customers or execute their tasks with customers in mind.

Building a customer-centric team requires providing adequate customer service training. And a good training module should teach employees who your customers are, their needs, pain points, demographics, how to provide a good customer service, the minor things that go a long way, etc.

Customer service training for employees can come through online precorded courses, live courses, and on-the-job teaching. However, on-the-job training is much more efficient and productive since employees can gain real life experience.

Again, every department in your organization must participate in this training whether they come in contact with customers directly or not. This is to ensure product development, distribution, and marketing is customer centric as much as possible.

3. Foster A Customer-Focused Culture

In every organization, employees must prioritize the “customer-first” motto and understand how crucial it is to provide a good customer experience. To do this, HRs need to create a customer-focused culture.

For instance, Southwest airlines made an inclusive mission and vision statement that serves as a mantra to their employees all the time.

Mission statement: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit.

Vision statement: To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.

This customer-only approach ultimately affects Southwest airline’s work objectives and methods of execution since the goal is to provide the “highest quality of customer service”.

Besides rolling out a mission mantra, you should also teach your employees to prioritize customers over sales. Most sales departments focus only on the sales metric and will desperately do everything to see it spike. But that will only make you appear as sale-sy and chase off potential leads.

Other steps to build a customer-focused culture includes involving your customers in some decision-making processes. 91% of people in a survey conducted by Surveymonkey believe that companies should listen to their buyers for innovations. So, roll out polls or surveys and ask which product design they prefer while providing options to choose from. Give them the opportunity to contribute and see their casual suggestions actualized.

4. Encourage Empathy

Empathy is a great tool to let your customers know you care about them. You don’t shut them up simply because they’ve made an illogical request or cut them off midway to jump into action because you’ve heard similar complaints before.

It’s very important to train your employees on the art of empathy. They should know which words suit which environment, how to calm customers’ nerves, diffuse tense situations, and show they care.

Teach employees to listen to customers and place less emphasis on speaking. Some customers just want to pour it all out due to the frustration they’ve experienced while using your product. 

You should also make their problem your problem – that way, you can appropriately appreciate their feelings and respond better.

5. Gather Customer Feedback

85% of SMEs say their businesses have benefited from customer feedback in one way or the other. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise since feedback helps you know exactly how a customer feels or thinks about your product. 

Anytime your support team solves a complaint, automatically prompt customers to rate the support and experience. Then analyze their feedback to see where your support team is lacking and what can be done to improve customer experience on call.

6. Recognize And Reward Customer Excellence

Your employees are also humans. So you need to treat them the same way you expect them to treat customers.

Encourage employees by showing appreciation towards their efforts to provide a good experience for customers.

In the sales and support team, know who has more rapport with customers on a personal level. See and highlight the extra step they are taking to be better so that other employees can emulate it.

Importantly, you can integrate a reward system in your company’s CRM. That will make it easy to track every employee and eliminate reward bias.

7. Equip Your Team With Advanced Tools

You can’t over exaggerate the importance of artificially intelligent and advanced tools when building a customer experience focused team.

For instance, AI chatbots can drastically decrease response time to queries from customers. At the same time, it will help your human workforce focus on the more important tasks without leaving customers behind.

Integrating an AI-powered call recording software with your Customer-relationship management tool can aid documentation of every conversation you have with customers and analyze after.

So depending on what you wish to achieve, ensure each of your departments uses the hybrid human-computer approach to get things done faster.


Building a workforce that understands and prioritizes customers is essential for every organization. For one, customers love it. Secondly, you can reduce your customer churning rate.

Start by prioritizing a customer-centric hiring and teach your new hires how to provide a good customer experience. Collect customer feedback to improve service and equip them with essential tools for higher productivity. Lastly, happy employees are productive employees. Reward and recognize those employees performing well.