Are yours simple, long-lasting and personal?

Think about the connections that you have with your clients.

Are they simple, long-lasting and personal?

Or are they laborious, fragile and distant?

If your customers have to deal with a laborious or impersonal process for *anything*, just stop it. Now.

People have enough complexity and hassles in their lives. They need more simple, hassle-free things.

Help them, don’t harass them

Recently I called my cable/internet provider. It went something like this: Call, press 15 digits (my account number), then get put into a phone queue, then get asked for the account number I had just keyed in (Why?).

Once I got a real person (which wasn’t long), it took 45 minutes to cancel two services and replace one of them with another service from the same company. During that process, I twice spent 15 minutes talking to two different people, both times trying to get a word in edgewise just to say “No, thank you.”

Not once was I asked why I replaced the service that was moving elsewhere. Seems like info they’d care about.

The problem wasn’t the time to move things around. It was the lack of concern, even scripted concern. Instead I got hassle and complexity – a product no one would take for free, given the choice.

The first step to a cure might not be so obvious.

Hire better.

The thing that makes your work more personal and of higher quality than anyone else’s is the quality of your staff. Someone who takes their work personally is more likely to deliver something that someone really wants to use in a way that they appreciate.

Think about your last hire. Did you scan resumes with a keyword search on MonstrousEmploymentSite.com? I’m sure they have some great candidates, but you’re going to work up a sweat sifting through that haystack to find the sharpest needles. While I like technology, I’m the first to admit that my laptop is a terrible judge of character.

Hire better…Qualify, Read and Ask.

Anyone can scan resumes with an OCR program and look for keywords. Is that how the best companies find their smartest and most productive staff? Doubtful.

While you can post buzzword-filled ads on automated employment sites rather than working your network, but that’s likely to turn up the best keyword stuffers rather than the right person for the job. Unless the job is specialized, you might find yourself wading through 2000 applicants. Do you have time for that?

Instead, try qualifying candidates *prior* to accepting a resume, much less doing telephone or in-person interviews. Use meaningful steps that communicate their ability to fit into your staff and do the job, regardless of the position.

While you could run a 15 minute automated background check with an employment credit report, is that really all that matters when you’re about to hire someone at minimum wage who will lock up at night?  Are they really the “right person”? While no one is going to give you the name of a reference who would talk poorly of their friend or former co-worker to be, the right conversation can make all the difference in who you hire.

The effort that shows you care, again and again

Rather than hire for attitude and train for aptitude, do you fill positions at minimum wage with anyone whose scanned resume fills the proper number of checkboxes? Is it any surprise that you’re soon griping about the attitude and work habits of someone hired with that level of carelessness?

We admire companies like Apple for their innovation of obvious things, but we ignore the effort and investment they make in their hiring process. Maybe you can’t spend the same amount of time and money that an Apple or Microsoft invests in the hiring process, but you can invest a little time. They do this *despite* the number of people they employ and the time cost it incurs because they know how important the right people are to their success.

For our highest-value positions, we still work our networks, ask for the opinions of our high-value employees and create a gauntlet that must be navigated before we hire someone *that* important.

Imagine the difference if you did that more often vs. just “finding a warm body”.