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People Person: The Importance of Having the Right Person in the Right Role

"I used to be a people person...but people ruined that for me." I recently read that quote, and thought it was very funny. Then, it occurred to me that there are people who actually feel that way. Yet, they have jobs that require them to serve customers all day. More specifically, some of those people are the first touchpoint for the organizations where they work. Whether they are called receptionists, greeters, hosts, hostesses or phone operators, the point is the same: The overall service experience is directly impacted by how effective that person is in his/her role.


For the purpose of this article, let's call the person in that "greeting" role a customer service agent (CSA). Even if you try to fake it, customers can always tell if you are truly being genuine or not. If you love to greet and connect with people, it shows. If you don't like to greet and connect with people, it shows as well.


Not everyone is meant to serve other people. Period. Even fewer are meant to be in a role, where they have to greet and interact all day. Whoever is in that role should be energized by interacting with others. In fact, many of the individuals they interact with will be people they don't know, and not everyone likes to interact with people they don't know. However, CSA's shouldn't have that issue. They should be the type of people who look for opportunities to talk to anyone. That, dear readers, is a very specific type of person. Someone who is constantly smiling, happy, and positive.


Leaders who are hiring CSA's should be very selective of who they allow in that role. Don't compromise. That person will be the "face" and sometimes the voice of the organization. Not everyone who is good at customer service will automatically be good as a CSA. When interviewing for that role, listen for the applicant to say phrases like:

  • I just love people.
  • I love to meet people.
  • I enjoy making people feel welcomed.
  • I smile because I am happy and want others to be happy.
  • People don't have to speak to me before I speak to them.
  • I like to make each person feel like they are a king or queen.
  • Each person is truly unique.
  • I've always been a people person.
  • Meeting new people energizes me.

When you see a natural-born CSA, it is truly a sight to behold. There is an unmistakable connection they make with each customer. The customer's demographic or socio-economic status doesn't matter. True CSA's smile with joy in their hearts. They give eye contact with joy in their hearts. They greet with joy in their hearts, and they offer assistance with joy in their hearts. Being eager and welcoming is not what they do...it is who they are.

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