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Customer Focus

Happy customers are necessary to keep a company in business. They have the power to buy or not buy your products, and convince others to do the same. Good food or good prices bring in customers, but a bad service experience can keep them from coming back.

Customer Focus measures a person’s desire to please customers and anticipate their needs. People that have excellent guest focus strive to exceed the expectations of customers and encourage others to do so as well.


The group of scales that make up a competency are shown visually in an assessment as a competency model. Colors indicate whether or not a candidate falls in a preferred range for each scale.

Our surveys measure innate traits that impact a person’s ability to provide a pleasing experience for any customer. Over three decades of research and experience have shown that there are four key traits that play into someone’s Customer Focus competency.

  1. Insight

    Showing interest in what customers want and understanding others’ motivations is an important attribute for employees in any consumer-facing company. Having insight keeps employees one step ahead, and by anticipating the needs of customers, they drive business and sales.

    When employees fall on the low end of this scale, they tend to overlook people issues when making decisions. Employees here may not be able to recognize emotional cues as well as those who have a better handle on reading people. Because of this, they may not recognize how their own behavior is impacting the customer, and might find it harder to anticipate the needs of others.

    The high end of Insight includes employees who tend to be understanding of others’ feelings. These employees are more attuned to interpersonal issues and place a higher emphasis on giving customers the best experience possible. Those who have the desire to understand people find it easier to evaluate their needs and provide the best customer service.

  2. Positive About People

    Having a positive outlook towards people makes interactions with them much easier. In industries where customer experience is a main focus, being critical and negative can be detrimental to business.

    If a person is skeptical of people and generally untrusting of others, they likely fall on the low end of this scale. Here, employees may be difficult to please and might even show intolerance towards something they don’t agree with. These people may be harder to take advantage of because they are naturally less trusting. However, these employees may find it uncomfortable to have to be positive and trusting of others, making their interactions feel more forced.

    On the high end of the spectrum, employees generally concentrate on positive attributes of people and accept others without being critical. Having a positive outlook towards people makes providing customer service come more naturally, because these employees want to help. In a situation where a customer is being catered to, it’s important that employees focus on creating a positive environment.

  3. Assertiveness

    Employees should make their presence known to help reassure customers that if they need help, they know where to find it. Showing confidence in front of strangers, especially when they have questions is one of the most important traits for customer-facing employees to have.

    When employees score low in Assertiveness, it means they’re likely more reserved and quieter than most people. Typically these employees are seen as good listeners and easy to work with. Although being reserved isn’t a bad trait to have, it may hinder communication between the employee and customer. Effectively dealing with customers requires a certain amount confidence to make the customer feel like they are in good hands.

    People who score high in Assertiveness are comfortable talking to people and typically enjoy having conversations. In this range, employees make their customers feel welcome and taken care of. They leave a lasting impression and may even be able to influence customers to buy more of a product or service.

  4. Work Pace

    Industries that cater to customers all experience the rush– the certain hours during the day where there are so many people who need to be helped. Sometimes this can be overwhelming, so why not have the peace of mind and know your employees can handle such a fast-paced environment?

    Employees who prefer a slower working environment fall on the left end of this scale. Because they are more comfortable doing things in a relaxed manner, they may become easily frustrated when it comes time to pick up the pace a bit. People who have an unhurried work style tend to be uncomfortable having to scramble to get everything done in a short amount of time. When people feel rushed, they can become flustered, which leads to aggravation, mistakes, and inefficiency. None of these things are okay with customers.

    Employees who are the most effective during busy or hectic times fall on the right side. These people may even prefer a fast-paced work environment. They are able to remain collected and effective during the rush of demanding customers. Employees who can handle a fast work pace are able to make each customer feel especially taken care of, even though they may be helping dozens at a time.

Since these four scales cover people’s outlooks towards others and the degree to which they can maintain presence and positivity during hectic times, they give clues about how well an employee focuses on customers.

It’s critical for the employees of any customer-facing industry to present themselves as welcoming and helpful, no matter the circumstances. Customers who’ve been provided great service are likely to not only come back again, but also encourage other people to become customers as well.

To learn more about using competency models to predict success, download our Competency Spotlight eBook for Corporate Managers, Retail Managers, or Restaurant Managers.

The Competency Spotlight series focuses on the personality traits measured by OutMatch job-fit assessments, and how these traits impact performance. No one measure can say with 100% accuracy how an employee will behave, but considering these competencies can help you identify candidates that are ‘prewired’ to be more successful than others in a particular job type.

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