Last week as we marked customer service week, I had a late lunch with friend who is a human resource specialist. I had an opportunity of getting few tips of hiring good employees for free. One thing that he told me worth remembering is that interviews alone are not the best way to access the suitability of an applicant.

The best way to interview someone, he said, is when they are not aware and are in their natural setting. Thus he told me when he spots a potential candidate or is given a job to evaluate the suitability of an applicant he first visits the person if they work for another firm disguised as a customer. He then talks to colleagues and anyone who knows them within his social networks. He even digs through social media posts to see any clue that may support his evaluation.

What impressed me more was his advice to job seekers: live every day as if it is an interview day because anyone you meet and interact with could determine your fate. More than 80 percent of good jobs are filled through recommendations from people who know the job seeker. They include customers, colleagues and bosses.

Advertisements are often a formality.

This makes a lot of sense to me during customer service week which I receive unusual messages of appreciation, gifts, and discounts, even from unlikely quarters. I got a bottle of water and a gift voucher from Naivas Supermaket Kasarani branch, a nice cake from Barclays bank Thika Road Mall, and a VIP treatment at Sterling Capital just to mention a few.

However, good customer care is something that should not be done on a particular time or week. It is something that ought to be continuous and consistent. Treat every day as if it a customer service day and you will win and retain more customers than you can imagine.

One of the greatest concerns of nearly all business owners in highly competitive market is the satisfaction of the customers. Satisfied customers have the key to boost and sustain sales by repeatedly buying and telling others the good news to draw them to you.

It is estimated that it costs approximately five times more to convince new customers than retaining the existing ones. This simple logic testifies why most firms invest heavily in excellent customer service.

Many firms still suffer customer haemorrhage due to lack of well-trained employees to handle customers well.

Nothing irritates a customer more than an apathetic employee who neither knows the product they are selling nor interested in the customer. Sadly they are not few in the market.

Investing in good products, marketing and distribution is bound to fail if not backed by strong culture of customer care that makes every customer feel part of the business. If you invest in training and good selection of employees you will never regret.