Equine Accounting: Looking for "People People"

When you look for an employee for your horse operation, you want someone who is good with horses, someone who can paste worm the most difficult horse in the barn with one hand tied behind their back, clean five stalls in less than five minutes and other equally impossible tasks. A big part of your livelihood comes from horses so, of course you want to hire employees who are strong in those skills - "Horse People"

But horses are only half of the equation. Horses are owned by people, expenses incurred by horses (like hay, grain and shavings) are paid by people and some people can complain a lot more loudly than most horses if they aren't happy with the services provided. Yet most employers don't consider the skills that are required for good customer service when making a hiring decision - "People People" and not just "Horse People".

While it isn't likely that most of the job applicants for horse businesses have had extensive training in customer service, some may have had experiences that will serve as a good basis for developing awareness and consideration of customer needs. So don't just focus on how many barns the applicant has worked at in the past. Also ask about experiences working in retail or service industries, where customer service is key.

No matter what their experiences, you need to provide training so your employees KNOW how you want them to handle a situation. Role play scenarios and offer suggestions for responses. When a client mentions that she heard that her horse wasn't turned out today as promised, "I forgot" is not an appropriate response but "Let me find the barn manager/owner and I'm sure she can answer your question" might be one example of how you'd like your employees to address the situation.

Spend some time in your barn and listen with the ears of a customer, not the owner. You might be surprised at what you hear - a barn manager berating an employee at full volume, a barn employee explaining to a customer why she hates working there, etc.

Good "People People" employees = satisfied customers who are eager to patronize your business and put money in your pocket. So invest in your employees by providing them with the customer service skills they need to help make your business a success.

Visit my website www.blueribbonaccounting.com to learn more about equine businesses.