Alan Weiss, a noted consultant (and my coach) said today: "… I’ve never seen happy customers when there are unhappy employees (either naturally unhappy or angry at the employer). I have seen happy employees and unhappy customers (no supervision, lazy, entitled). Always hire enthusiasm, you can teach the content.(emphasis added) … And make sure you demonstrate within the business the behavior you’d like to see bestowed on the customer. .."
Another way of saying this is what I’ve always preached: Hire for work ethic; hire someone who is passionate about their work, about making a contribution to the organization. and about focusing on the client, not themselves. The rest can be taught. Skills can be taught, attitude cannot.