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The other half of customer service

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Many companies that want to build a customer-focused organization start with the hiring process. You have to hire people who already understand customer service and are capable of delivering it. That’s the human side of customer service.

The organization will look at an applicant’s background, prior experiences, answers to interview questions, etc. If the applicant’s background indicates extensive customer-service experience, he or she may be the perfect fit. Still, just because a person knows customer service and has experience with customer service doesn’t mean he or she will be able to deliver customer service — unless you provide technical customer-service training.

Now, I think every employee should go through customer-service training and that that training should be ongoing. This will keep the employees sharp by reinforcing the various customer-service skills, techniques and attitudes necessary for delivering excellent customer service. That’s the human side of customer service and what keeps the organization’s culture customer-focused. In addition to the human aspect — or what some refer to as “people skills” — employees need to go through technical customer-service training so that they can apply those skills to their job responsibilities.

For example, you may be the owner of a restaurant and you hire a server. Let’s call him Bob. Bob has never worked at a restaurant but has a background in customer service. Bob was a front-desk clerk at a very nice hotel and really does understand how to deliver great customer service. But, he doesn’t know how to wait tables.

That’s where the second side of service comes in — the technical side. A technical customer-service lesson might cover which side of a guest is best for picking up and setting down a plate, for example. No amount of customer service background can teach that or any of the other details that go into creating the perfect dining experience.

It’s the same in just about any business. It takes both attitude and skill, and the best people have both. And the best companies make sure that their employees have all the tools necessary to provide excellent customer service.

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Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and best-selling author. For more information on Shep’s speaking presentations, call 314-692-2200, email [email protected] or go to


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