Some companies genuinely understand customer service—the customer is at the center of all they do. Others are operations-minded, and their over-reliance on rules and policies results in average customer service. Here are 3 of the main differences between the customer-centered company and the operations-centered one:

1.     Empowerment. The customer-centered company empowers employees to make decisions that benefit the customer. They have guidelines, rather than rules, and believe that if it isn’t illegal or immoral—and won’t cost the company money (and sometimes even if it will)—the employee should consider doing it. On the other hand, the operations-centered company requires a manager’s approval for anything beyond protocol.

2.     Hiring. The customer-centered company hires people who fit the culture and have personalities which align with the company’s vision of customer service. Employees’ skills are only part of what makes them valuable to the company. The operations-centered company hires for skill only; technical aptitude is the only job requirement.

3.     Training. The customer-centered company spends time and money developing employees’ “soft” skills, such as relationship-building. This company recognizes that it takes both technical and soft skills to deliver exceptional customer service. The operations-centered company does not concern itself with soft skills.

If you aspire to the heights of customer service, you must develop a culture where excellent service can thrive. Otherwise, you’ll end up just another average company.

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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 shep@hyken.com or go to www.hyken.com.