Can exceptional customer service be taught?

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This is the sixth post in a series that will explore a set of questions I received from participants during a recent webinar on the topic of customer service.

Question: Is the ability to create delighted customers something that can be taught or something that is inherent in the employee’s personality?

I recently taught this principle to a group in Hollywood, CA. Anyone can be taught to incorporate job essence (behaviors that help to achieve one’s highest priority at work) into her job functions (the duties or tasks associated with one’s job role). In fact, once operationalized, employees will be reflecting job essence in the course of executing job function.

As an example, consider written communication such as email or chat in a contact center environment that relies exclusively on the verbal component of communication. By deliberately infusing written responses with positive language, employees can incorporate essence (positivity) into job function (email responses). Rather than saying (in relation to order status), “Your order won’t be ready until…” saying, “Your order will be ready on…” Or, instead of saying (in relation to product returns), “You need to write your return number on your package,” saying, “Please be sure to include your return number on your package.” (Source: Osram Sylvania’s Positive Language Guidance)

Of course, job essence is often spontaneously reflected in one’s job performance (and, I agree that certainly people are predisposed to this behavior). For example, certain employees naturally convey authentic enthusiasm during their interactions with customers – and their passion is evident to the customer. Other employees naturally express genuine interest in their customers by making eye contact and asking them questions – and their warmth is felt by the customer.

Both conveying authentic enthusiasm and expressing genuine interest in customers are examples of reflecting job essence. Savvy companies employ predictive recruiting assessments to screen applicants for these desired behaviors and, as a result, improve the likelihood that their employees will display such behaviors during their interactions with customers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steve Curtin
Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers: 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary. He wrote the book to address the following observation: While employees consistently execute mandatory job functions for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate voluntary customer service behaviors for which there is little or no additional cost to their employers. After a 20-year career with Marriott International, Steve now devotes his time to speaking, consulting, and writing on the topic of extraordinary customer service.

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