Customer Service Training-Not Just for Agents Anymore


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Every company at some point (and ideally on a regular basis) puts its front-line staff through customer service training. And that’s as it should be. These employees are in direct and continuous contact with customers of the organization, and it’s essential that they have the skills, knowledge, and motivation to provide excellent service.

But what about the rest of the organization? If the aim is to create and manifest a customer service culture, then all employees should be involved. Following are five reasons to take your customer service training company-wide.

1. Knowing is not doing. Yes, many of the skills and topics covered in customer service training are fundamental—listen, be courteous, show empathy—and yes, most people learned them early on in life. But the mere knowledge that these skills are important is not enough. They have to be demonstrated and put into practice on a regular basis. Training helps with that.

2. All employees should “speak” a consistent service language. If the only people in the organization who are trained to understand and respond to customer needs are the front-line agents, then there’s virtually no chance of establishing a strong service culture across the organization. A company-wide training initiative helps all employees to align their job roles with the overall customer service mission.

3. Every job is a customer service job. Every employee has customers—even if they sit just down the hall. Don’t these internal customers also deserve to receive good service? What’s more, the quality of service provided (or not provided) to internal customers eventually impacts the experiences and impressions of external customers. For more on this, see my related blog post here.

4. Managers are models. Whether consciously or unconsciously, employees follow the lead of their management. If managers strive to be customer-focused and service-oriented—and if they enthusiastically participate in training—the rest of the company will get the message that it’s important.

5. Yes, it matters! The customer service demonstrated by employees (regardless of job title) matters to customers, matters to the bottom line, and perhaps most importantly, matters to the employee’s own sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. That alone should be reason enough to go company-wide with customer service training!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Vasudha Deming
Vasudha Deming is a consultant and author lucky enough to get paid for doing something she loves: helping businesses to thrive by putting values into action. She also organizes athletic races, service projects, community events, and anything else she can get her hands on. When it all gets too stressful, she heads out the door for a long-distance run.


  1. I couldn’t agree more with Vasudha. All the evidence points to the fact that focusing only on frontline staff has a diminishing return in terms of customer satisfaction and experience management. The world of service excellence has been talking about this since Earl Sasser (et) and his colleagues at Harvard published their work on the service-profit chain. There is a direct relationship between the internal service culture and ethos that exists in a company and the service experienced by customers. We have worked with many organisations who have come to us AFTEr they have implemented great customer service training programmes and have found that the results were not sustained. The answer is a systemic and company wide focus on service. Many years ago when I worked at British Airways we started with senior leaders and worked our way down to the front line. If managers couldn’t leader a service organisation there was little hope of frontline staff being able to sustain their good efforts. There are a number of things an organisation can do, but some of them are to develop an internal service culture, remove the barriers to service, lead through example, and stand well back and give staff sufficient autonomy to deal with customer service.


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