Passion Pit: Must you be truly passionate about customer experience to excel?


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A passionate lifeA passionate life


Passion is what keeps you going when things are hard, unexpected challenges arise, or you get bad news.

BUT: You don’t really need to live, breathe, and eat “customer experience” day in and out to become very successful in the field. It sounds a bit counterintuitive—how can you succeed at something that you’re not completely involved in?


When working in collections, there were two types of successful collectors: naturals and grinds.

Naturals were born salesmen with lovely voices and an uncanny sense of what to say when to close a deal. They got jazzed over hitting big payments and putting up huge numbers on the board day after day. They thrilled to the roller coaster ride of it all.

Grinds usually came from academic or other white- collar backgrounds—they were educated in a wide swath of subjects, and were always finding angles to improve their game—jotting down telephone numbers that didn’t ring through on the automated dialer system and then manually calling them later, creating more detailed notes in the accounts, learning more about Accurint in their spare time.

Overall, both groups had competence- they were skilled at their job. Naturals came by it more easily, but both groups were focused, prepared, and knew their market.

Work Ethic

Passion is the spark and the fire, but good work habits like application, patience, and perseverance—those are the things that you really need at your job. I’ve seen many a reality show in which a sniffling participant argues that they want the prize more, so they should get it, which is often a cover for their lack of competence or work ethic. Wanting something or loving something to death is not enough to bring it to fruition.


My top reps at a Philippines based outsourced call center would surf Wikipedia in their ‘avail’ times. It was one of the few sites not blocked, and it gave them an irresistible look through a window into the outside world.

In many of my jobs, including retail, I made myself a better salesperson by reading everything I could get my hands on about the company and the products.

Was I “passionate” about denim washes? No, but as a naturally (and insatiably!) curious person, I was willing to direct my curiosity to a area where it would pay off in competence down the line.


Exceptional “psychic” customer experiences come from knowing what your customers might need down the line. It’s great to be passionate about providing great service in the here and now, but what about extension brands, products, and services that they’ll need and want later down the line?

How can you take your 1-store operation from using all paper processing and tracking to a 3-store chain that’s completely digital and eco-friendly?

You need more than just “passion” to accomplish moves like this.

Passion can take you far– but without these other traits, you’ll be flapping your melting wings as you soar ever closer to the sun, oblivious to the dangers….

Naomi Kelsey
Naomi Kelsey has 10+ years of progressive responsibilities in the customer service industry, and 3 in the BPO training field, with an Instructional Design focus. She specializes in creating custom-tailored training programs in Language, Customer Service, and US Culture for both internal and external call center clients. Her vision is to bring "supernaturally human" customer service to all customers through innovative training methods and materials, great coaching tips, and true expert advice.


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