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The Two Sides of Customer Service Training: Human and Technical

This post originally appeared on www.hyken.com on May 20, 2013.

Just because an employee understands what it means to deliver great customer service, doesn’t mean that he or she is able to deliver it.

As I talk to many different companies about how they build an organization that is customer-focused, many of them start with the hiring process.  You have to hire people that already understand customer service and that are capable of delivering it.  That’s the human side of customer service.

The hiring professional in the organization looks at the applicant’s background, prior experiences, answers to interview questions and more.  The applicant’s background indicates extensive customer service experience, and he or she may be the perfect fit.  Still, after the interviews and assessments, hiring the people who know it, get it and have experience with it, doesn’t mean they are going to deliver the customer service you hope for, unless you provide training – technical customer service training.

Now I think every employee should go through customer service training, and it should be ongoing.  It keeps the employees focused by reminding and reinforcing various customer service skills, techniques, and the attitudes necessary for delivering excellent customer service.  That’s the human side and is what helps keep the organization’s culture customer-focused.  In addition to the human side, or what some refer to as “people skills” training, the employees need to go through technical customer service training that teaches how to apply that human side 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.  As a matter of fact, Bob was a front-desk clerk at a very nice hotel.  He really does understand how to deliver great customer service.  But, he doesn’t understand how to wait tables.

That’s where the second side of service comes in, the technical side.  A technical customer service lesson might teach an employee which side of the guest is the right side to pick up and set down a plate.  No amount of customer service background will teach that, or many of the other nuances that go into creating the perfect customer experience at a restaurant.

This is the same in just about any business.  It takes both attitude and skill.  The best people have both.  The best companies recognize and make sure their employees have both.

The technical side of customer service is actually easy to teach, but that doesn’t mean the customer will have a great experience.  The employee also has to understand the human side of customer service.  It is the combination of the two that is greater than the sum of the parts.

About Shep Hyken:

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times  bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken