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Employee satisfaction and customer service excellence: Tip #3

Find out how employee job satisfaction affects a company's overall customer service excellence in this tip.

Asking these self-evaluation questions can help businesses understand how employee job satisfaction affects customer service quality.


  • Our people have the right skills and knowledge to perform their work well.
  • We regularly monitor employee satisfaction and act on the findings.
  • We recognize the performance and behavior of outstanding individuals and teams.
  • We empower our people to deliver service excellence.
  • When recruiting and developing people we focus on attitudes first.

    Our people have the right skills and knowledge to perform their work well

    Tip #3, Using employee satisfaction and customer service excellence, is excerpted from Chapter 4 of the book Business Success Through Service Excellence, by Moira Clark and Susan Baker, published by Butterworth-Heinemann, a division of Elsevier, 2004.
    Having the right skills and knowledge to perform the job well is the cornerstone to engaging people in a service context. There is nothing more frustrating for employees than to be thrown in at the deep end in terms of serving customers and to not know what to do. Best practice companies adopt two key strategies for ensuring that their staff are well equipped to do the job. First, they ensure that they recruit people into the business with the right service attitude. They look for people who are naturally good with customers and care about serving customers well (this is discussed further below). The second strategy is that they ensure that staff receive first class training on how to do their job well. In many service excellence companies this means that they will not be allowed near a customer until they have completed a rigorous induction program which could last a number of weeks, during which time they will be trained in every aspect of the job and how best to serve customers.

    The advantage of adopting such a thorough formal approach is that it makes it abundantly clear to everyone in the organization what standard of work and behavior is expected from the start. It leaves little room for "staff to do their own thing" or even to undermine the company training schemes. However, no matter how well the training is organized and the skills and knowledge to do the job communicated, staff will not excel at their job unless they can work in a culture and climate that fosters service excellence. Many of the best training schemes in the country have failed because returning staff are informed by their colleagues "not to take any notice of that, that's not how we do things around here!" or "who do they think they are, we know how to deal with customers and it's not like that!" This is known as "informal socialization" and can be very powerful in determining peoples' behavior when they are at work. It would seem, therefore, that where the successful companies have succeeded is that they have been able to harness "formal socialization" through the training programs and "informal socialization" through word of mouth to ensure that they say the same thing. That is, what is preached is actually practiced in the organization and that when staff return from training programs that enhance their skills and knowledge, they are able to practice their newfound skills in an environment that is supportive and helpful.

    It is important to remember that there is a real difference between training and learning. Typically, training is measured by testing people, but learning is measured by testing the results of what they do. To learn to do something we must both study and practice. Put another way you can acquire the skills and the knowledge but you have not learned anything until you have put this into practice. This is what "real" learning is about and this is what the best service excellence companies have achieved. They have recognized that training can only take them so far and that at some point learning must take over. They also recognize that people learn best when they enjoy the learning process and when it is fun.

    Download the rest of this chapter on employee job satisfaction.

    Customer service excellence: Six tips in six minutes

     Home: Introduction
     Tip 1: Using customer intelligence in a service strategy
     Tip 2: Improving customer service with effective business processes
     Tip 3: Employee satisfaction and customer service excellence
     Tip 4: Building a service strategy with organizational leadership
     Tip 5: Change management in a customer service strategy
     Tip 6: Customer service excellence best practices


    Business Success Through Service Excellence   These chapter excerpts from Business Success Through Service Excellence, by Moira Clark and Susan Baker, are used by permission from Elsevier Publishing. Published by Butterworth-Heinemann, a division of Elsevier, 2004.

    Purchase the book here


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