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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Roberts

Why do some businesses give excellent customer service and others don’t?

Have you ever wondered why you have a great experience at some businesses and others –fall flat?

Or even worse – have lousy customer service experiences.

I often wonder – what are they telling their employees?

How are they teaching them to engage with their customers?

"I don't have time for training."

The truth of the matter is, some businesses or nonprofits don’t spend time teaching customer service to their teams. Some common reasons why – these business owners say:

· I don’t have the time to be teaching customer service. Isn’t it obvious that people need to treat customers with respect and courtesy?

· I don’t have the money to teach the team customer service. We actually need to be serving the customers!

Hi! I’m Jennifer Roberts, the owners of Back Porch Communications, and for the month of October – I’m going to share some thoughts on customer service.

I focus my time on helping businesses and nonprofits with Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications, so you might be wondering, Jen, how are you qualified to talk about customer service? Well, let me tell you more about my customer service background. It hasn’t come from books or college – it’s come from working for some great companies that place a premium on customer service.

Places like Walt Disney World put a premium on customer service. I had the privilege of working at the parks in Orlando in the formative years of my career. As part of my job in health care Corporate Communications – I was focused on customer service standards for physician practices – a place that isn’t always known for great service. Have you ever loved your doctor but hated the staff that ran the office? It’s not just you – it’s an issue in healthcare. Finally, I did customer service training for the hospital system I worked for and helped set customer service standards for clients. We are going to talk about all things customer service in October – but to start, let me share…

Customer Service Culture

A HUGE part of customer service is communication. It’s reading the person you are talking to (verbally and non-verbally) and reacting appropriately to their situation.

So this week, we are focusing on what companies are known for customer service and why? Why do some companies get a reputation for being great at customer service and others don’t?

I believe there are two reasons:

1. Companies that are great at customer service make it a priority. They invest in their team by training them. That takes money. First, you must set the customer service standards you want to have, and then you must ensure that you explain the standards so your team can execute them.

Lots of businesses don’t make this investment. Therefore, they don’t excel at customer service.

I know many people believe customer service can come naturally. Just follow the golden rule – treat others as you want to be treated. And that customer service should be obvious to employees.

I’m here to tell you – it’s not. It all depends on what you have been exposed to.

Let me share some of my personal experiences. I had a few different jobs in high school before going to college. I worked in a chain frozen yogurt shop and in a large retail clothing store in the mall. Both of those businesses – national chains – didn’t have formal customer service training for the employees. But, I did have good role models and co-workers who showed me ways to treat customers with respect and think about their needs. The clothing store especially was more concerned about teaching me to maximize sales vs. how to treat customers appropriately.

Then I got a job at Walt Disney World – boy did I experience customer service training like never before. I didn’t know it at the time, but the training and experience I gained would set me up for a lifetime of success in understanding customers and their needs.

The bottom line – excellent customer service doesn’t happen naturally – it’s taught intentionally.

2. The second reason some companies excel at customer service and others don’t is employee accountability.

You can have the customer service standards. You can invest in the training of the team to understand the standards. But if you don’t create a culture where the team members are continually challenged to offer excellent customer service – those standards you set and that training you did – will fall flat.

There must be accountability for the team to carry out the customer service standards.


The two reasons some businesses get the reputation for rocking customer service:

· They make it a priority and invest in training for their team on customer service.

· They hold the team accountable for delivering on the customer service standards.

All this month – we are going to talk more about customer service.

Next, we’ll talk about customers services standards – what they are and how you might develop them.

In the following week, we’ll dive into how you can set customer service expectations for your team.

And finally, we’ll talk about how you can hold your team accountable for providing excellent customer service for your customers.

Are you interested in more tips on Marketing, Public Relations, and Communications? Here are a few ways we can connect!

· Keep checking out this blog. It’s updated weekly.

· Join me Live in my Facebook group each Wednesday about noon-ish at PR and Marketing for Small Business Owners and Nonprofits.

· Check out Back Porch Communications YouTube channel for weekly video lessons.

As always – I’m here to help.

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