Knowledge is power. In customer service, it's also profit.

Why Customer Service Training Won't Improve the Customer Experience

Posted by Jill Donnelly on December 05, 2012

At Customer Service Experts, we are incredibly proud of our name. Just by hearing it you can determine the type of business we are and the work we do.

As such, many organizations that turn to us for help do so because they want to improve their customer service. However, being a Customer Service Expert doesn’t equate to only focusing on customer service as it is traditionally known. Our methodology and approach is based on proven research which suggests that supporting and developing the internal employee experience will lead to a consistent, positive customer experience.


We help businesses understand that customer service is more than just the way we serve external customers, and that customer service training alone for front line employees will not result in a better customer experience. The responsibility for customer service doesn’t reside in a “customer service department” or with customer facing employees alone. The reality is:

Customer service responsibility resides with EVERYONE in the organization.

After working with hundreds of organizations over several years on service improvement, it is apparent that simply employing customer service training in hopes to teach the front line to “smile” and to learn strategies on service recovery will not improve customer satisfaction scores, or make customers any happier. Rather, organizations that focus on employee experience (employees supporting and serving each other in their quest to provide an exceptional customer experience), have much better customer satisfaction scores and profit* than those who only offer a fleeting customer service training class to their front line.

Here's a practical example for you.  An organization came to us recently requesting customer service training for their front line. This business offers a service, and is B to C (business to customer). The company had a multitude of customer complaints and poor feedback, which was the impetus for reaching out to CSE.  When we asked about their goals, they stated that they wanted the cashiers on the front line to provide better service.

In summary, they believed training their cashiers would result in less customer complaints.

This particular business offers dry cleaning services and the cashiers have little to do with the product that they are delivering.  They are “ringing up” the dry-cleaned clothes that have been tagged, sorted, spotted, cleaned, pressed and organized by a whole series of “back of the house” employees before they get to the cashier and then the customer.  So, if the tagger tagged the item wrong, or the spotter missed a spot, or the presser missed the crease, or the organizer put it in the wrong location- any one of these steps in the process could result in an unsatisfactory product or customer experience, who is the employee that is left to service the unhappy customer?  The cashier, of course! 

So, I ask you: will customer service training that teaches the cashier to “provide better service” fix any of this customer dissatisfaction? 

No, of course not!  The solution is much more comprehensive:

Customer service responsibility resides with EVERYONE in the organization.

Engaging each and every employee in their work, so they perform it above standard, is the most effective way to improve service.  Each employee has an internal customer:

  • When the tagger is accurate in tagging each item, they are taking one step closer to supporting the cashier in being able to meet or exceed customer satisfaction.
  • When the spotter takes care to identify all of the spots on the garment, he or she takes the process one step further in supporting the cashier and delighting the customer
  • When the organizer carefully puts all of the customer garments together and in the correct spot on the carousel, he or she takes the process one step further in supporting the cashier, making the process more efficient and therefore creating an excellent customer experience.

 …and so on and so on.  Each employee is serving the next employee in line to ensure efficiency and a successful result.  When the converse happens, the cashiers are constantly on the firing line, trying to service recover from the inaccuracies in the support line.  

The sooner we understand and act upon the reality that every person in the organization has an internal customer that they serve; and that their actions, even if they aren’t external customer-facing, affect the customer experience, the easier it will be to drastically reduce customer complaints and improve the employee and customer experience.

How does YOUR organization support each person in the process so they can better serve their customer?

  • LEARN WHY the connection between front-line and back-line employees benefits the customer in the end!
  • Check out CSE's comprehensive SOLUTIONS to see how we can help you!

* Earnings per share for companies with world-class engagement are 3.9X higher than their industry average. -Gallup