How Do Your Customer Service Skills Stack Up?

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We recently escaped to a fancy resort for a weekend of relaxation, anticipating excellent customer service skills from the staff.

In the lobby we were welcomed by a staff member with a clipboard. He asked if we wanted our breakfast delivered to our room in the morning, or if we planned to eat at the restaurant. We had just arrived. We had not decided. He seemed a bit perplexed.

Then he asked what time we wanted to schedule the 45- minute massages included in our weekend package. We had just set foot on the property. We had not even seen the villa. We hadn’t begun to plan the next two days. He seemed a bit perturbed.

He looked at his clipboard and asked what time we wanted “afternoon tea” on the following day. I realized this person was more interested in filling out the form than making us feel welcome with his customer service skills.

Now I was perturbed. I told him to take us to our villa right away. We would call him later with answers to his three questions.

Key Learning Point 1 On Customer Service Skills

The staff member’s focus was on the clipboard, not the customers or using good customer service skills. This style of service is tactical, and sometimes practical. It’s called implementation.

If the staff was better trained to use excellent customer service skills, he might have explained the options in our weekend package like this:

“Breakfast can be served in your room, at the restaurant by the pool, or in the coffee shop overlooking the bay. Room service is open 24 hours. Breakfast buffet at the restaurants is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. It’s your choice.

“Two 45-minute massages are included in your package, available anytime from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. A 90-minute extended massage or 45-minute massage plus optional health treatment is available at an additional charge.

A brochure describing the spa and beauty treatments is in your room. Early reservations are recommended.

“Afternoon tea can be delivered to your villa anytime from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. The chef likes to prepare it fresh. Just let me know what time is best for you.”

Key Learning Point 2 On Customer Service Skills

This is a higher level of service. Instead of focusing on his questions and his clipboard, the staff works to inform us about our available options using good customer service skills. I call this education.

If the staff and the resort were more focused on people and good customer service skills than on product, our welcome might have been like this:

“Hello. I’m not sure why you have chosen our resort for the weekend, but whatever your interests, you have come to the right place.

“If you want a weekend of rest and relaxation, room service is available 24 hours for your convenience. We will be glad to serve you breakfast, afternoon tea and any other meals in the privacy of your accommodation.

“In your villa you will find a Jacuzzi and a private pool. Music and videos are also available for your entertainment, just give us a call and we will deliver them to you.

If you put up the “Do not disturb” sign, we will only come when you call us for fresh towels, housekeeping or whatever else you may require. You can even have the operator hold all calls.

If anyone wishes to contact you, we will slide a note under your door rather than awakening or interrupting you with the phone.

“If you want rest and relaxation, this is the right resort.

“On the other hand, if you want a weekend of activity and exercise, you have also come to the right place. We have two restaurants overlooking the pool and the bay, a well-equipped workout room, bicycles, two tennis courts and a golf course, a complete water sports facility and a nature trail to hike around the grounds.

“If you want to get out and enjoy an active weekend, you have found the perfect spot.”

Key Learning Point 3 On Customer Service Skills

The resort staff is positive, upbeat and optimistic. His encouragement would make us feel confident about the weekend. Our intentions will be accomplished, desires fulfilled, goals and aspirations will be achieved. This kind of service is motivation.

Now let’s go one step higher on the topic of customer service skills. What if the staff and resort were committed to truly outstanding service? They would have looked at the guest history and known this was our very first visit. They would have checked the arrival record and seen that we came in from Singapore.

With a warm manner, good customer service skills and a genuine smile, the staff in the lobby might have approached us like this:

“Hello, hello and welcome. On behalf of all the staff, thank you for choosing this resort for your weekend away from Singapore. It will be our pleasure to serve you over the next few days. We are truly delighted that you are here.”

Hearing these simple but heartfelt words, we would have sighed deeply and relaxed. A weekend of comfort and care would have begun.

Key Learning Point 4 On Customer Service Skills

The use of customer service skills in this manner creates connection with customers as people – beyond products, packages, pricing, policies and procedures. It acknowledges the spirit we share and touches the place in each of us that radiates with loving and light. I call this inspiration.

Implementation > Education > Motivation > Inspiration

What level of service do you provide?

Is your organization focused on “getting the job done”? That’s implementation.

Are you committed to making your customers “information rich”? That’s education. Do people feel more able and empowered after speaking with your staff? We’re talking motivation.

Are customers uplifted by their interaction with your team? Do they feel better about themselves, their businesses and their future? Now that’s inspiration.

Action Steps To Improve Customer Service Skills

The level of service you provide has an impact on your image and your income.

Find out where you are right now and then – UP Your Service! Better customer service skills can help your business shine.


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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” book and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit

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