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Customer Experience

September 26th, 2009

5 Traits You Cannot Teach In Customer Service

There are some character traits that cannot be taught in Customer Service..

If we could, we would because it would make the whole world a better place, not just Customer Service. We can’t, therefore we work with people whom we believe to most exemplify these traits. Here are 5 you cannot teach.

1. Enthusiasm. We see it, we feel it and boy, do we wish everyone had it.

Many people don’t though. It is often reflected in their faces when a request is made and reinforced with a sullen “just a moment” that does nothing to help us believe that we are about to receive a Service which we so desperately hope is better than what Mr. or Ms. Sullen face has just prefaced us with.

Enthusiasm is infectious, contagious and outright fun. It seems the Enthusiast is everywhere, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that we have a fantastic Customer Service experience. It is reflected by the pride they take in doing the job right, the care they take making sure everything is just so and the delivery of “Is there anything else I can do for you Mr. or Ms. Customer?”

The Enthusiast is nearly extinct these days. The victim of “Faster, More, Cheaper” Customer Service.

Are you exemplifying “Faster, More, Cheaper” or are you trying to grow Customer Service Enthusiasts?

2. Happiness. A feeling of pleasure. I have come to believe that Happiness is sometimes misused for the word Enlightened.

I know, now you think I am really off my meds. Let me ask you something. Have you ever met a person who was Happy? I mean really, really Happy? Really, when? Where do you think “Happy Hour” comes from? My point is that when people feel Happy, it leads to the ending of Happiness, or a state of Unhappiness. In other words, there is a limit.

I don’t think there can be a limit to Enlightenment. Either way you think about it, it is not something you can teach. You can feel it. You can see it when another person really has it. You just can’t teach someone to be Happy or Enlightened. They have to find it themselves.

3. Commitment. The feeling one has when one decides to do something no matter the cost or the journey. The ability to see it to the end. People who have commitment are not easily swayed. They keep putting one foot in front of the other, keeping their eye on the prize, the goal, the end.

Oh, they have trials and tribulations, and when you ask them about it, they shrug and say things like “That’s the way we do it” or “It needed to be done.” They have little concern or care for the thoughts of others who can’t see the world through their eyes. They shrug and say “It’s got to get done, and I’m the person to do it.” You can’t teach that.

4. Belief. The thought that someone feels completely, through and through that resonates deep inside them and tells them that they are on the right path. They don’t need your beliefs, and are quite content to let you have yours.

Once it is felt between a group of people, it sings to everyone’s heart in that group. A drumbeat that is felt by and played by all. It brings a natural power to a person that is unquenchable and unwavering. When all else is in doubt it is Belief that carries a person through.

I have experienced total Belief and a loss of Belief and I can tell you that when there is a loss of Belief, it literally can crush a soul. It’s at these times that a person has to find that small spark, that ignites and starts the fire anew. You can’t teach that.

5. Attitude. Among all, I really want to have the ability to teach Attitude. You could point out to someone what Attitude looks like and say things like “He/She has a great Attitude, you would do well to be like this” and the person would say “Oh, I see. No problem. Attitude is adjusted to maximum. Thanks.” And it would be.

Or say something like “Study this book, read chapters 3 and 4, answer the questions at the end of the chapters and you will have the Attitude you need to make it through life.” Right. The world would be a much more interesting place if all of our Attitudes where in sync and working towards a common goal.

” Imagine,” as someone once said. You can’t teach Attitude in Customer Service.

If you are trying to teach one of these to your personnel in the hope that they will morph in Customer Service Professionals, forget it. You have a better chance of seeing Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny playing ball on your front lawn one morning.

Concentrate on finding those people who best demonstrate these traits.

Help them grow their own Enthusiasm, Happiness, Commitment, Belief and Attitude. You will be much happier with the results. (Or Enlightened).

This article is written with the hope that you do something with the thoughts and ideas presented here. Take action and make a difference.

About the Author

Leonard Buchholz

Leonard Buchholz is a Certified Trainer, Speaker and Author. Seminars include subjects like Customer Service, Management and Communications.  Reach him at, call him on +1 760-529-5635 or visit



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