28 Essential Customer Service Skills

2013 Secret Service Summit – In 2013, The DiJulius Group presented our annual Secret Service Summit, and it was clearly the one of the best one we have done in years. 

As expected, we sold out with about 450 attendees! This group of speakers was the highest-rated roster we have had so far. Best of all was the energy in the room! A world-class Customer service conference unlike any other. 

Everyone came to find out how to raise hospitality and Customer experience to the next level. The passion in the room was indescribable.

Let us recap some key takeaways and invaluable Customer service skills learned this year:

Experts Share 28 Customer Service Skills

Stan Slap, Slap Company and Multi-Awarded Author

“Absolutely outstanding! He really drove home his message. I feel privileged to have sat in on his presentations. Thank you.”

Key takeaways:

Employee Culture

Your employee culture can’t be bluffed, bribed or bullied, but it will give you what you want; you just have to give it what it wants first.

  • It wants context – Why are things happening?
  • It wants predictability – What is going to happen next?
  • It wants a positive sense of self – What is the character, the true intention and the higher purpose of the work I do and the company I do it for?


Emotional commitment is what your company wants when it says it wants leadership. The key neurobiological source of emotional commitment comes from living your own deepest personal values in the relationship with your company and the environment at work.


Becoming a brand means transferring the sustainability of your company to your Customers, who will advertise and sell for you, and step up to protect you if you stumble or get attacked. “Branded” is a tribute, not a verb – you can’t claim it; it has to be given to you.

Holly Stiel, Thank You Very Much, Inc. and Customer Service Philosopher 

“I truly believe in changing the world through service, and obviously Holly does, too. I just want to give her a hug and thank her for not leaving me to feel like I am dancing alone.”

Key takeaways:

Service is a feeling

Service is a Feeling. We need to pay attention to the human needs behind the business needs. The need to be truly heard, acknowledged, remembered and respected.

Don’t react to negativity right away

It is simple but not easy, so wearing the “turtle hat” and embodying the metaphor, reminds us to stick our necks out, have a hard shell so we don’t take things personally and be slow to respond with a negative emotional trigger.

You don’t need to be always right

Being Right Is The Booby Prize. This is the place service breaks down the fastest. If we could let go of having to be right we could actually serve people with little confrontation and upset. It doesn’t mean we don’t have guidelines; it simply makes the distinction to serve people as opposed to holding on to our righteousness.

Matthew Jeffers, Leading Authorities International and Motivational Speaker

“This was my favorite presentation from both days, perhaps of the three conferences I have attended so far. This young man is so wise beyond his years and so articulate. I find him inspiring and his message very powerful.”

Key takeaways:


Life doesn’t always go according to plan.


The only disability in life is a bad attitude.


The importance of wearing your armour of positive attitude is that it is the most powerful combatant to anything life throws at you.

Sasha Strauss, Innovation Protocol, Founder and Senior Advisor

“Outstanding on many points… content, delivery, ability to engage audience.
I could listen to Sasha talk for 2 days. Bring him back next year!”

Key takeaways:

Relate to your customers

The New Normal has changed Customer service forever. It’s time to find new ways to relate to Customers.

Be your customers’ hero

Empathize and advocate for your Customer’s needs publicly.

Engage your customers

Social media is the environment, brand content is the recipe.

Reon Schutte, The Power of Choice, International Motivational and Inspirational Speaker

“I feel very honored to have heard his presentation. Very powerful, will stay with me for the rest of my life. I will use what I learned from him in my daily life with my family, friends and co-workers. 

Reon’s message is so simple, yet so incredibly profound.”

Key takeaways:

Move forward

Having the courage to move forward in life without fear.


The ability to truly forgive those who have wronged and/or hurt you.


A focus perspective on what is really important in life.

Joe Calloway, Be the Best at What Matters Most, Auhor and Business Leadership Expert

“Great piece to push our teams to action.
Great messages, and perfect content for the end to help deal with idea overload.”

Key takeaways:

Win On The Basics

When looking for ways to differentiate our business it’s easy to get carried away with “wow” factors that we overlook the most powerful “wow” factor of all: be the best at what Customers value most. Your goal should be to be so good at the basics that you are cutting edge.

Create WIN/WIN Relationships

Market leaders and winning brands are those that are best at creating wins for Customers, employees, business partners, and the community. We should always strive to create wins, opportunities, and solutions for others. It is the ultimate power strategy in business and in life – be sure the other guy wins!

Take action

People in extraordinary companies have great ideas and take decisive action on them. People in mediocre companies have great ideas, too, but they never get past thinking about them, talking about them, and having meetings about them. 

Your ideas have no value until you take action. Stop thinking about it and DO it!

Tina Hodges and Brittni Walker, Advance Financial

“So inspiring and goes to show that regardless of the business you are in, Customer service is so important and can be done. Loving the Customer RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE was an amazing message.”

Key takeaways:

Provide world-class service

If you compete in an industry where world-class Customer service is not the norm, even more the reason to make it your distinct competitive advantage.

Make learning fun

You can dramatically increase employees’ service aptitude and solidify their awareness to your service vision, pillars and Nevers & Always by making it fun through interactive eLearning games, i.e. Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, Matching.


Creating a world-class Customer service organization is a long-term commitment by the entire executive team and needs a dedicated champion, i.e. Customer Xperience Officer.

John DiJulius, The DiJulius Group and Dynamic Speaker

“John’s openings were some of the best examples I’ve seen him present.”

Key takeaways:


Companies need to systemize hospitality to make it easy for front-line employees to genuinely connect with each Customer.


Online retail satisfaction is rising while brick & mortar is declining because retailers are failing at their biggest competitive advantage– building human relationships with the Customer standing in front of them.


Hire for attitude not aptitude.

The 2013 Secret Service Systems Award Winner – Chick-fil-A

The Secret Service Award recognizes Customer service excellence in three categories:

  1. Creating Secret Service Systems
  2. Creating an Experience Epiphany
  3. Revolutionizing their industry

Chick-fil-A has revolutionized the quick-service industry as well as best practices for world-class hospitality for nearly every industry. Some highlights of best practices of CFA that were recognized:

  • Their service vision – Making every guest feel cared for unlike anywhere else
  • The Core 4 – Create eye contact, share a smile, speak with enthusiasm, and stay connected
  • 2nd Mile Behaviors – Carry meals to the table for high-needs guests, clear trays from tables and refresh beverages every 15 minutes, and carry large orders to cars.
  • Their ability to get their front-line employees to be true brand evangelists.
About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.