Soft Skills Training is the Secret Sauce to Exceptional Customer Experience

Customer experience is lacking in so many organizations due to the mindset many leaders have of what it takes to deliver good customer service:

“Hire good people with common sense and soft skills.”

This is a major philosophy error. It is so much more than that. The first part is the term “common sense” which typically is described as one using their best judgment based on what they have been taught. Stop and think about that. How would you compare your “best judgment” in your twenties compared to now? The second term is “soft skills.” When you search the meaning of the phrase soft skills, the following definition come up:

desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude.

“…do not depend on acquired knowledge”? Yet when you search the term “skill” by itself, you will find:

the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well; competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity.

So, we would all agree that the term ‘skill’ means something that a person acquires from increased training, knowledge, learning, and practice, which then can give them expertise at that skill. Then, why the moment we add the word “soft” in front of “skill,” does it go from an “acquired competence” to “does not depend on acquired knowledge”?

In the past, soft skills had a reputation for being nice to have in business, however, studies have shown that strong soft skills boost employee productivity and retention by 12% and deliver a 250% return on investment. Another study reported that emotional intelligence skills make up nearly 90% of the attributes that set high-performing leaders apart.

Leaders can’t find employee candidates with good soft skills

While these skills seem like basic expectations of individuals in the workforce, one study showed that nearly 60% of leaders in the U.S. believe it’s difficult to find candidates with soft skills. That is why it is the burden of companies and the training they provide to constantly be developing these. “Quit calling them ‘soft skills’, there is nothing soft about them. They are ‘human skills’,” says author Simon Sinek.

Examples of critical soft skills employees need to be trained on:

  • Compassion & empathy
  • Enthusiastically engaging and warm
  • Charitable assumption
  • Service recovery
  • Rapport & relationship building

How many hours do you train new employees before they can start interacting with your customer? It may be two days, two weeks, one month. Whatever it is, now do that math. How many of those hours is technical training: product knowledge, processing orders, scheduling appointments, etc. versus customer experience training: customer service vision, non-negotiable standards, building customer rapport, service recovery, etc.? Many businesses spend 98-100% of training on the technical part of the job and breeze over their customer service philosophy because they think it is common sense.

It all comes down to service aptitude training. If today’s younger generation lacks the skills gained from human interactions, who is responsible for improving their people skills and increasing their service aptitude? The businesses that hire them! We need to have better training programs, not just training on product knowledge and the technical side of the job, but also training & certification on the soft skills. The companies that deliver world-class customer service are the companies that understand this fact and provide training in customer service skills.

*Early Bird Pricing ends March 31st, Register now for the Customer Service Revolution Conference November 8th-9th


Episode 75 of the CSRevolution Podcast – The Challenger Sale with Matt Dixon

Chief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of The DiJulius Group talks with Matthew Dixon, best-selling author of The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, a #1 Amazon and Wall Street Journal bestseller that has sold nearly a million copies worldwide and has been translated into a dozen languages. Listen to episode 75 – The Challenger Sale


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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.