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Teaching Employees How to Smile

Serving Internal Customers First

Shep Hyken interviews Stephanie Coradin, founder of DEMBO Inc and an advocate of employee empowerment and dynamic leadership. They discuss how leaders can empower your customer service team by serving their internal customers first.

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Top Takeaways:

  • Teaching employees how to “smile” starts with having employees feel comfortable in their skin, having them feel like they are in a place where they can, and allowing them to take ownership.
  • The external customers are important, but the people that are going to serve those customers are also our customers, known as internal customers. We must properly serve our internal customers, even before we send them out to serve others.
  • We tend to send an experienced employee out to serve customers without allowing them to take a breath and find out what they need from us as leaders. We send them out and they’re not able to find out what their guests need from them because they’re modeling how their leaders treat them.
  • Every leader needs to understand their leadership style. Understanding their style allows them to adjust to the different personalities and styles of their team members.
  • Have conversations with your team to better understand what they need from you. Ask them, “What can I do to help you move further into your career or into this position?”
  • We have a cultural problem where employees are afraid to speak up. They are afraid they will get punished if they do something wrong or if they say something that may be viewed as negative toward their manager. We have to put them at ease so they know it is okay to speak up.


“Understanding how you lead first makes it so much simpler for you to go through the steps of leading another, whether it is a team or just one person.”

“Employee empowerment is providing your team members with the tools, the training, and the opportunities that they need to do their job – and then letting them do it.”

“Because we think differently, we approach problems differently depending on our backgrounds and our cultures.”

“Know yourself and know what you’re looking for. Be clear about who you are and how you work. That makes a world of a difference.”


Stephanie Coradin is the founder of DEMBO Inc, she has over 18 years of experience in providing leadership and development training, and life coaching to individuals and groups from varied industries. Stephanie is an advocate of employee empowerment and dynamic leadership.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What is employee empowerment?
  2. Why is employee empowerment important?
  3. What is the difference between internal and external customers?
  4. What is dynamic leadership?
  5. Why is it important to understand your leadership style?

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