Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

What Makes Good Customer Service

National Customer Service Week is coming up the first week in October. This is a time to appreciate employees for doing a great job taking care of customers. There are many ways companies are celebrating. Everything from an employee appreciation event, like a lunch or dinner, to fun games that are about team building and comradery. And, of course, there is showing some love and appreciation to your customers.

This year I want to take a different approach. While thinking about what to share with our subscribers on this important “holiday,” I remembered a question that was asked in a recent interview. “What makes good customer service?” Normally I would say attentive people, knowledgeable employees, great attitudes, strong relationship-building skills, and a desire to serve. While all that – and more – can create good customer service, there is an even bigger answer.

We cannot determine if we give good customer service. Only our customers can. In other words, it is our customers’ perceptions that determine if we’ve provided good or bad customer service. The customer acts as the judge and jury. As a business, we can only hope that our efforts are in line with our customers’ expectations. And, only our customers will determine if we have met or exceeded them.

Good customer service starts on the inside with the company’s culture. I’ve preached this before. Leadership must create a customer service vision that every employee can relate to. It must be concise, simple and easy to remember. I call it the service “mantra.” It must be trained to – not just once, but continuously. Remember, training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do.

Every employee must do their part. Once they understand the vision and are properly trained, they must manage every interaction they have with their customers for an optimal experience. The secret to making it optimal is within reach of anyone or any company. Just make the experience better than average. Just a little. That may sound easy, but what makes it a little more difficult is that it must be all the time. In other words, the customer can count on it. A consistent and predictable experience, that is better than average, is what makes for good customer service.

So, for this year’s National Customer Service Week, take some time to talk about your service vision. If you don’t yet have one, this is a good time to start the process of creating one. Take this week to tweak the service. Talk about it. Practice it. Get feedback about it. And, make sure you’re not just meeting, but exceeding your customers’ expectations, if even ever so slightly. Your customers will tell you if you are. And, that’s how you’ll know if you are delivering “good” – even amazing – customer service!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXVII, Shep Hyken)

  1. Shep, Great thoughts here. I am always inspired by what our customer service team does on a daily basis. They are always willing and ready to jump in and assist any part of the company and certainly to your point are a key component to the company culture. I appreciate your statement “training isn’t something you did. It’s something you do.” That is such a refreshing mindset. Continual learning is very important in any work environment but in tech where everything evolves so quickly staying current is pertinent. Here at Lessonly training is high priority and staying enabled goes without question. Having this mindset pushes our teams to the greater goal of amazing service. You mentioned that only customers can determine if we are giving good customer service. Do you have any advice on the best way to collect that insight?

    • Thanks for your comment Helen. We are in sync. Finding out what the customer thinks is as simple as a CSAT or NPS survey. Maybe an open-ended follow up question. It’s all about measurement. The customers will give you their feedback.

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