Are We Born With Customer Service Skills Or Is It Human Nature To Develop Them?
You know the type, we’ve all seen
them. You walk up to a busy counter in any business, shopping mall or a fancy
hotel and there they are. They look up with a warm courteous smile, a polite
greeting, they are attentive but not overbearing, informative but not tedious,
their interest in how they can help you is genuine. You leave wondering ‘Are
some people just born with those customer service skills?’
Are we born with customer service skills or is our human nature such that we acquire and develop skills throughout our lives that we become proficient in, and even truly great at, customer service included? There is certainly a lot of evidence to imply that the latter is true. The Oscar winning movie ‘The King’s Speech’ for example has just recently portrayed that while someone may not be a ‘natural’ at something; whether it be customer service, being a champion runner or even being the King of England, you can acquire and learn the skills you need to fulfil a profession, a pursuit or your calling in life, which can give the impression that you must have been ‘born with it’.
Certainly people can be more ‘naturally’ suited to particular jobs. However if we were to take the example of the person described in the first paragraph and ask how did they attain this ability to be so proficient at customer service we would see a variety of factors and motivations may have contributed— not because they were necessarily born with those skills. These factors can include our life experiences, the circumstances that we encounter and what we are taught by our parents. Our dreams, goals and passions can also determine what skills we decide to pursue and develop. It is in our human nature to be determined and if we need to acquire skills to get somewhere or achieve something we do.
Human Nature is full of tenacity and courage and we seem to be able to achieve anything we set our mind to. We are adaptable, a conscious species ever learning and growing in skills and knowledge. Charles Darwin once said ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”. While he wasn’t specifically talking about the human species here it can certainly be said that we humans have adapted and endured a great deal throughout our history by learning new skills. It does seem that it is in our human nature to acquire, collect and refine different skills at different times when needed throughout our lives.
Even though good customer service can be largely viewed as something that is intuitive, implying people are born with those qualities rather than learning them, the principles of customer service can most definitely be taught and implemented by anyone. From extensive experience working in the service industry and research done for this article I found most customer service skills can be summarized by a quote by American philosopher William James who said, ‘the deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated’. Understanding this about your customers, being able to put yourself in their shoes and anticipating their needs are the keys to good customer service. And what’s more all this can be learnt and if you have the good fortune of working under excellent managers or companies that communicate their service culture wellto their employees you will see this is true.
So in conclusion it may be true to a degree that we are born with some personal idiosyncrasies or traits but I believe skills are acquired, as the history of our human nature evidences and teems with examples of.