Handling Customer Threats | Angry Guy In Laptop

A Brief Philosophy of Customer Service Capability

We are moving one of our businesses today, so I thought I would keep this post quick and dirty. I want to briefly share my concept of customer service capability.

When it comes to the capability of team members to excel at customer care, you can divide your team into three categories:

  • Those who get it,
  • Those who can learn it, and
  • Those who just don’t have it.

Handling Customer Threats | Angry Guy In LaptopFor the first category, keep them, grow them, and empower them.

For the second category, train them, support them, and elevate them.

For the third category, reassign them or remove them.

While more of a general philosophy than an actionable blueprint, the above concept is a great reminder that not everyone is destined for a customer facing position. Concentrate your energies on those that can be effective.


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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10 replies
  1. Jens-Petter Berget
    Jens-Petter Berget says:

    This is very interesting Adam. I’ve been working with some clients lately, and I have experienced a few people in your third category. But, so far, I haven’t told my client about this. I’m still trying to convince myself that they’re in the second category. Do you approach your clients with this information?

    • Adam Toporek
      Adam Toporek says:

      Hey Jens, I’m not sure what the HR environment in Norway is, so I would say employment law/liability should always be the first consideration. Assuming you feel covered on that front, I think it is important to tell your client.

      I would recommend one of two approaches: 1) Tell them, but do so with questions that lead them to the conclusion. Mary doesn’t seem to be catching on, do you think that it’s a lack of training or a lack of ability? or… 2) Devise a checklist of what qualities/abilities people need to be successful at the job. Then have management grade everyone. Afterwards, you review the scores with mgt and use the checklists as a basis for discussing a game plan for the people in all categories. This objective approach might also assist with potential HR issues. Hope that helps!

        • Adam Toporek
          Adam Toporek says:

          My pleasure Jens.

          As for good CustServ books, well, I could recommend about 100. 🙂 If you don’t mind the self-promotion, I do recommend our eBook 7 Secret Customer Service Techniques Every Expert Knows!. It’s on the signup on our home page (or I can send it to you). As for traditional books, I would start with either What’s The Secret or Secret Service by John DiJulius.

          Feel free to reach out if I can help with anything else.


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