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“Service is the most powerful competitive advantage we have.  Service is not a cost, it is an investment.  It’s a growth engine for our company”, says Jim Bush, Executive Vice President of World Service, American Express.   I could not agree more.

Enlightened companies understand the old saying, “customer service doesn’t cost…it pays”.  They also know how to make that statement come alive in training sessions.

For example, a few years ago, Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz wanted to provide special training for employees to show them how to make the perfect cup of coffee and how to serve their customers.  So, on a given day, for three hours all of the North American Starbucks stores, about 7,000, closed in order to train employees.  All employees were invited to participate and were paid for attending the three-hour training session.  Along with learning how to make coffee and serve it, I believe they learned another lesson.  I think they witnessed first hand that the foundation of a company’s success is investing quality training in its employees to ensure proper development of skills and talent.

Starbucks has an excellent reputation and is known for quality products and stellar customer service.  Their executive leaders have a service mindset that if they don’t spend money on training employees, ultimately, Starbucks will pay for it in the end…either by customer attrition or losing their best employees to the competition.

Employee investment is as important to a company as investing in manufacturing, advertising, and product expansion.  Gold standard companies will tell you that the return on employee investment is absolutely priceless.

When properly trained, employees feel valued and believe that executive management cares about the development of their career path.  All of this contributes to heightened employee morale and leads to giving excellent customer service.

Go out there and make it a great day!

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