National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

We Serve! Bridging the Culture Gap with Training

Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel , Extension Specialist, Rural Prosperity Nebraska,

Excellent customer service is the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer’s expectation; being able to provide the needs and wants of a customer in a professional manner no matter what the circumstances are. (Clardy, pg. 103). Few people, if any, would disagree that good customer service is at the core of business success. It is the engine that keeps businesses running and moving forward. But delivering customer service and integrating service behaviors in an ever-changing business environment can be challenging. As some would say, “that is easier said than done ”. The development of the educational training, “We Serve” is an approach to front line customer service training to support service delivery in a unique multi-cultural, post Covid, retail environment in rural Nebraska. This paper outlines the underlying research models and supporting documentation to illustrate how the service training was conceptualized and organized for delivery. It also showcases the importance of communicating with the community to understand both the obvious and not so obvious expectations that can be a part of the training.


Typically, what comes to mind when you think of customer service is the one- one-one interaction between a customer and a front-line employee. This is an important element in the experience; however, customer service involves an entire business delivery system. Heskett, Jones, Loveman, Sasser Jr. and Schlesinger, in Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work (2000), clearly outlined the relationship between internal service quality, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and business profitability (Figure 1). This model provided a foundational framework for the development of the “We Serve” curriculum. It illustrate s an undeniable connection between the desire for internal service quality and the connection to employee development and business profitability. When the right people are hired, trained, and rewarded for service, and the position and workplace are organized with available tools to support service actions, you lay the groundwork for service delivery. What follows is employee satisfaction, retention and productivity which translates into greater service value for customers and ultimately business growth and profitability.

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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