National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

A closer look at research focused on service behaviors indicates that there are both hard skills or technical expertise and knowledge, as well as soft skills or interpersonal qualities and personal attributes (Robles, 2012). Employers want employees with a mix of both skills sets to optimize the customer experience. Soft skills are often highlighted as the most important set of behaviors at all levels of business because you can more easily train on technical skills, like how to use the in-house computer software system or respond to a policy but it is much harder to train on interpersonal qualities like the ability to help a customer positively solve an issue. Robles (2012) polled a broad spectrum of executives for the top 10 soft skills need ed in today’s workplace and the attributes they lifted up included: integrity, communication, courtesy, responsibility, interpersonal skills, professionalism, positive attitude, teamwork skills, flexibility, and work ethic. Another lens on how to view customer service behaviors was developed through research by Dixon, Ponomareff, Turner and DeLisi (2017). After identifying a variety of technical and interpersonal attributes from over 1,400 sales representatives in a cross-industry study, seven service profiles were created that captured distinct differences in personality and approaches to the position. The profile attributes are identified below, how they ranked in making interactions efficient and painless and the proportion of the sample: The Controller Outspoken and opinionated; likes demonstrating expertise and directing the customer interaction; ranked #1; proportion 15% The Rock Unflappable and optimistic; doesn’t take difficult conversation personally; ranked #2; proportion 12% The Accommodator Meets people halfway; involves others in decision making; eagerly offers discounts and refunds; ranked #3; proportion 11% The Empathizer Enjoys solving others’ problems; seeks to understand behaviors and motives; listens sympathetically; ranked #4; proportion 32% The Hard Worker Follows rules and procedures; likes working with numbers; is persistent and deadline oriented; ranked #5; proportion 20% The Innovator Identifies ways to improve processes and procedures; generates new ideas and options; ranked #6; proportion 9%

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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