National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

The Competitor Focuses on winning, outperforming colleagues, and changing others’ views; ranked #7; proportion 1%

(Dixon, et al, 2017)

These research related frameworks, which included service delivery, interpersonal skills broadly needed for customer service, and sales representative clustered profiles provided the foundation for the curriculum development of “We Serve”.


Business owners in a rural Nebraska community approached a local community development extension educator concerning the need for customer service training. The training was going to be delivered in a unique situation: it was targeted at a retail environment composed of a variety of businesses owned and operated by a culturally diverse group linked to a common street location. The location was one block away from the main retail trade area of the community. It seemed to the business owners on that street that this “one block away” location made it difficult for them to be fully recognized as part of the retail community. They felt that customer service training would be a good first step to energize their collective businesses and give them some visibility within the community. The extension educator had a close working relationship with many of the businesses and with her bilingual skills, had been a part of conversations where the many facets of customer service gaps were highlighted. Due to this relationship, she also realized that there were both stated and inferred goals linked to the training. A team of four Extension faculty with business and hospitality training experience were assembled to think broadly about the goals and how best to package the training. One of the primary objectives was to offer timely, relevant, and low-cost skill training to a multi-cultural front-line employee audience in a changing Covid environment. Another key objective was to help the business owners understand their critical role in providing a good work environment, tools, and training to support their front-line employees. In addition, it was hoped that the training would inform the front-line staff of the many local aspects and hidden treasures of the area to help them feel a part of the community and connect them to the various segments of the community. While the faculty were discussing the training, other more subtle expectations were uncovered through previous statements from the businesses. Specifically, the businesses were interested in increasing their retail visibility within the community and region and to increase the customer comfort level in shopping within the multi-cultural business

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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