Should every member of staff do a stint in customer service?

customer-serviceI’m loving Scott Berkun‘s The Year Without Pants – an account of the time he spent in startup land working with Automattic, the company behind

I’m going to do a full write up at some point, but some bits of the book are so good I can’t wait to share them.

Here’s one. Every new hire at Automattic spends time working in customer service, answering user questions and queries and solving their problems. No matter what their position in the company – everyone has to do it.

The reasons are clear. It helps that new starter understand the customer’s needs above everything else – what their pain points are, what they are trying to achieve and so on.

It is also the best way to learn about how any kind of system or process works, by hearing from those who are using it every day, and running into problems. Fixing those problems is a fantastic way to learn how something works.

So perhaps this is something other organisations could take up? Perhaps when a new chief executive takes over at a local authority, they should spend a week or two on the phones at the customer contact centre, learning directly from the people who depend on the services provided by the organisation.

What do you think?