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What Does a Customer Service Focused Employee Look Like?

Engaged employees who are passionate about your business is any manager’s dream. However, it is not possible to create a list of standards and mold the ideal engaged employee. So, how do you know if you’ve found an engaged employee who is focused on customer service? Ask your customers! They will tell you if you’ve found the right person to represent your brand.

A perfect example of this is seen in an undercover video series by Jia Jiang. Cleverly calling it ‘Rejection Therapy,’ Jiang has created more than 70 videos where the basic premise is to make odd requests of employees with the expectation he’ll be rejected. On the outset you may think Jiang has low self-esteem, but aside from his personal goals, he’s actually uncovering valuable character traits of employees in service-facing positions.

On the third day of his experiment, Jiang visited a Krispy Kreme donut shop. He challenged a worker to make him donuts fashioned like the Olympic rings. The employee, although shocked at his request, makes every effort to make it happen. Why? There are several possible explanations, and we explore a few of them below.


Customized donuts are not on the Krispy Kreme menu. Jackie’s (the employee) immediate reaction could be to deny the request – after all, it was not within the scope of her company’s product offerings. Instead of allowing Jiang’s strange question to affect her disposition, though, she treated it like a regular customer order. Customers are unpredictable, but you can do your best to allow your employees to maintain a predictable atmosphere.

Understanding the Boundaries

It’s reasonable to deny a request that is far out of bounds, but do your employees know where these limits are? Companies and their employees who excel at going above and beyond do understand their limits. Olympic ring donuts might not have been on the menu, but fulfilling the request was within the capabilities of the location. Teaching your employees how to recognize and overcome barriers, without compromising your brand, can create more brand loyalty than a marketing campaign.


Jackie wasn’t afraid to demonstrate her knowledge and work through the problem. Even though the initial reaction was to reject Jiang, she provided him with sound reasoning why the task seemed impossible. Have you ever had a customer ask, “Can I speak with a manager?” Proving your expertise can be positive reinforcement in a situation that may be outside of your capabilities.


Passion can manifest itself in many different ways. Jackie may not have been ecstatic when Jiang gave her the challenge, but she did her best to deliver. The enthusiasm she has for her job is seen when she gives Jiang the donuts – on the house. Jiang eventually talks to Jackie about the experience, which can be seen in a follow up video here.

There isn’t a fool-proof way to pick perfect employees, but listening to your customers can help you decide which attributes are important to your business. At NBRI, we help companies determine what customer’s value and how your business can provide it. Contact us today to get started!

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