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Competency is not an abstract concept.
It shows up daily in our everyday world in situations where staff make snap judgements,
and the resulting behaviours can make or break the success of a business transaction or service.


Two Views from the Customer Side

Here are real-life examples of two opposite experiences. First, the good.

I recently took my toddler to a restaurant for lunch. We avoid gluten as a family, and this particular restaurant had several gluten-free lunch options. Our server took the time to explain the menu to me and even pointed out that some of the kids’ meals could be adapted to be gluten-free. She listened with interest as I talked about what it’s like to be gluten free as a family. In the end, we decided on a sandwich—a rare treat for someone who is gluten intolerant.

When I asked where they bought the bread, our server said this particular gluten-free loaf was carried by a local grocery store. She wrote down the name for me and explained how they store it to serve it at its tastiest. When she learned I had to leave shortly, she quickly brought me the bill and processed my payment on the spot. On my way out, I stopped by the kitchen to pass on a message to the manager about her extremely pleasant and helpful service.

And now, the bad.

Our local internet provider recently introduced fiber optic service into our neighbourhood. They called to arrange an appointment to switch out our modem. Of course, they gave the standard three-hour window in which the technician might arrive. Like so many others, I’m working from home and spending a good deal of time on internet meetings. So I arranged my schedule around their three-hour window.

The technician came to the wrong door. When I realized that, I rushed out to direct him to the correct one. But by the time I got outside, I saw him driving off. Despite two vehicles in the driveway and having our phone number on his work order, he promptly drove off when he didn’t get an answer. 

Not wanting to suffer the disruption to my work schedule again, I immediately called the internet company to ask them to send the technician back. An hour and four “service” reps later, the best I got was an appointment for the next week and a concierge who was patronizing, used the broken-record technique about what he couldn’t do for us, and left a very negative impression of the company. Oh yes, and did I mention, after prompting on my part, he promised a free month of a specialty channel? Three weeks later, we’re still waiting for the free channel.  

How’s Your Service? 

“Scientists have discovered it takes three positive experiences to offset one negative experience. According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a positivity researcher at the University of North Carolina, for every heart-wrenching negative emotional experience you endure, you need to experience at least three heartfelt positive emotional experiences that uplift you.”

Are your staff creating positive or negative service experiences for your customers? Did you know that customers are likely to share a negative experience with 9 to 15 others, but only 1 in 10 are likely to share a positive experience? 

Do your staff know what good service looks like? Are they consistently demonstrating great customer service behaviours? That’s what competency is all about—a consistent demonstration of the positive behaviours that contribute to successful performance on the job.

Not sure how well your staff is performing in their roles? Check out our easy-to-use online competency feedback tools at



© Entegrys Incorporated 2022

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