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Customer service skills: Lessons from the National Park Service

Ashley Farinacci (left) with manager Margaret Adams

I walked into the Boston Store Visitor Center in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (OH) and was surprised by one employee’s expert customer service skills. It was early Sunday morning at 8am, just when the store opened.

Customer Service Skills that Rock

This was my first visit to this amazing park. Interpretive Park Ranger Ashley Farinacci greeted me with a warm smile and friendly hello. It was early. She may have been tired from a crazy busy Saturday the day before, but didn’t show it.

Ashley is amazing. She is the type of employee you can build a successful business around. Or in this case, create a visitor center where visitors go away happy, well-informed, and tell all their friends.

Ashley engaged me with questions the listened. I told her I was interested in hiking and she recommended some trails. She went the extra mile and dug into her file cabinet to get me the proper trail maps.

Ashley’s secret? She is friendly and she cares. She seems to love her job. It’s a simple formula for success really.

If this wasn’t enough, when I met Ashley’s manager, Margaret Adams, she greeted me with a big smile and friendly hello. Margaret is another customer service superstar! She smiled throughout our conversation and told me “they are all about customer service.” She was a delight to talk with.

All businesses can learn from Ashley and Margaret. Here are the takeaways to improve your businesses customer service skills:

  1. Smile and greet customers with a friendly hello. This sounds simple, but is rare to see in action.
  2. Engage your customers. Start a conversation.
  3. Ask questions. Listen.
  4. Be friendly and care. (Is this that hard to do? Why is this so rare?)
  5. Hire friendly people. Hire for attitude. Train for skill. Take a lesson from the National Park Service and hire people like Ashley and Market.


Learn customer service skills for success in Kirt Manecke’s award-winning books Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service and Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World. Learn more about Kirt on his website.


Posted by Kirt Manecke | 0 Comment
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