John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog


The Term “Soft Skills” is an Oxymoron
November 2, 2016, 7:12 am
Filed under: Customer Service
The Real Problem With Customer Service
The real problem with customer service is the mindset most leaders have of what it takes to deliver good customer service:

“Hiring good people with common sense and soft skills.”

That is totally wrong! It is so much more than that. The first part is the term “common sense” which typically is described as one using their best judgment based on what they have been taught. Think about that. How would you compare your “best judgment” in your twenties compared to now? There is no best judgment seed planted into our head when we turn 16, 18 or 21. If there is, please tell me how I can get it for my 24 year old!

Soft Skills is Not What You Think
The second term is “soft skills.” When you search the meaning of the phrase soft skills, the following definitions come up:

desirable qualities for certain forms of employment that do not depend on acquired knowledge: they include common sense, the ability to deal with people, and a positive flexible attitude

“…do not depend on acquired knowledge” could not be more wrong. Here is where the contradiction comes in. When you search the term “skill” by itself, you will find:

the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well; competent excellence in performance; expertness; dexterity.

So we would all agree that the term ‘skill’ means something that a person acquires from increased training, knowledge, learning, and practice, which then can give them an expertise at that skill. Then, why the moment we add the word “soft” in front of “skill,” does it go from an ‘acquired competence’ to ‘does not depend on acquired knowledge’?
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