Scott Berkun, in The Year Without Pants, discusses his first few days on the job at WordPress.com. At WordPress, all new employees had to start first by answering customer support tickets. This was true learning on the job, whereby they learned about the corporate culture, how to deal with customers, and how the WordPress support system worked. Rather than listening to someone tell them “here is how you fix it”, Scott and other new employees actually did the fixing. Scott compares his “training” at WordPress to his training at Microsoft. At Microsoft, he monitored customer service calls or read follow-up reports to learn. Scott writes:
These efforts were useful, but they were impersonal. Listening to someone else or reading a report doesn’t put a fist in your gut the way being the person responsible for fixing the problem does. Making everyone work in support forces everyone to take customers seriously, which we should since they pay our salaries. Despite my distaste for it, the idea of making all employees participate in support, regardless of their distaste, was fantastic. p. 13
What if everyone in your organization had to do support or customer service work every now and then? How would that change how we treat our customers/patrons and each other?