The Evolution Of The Customer Service Hike

The view from my customer service hike today at Kwaay Paay Summit.

The view from my customer service hike today at Kwaay Paay Summit.

About a year ago, I was reading one of my favorite customer service blogs written by Jeff Toister.  In this particular post he talked about the friendliness of the people he encounters while hiking.  While reading that post, I quickly realized that Jeff hikes many of the same San Diego trails as me.  (If you live in San Diego, Mission Trails Regional Park is a gem. Check it out!)

So one thing led to another and Jeff Toister and I began embarking on customer service hikes.  On these hikes we generally discuss anything from baseball, to vacations, to interesting hiking factoids–oh and of course we talk about everything having to do with contact centers and customer service.

Never being one for stuffy networking events, this is the kind of networking I can get used to.  While I’m in no way proposing that we turn all networking events into hikes, I do want to take a moment to reflect on just a few benefits of networking with other professionals in a similar line of work.

1. Getting an outside opinion– We are so good in our companies at getting wrapped up in our issues and operating like we are the only company that has experienced such an issue.  I’m positive that there is someone else out there who has been in your shoes.  Networking enables you to find those people and they just might be willing to help you work through the problem.

2. Gateway to other opportunities- Networking enables you to learn about opportunities for learning and growth in your industry.  Some of the many include conferences, webinars, books and other resources.

3. Getting away from the desk- Couple the fresh air with a healthy discussion about what’s going on in your company or industry and you have a recipe to breathe fresh life into your work and your company.  I return from every customer service hike inspired and equipped with a bunch of ways to do my job better.

What are your favorite ways to network with other professionals in your line of work?  If you’re into customer service and you’re ever in San Diego, give me a call and we’ll go on a customer service hike!


Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.


  • Nice post, Jeremy. I agree with all your points. And, hiking is probably a big reason why I’ve never felt the need to take up golf!

  • Great post. I do my best networking one on one. As much as I love speaking to a crowd I am not really very comfortable in the “networking” events with lots of people. I am not great with faces or names so until I’ve met someone a handful of times, I draw a blank. I’ll give someone a call, ask for a lunch or coffee date. I usually initiate conversation via social networking like LinkedIn or Twitter or via email intro.

    Thanks Jeremy. Love the visual on this one too.

  • Ahh hiking–if I wasn’t so petrified of snakes, I’d do this more often! Perhaps we could do a customer service walk at the beach sometime (where snakes do not tread)?

    There’s something to be said for networking and meetings in fresh air and beautiful scenery. Our minds are more open and relaxed. We’re able to have real, lasting discussions and brainstorming sessions that go further than sitting in any stuffy meeting room would ever get us.

    Thanks for this post and an important reminder, Jeremy!

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