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Creating Customer Service Stars How can you ensure employees give service with a smile?

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Michael Lacey needs computer consultants with people skills as well as technical skills. "Ninety percent of the time, when a client has an issue with a consultant, it's [related to] soft skills," says the founder and CEO of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Digineer Inc., a 53-person technology consulting firm with about $7.5 million in 2005 sales.

While it's relatively simple to determine an employee's technical skill level, Lacey, 37, finds evaluating the soft stuff more slippery.

As part of employee performance appraisals, Lacey sends surveys to customers and colleagues, asking questions about consultants' friendliness and technical expertise. But performance evaluations still aren't cut and dried. "You can collect all the data, but you have to sift through it with a keen eye for the whole situation," Lacey says.

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