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The Customer Service Skills Inventory (CSSI) was designed to assess customer service skills across a variety of customer-contact jobs. The procedure used to derive job-related items was based on job analyses of 25 customer service jobs.

Customer orientation and service have emerged as the cornerstones of organisations that endorse quality management. Advancing technologies, short product life cycles and increasing globalisation results in constantly changing markets. In light of this, delivering superior customer service represents a competitive advantage.

To ensure quality service, many organizations have attempted to engender a service-oriented culture by fostering the employees’ commitment to service norms. This presents a training model at the core of which is the assumption that service orientation is a “state of mind” that may be acquired by anyone. This line of reasoning neglects the role of individual differences in personality and skills which may make some individuals particularly suitable to customer contact jobs.

The CSSI recognises that if service orientation is associated with enduring characteristics affecting individual behaviour across situations, measurement of such attributes would help to identify those individuals who are most likely to deliver quality service. It also recognises that training to enhance customer service is likely to be most effective for those who have a strong service orientation when hired.

A brief description of the individual attributes measured by the CSSI now follows. Each attribute represents a subscale of the Inventory.

Subscale Definition 
Pressure Tolerance Does not lose control in the face of adversity and pressure 
Realistic Orientation Makes realistic appraisals of what is doable and what is not 
Time Appraisal Accomplishes things within time constraints and deadlines 
Independent Judgement Is not afraid of making decisions 
Responsiveness Pays immediate attention to customer problems and concerns 
Sensitivity Shows flexibility to accommodate others 
Balanced Judgement Does not make extreme or radical decisions 
Precision Orientation Is concerned with precision and details

Subscale scores are computed by adding the score points for each item included in the subscale. These are then translated to percentiles for purposes of comparison. A Percentile Score indicates the relative standing of a person in a similar group of people. For example, if the respondent receives a subscale score that translates to 82%, this means that this person had a higher score than 82% of the people who have previously taken the CSSI.


  • The CSSI is self-administered and as such both individual and group administration may be facilitated.
  • There is no time limit but the average individual will complete the assessment in 30 minutes.
  • A spreadsheet comparing the scores of all the candidates assessed is also provided


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