Tag Archive: customer service


Research shows that contrary to a happy customer who will tell only two to three people about their good experience; a dissatisfied customer will tell at least eight to ten people about his or her bad experience. This disparity shows how much just one displeased customer can negatively impact your reputation. It also shows the importance of providing quality customer service to your customers. The following are ways to improve and maintain good customer service, and avoid down-grading your service and company reputation.

  1. First impression is the last impression

This adage is foremost true in customer service. If a customer does not have a good first impression, the customer will leave with a bad impression of your company. Examples where customers may find a poor first impression:

  • Customer service rep (CSR) had a poor interaction with customer
  • A customer’s questions were not answered
  • CSR did not have good knowledge of product or service
  • Customer had to wait too long
  • Website is not user-friendly
  1. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated

The golden rule equally refers to business as it does your personal life. Think how you would feel if you, as a customer, are not treated well. Likely you will be upset and frustrated. Even more likely you will end up telling a friend or colleague about your bad experience. If you think as if you are the customer, you have a better opportunity to provide customers with a great first impression.

  1. Keep your promises

Broken promises lead to lost trust and ruined relationships. This is also true with customer service. Cancelling appointments or not responding to customers’ concerns can damage your customer relationship. What many people don’t realize is that poor communication is rampant in customer service. If you are one of the few who can deliver timely communication you will stand out against your competitors.

  1. Be all ears

Customers are likely to get satisfied if a CSR listens to his needs or problems and then come up with a solution. Same goes with angry customers. Make sure your CSRs listen attentively to whatever the customer has to say before making suggestions or selling a product or service.

  1. Don’t stop at ‘I don’t know’

It is likely most people in your company don’t know everything. This is okay. It is also okay to say, “I don’t know.” However, don’t stop there. If you don’t know the answer, the real key to good customer services is going out of the way to find out the answer. Providing a timeline to the customer for when you will follow-up will show the customer that you didn’t blow them off and builds a level of trust.

  1. Empower your frontline staff

Customers get angry when they hear a CSR say he can’t do anything regarding their problems. Mostly, this happens because a CSR does not have the power to make decisions and has to ask senior management. Make sure you empower your frontline staff enough to resolve customers’ complaints. At the same time, you must establish boundaries and escalation procedures for more complicated matters.

6.5 Organize frequent training sessions

Many companies provide an abundance of front-end training, yet do not train consistently as the employee develops in the company. Providing regular training and customer feedback to your CSRs will help your team grow and develop in a positive way.


Fire in Sells

Businesses today are more than just sales and profits. They are about building strong relationships with your customers and putting in every effort to retain them. In today’s world, customer service has to be pitch-perfect if the goal is to establish strong relationships with customers. Developing a strong customers service team, you need to be efficient and better than your competition. If customer feedback is an up and down road for your company, this may be an indicator that your customer service needs a tweak or major overhaul.

    1. Customer calls

Just because a customer calls with a concern doesn’t mean you are providing bad customer service. In fact, customers who call are doing so because they trust your customer service can help. However, if your customer service is poor when a customer calls, or your company does not respond to fix the problem you may find yourself in catch-up mode to provide a good customer experience.

    1. Discounts and promotional offers aren’t bringing in more sales

If your promotional sales and discounts go unnoticed or unused, it’s a red flag that there may be something wrong with your product. Such disengagement from your customers toward your product or service must be resolved if you wish to retain your existing clientele.

    1. You have a difficult time retaining customers

Losing a loyal customer is more than just losing sales. It’s about losing someone who initially trusted and chose you to facilitate them. A loyal customer is one who was confident in providing quality feedback. If you fail to retain loyal customers, you are losing more than you think.

    1. Your employees aren’t trained for the job

If your first-contact staff isn’t well trained or empowered to handle basic concerns, your customer service may have problematic holes. Customers don’t enjoy explaining their concern to multiple customer service employees. Unless you wish to hand your customers to your competitors, take the time to train your employees.

    1. You hardly get any referrals

A wise man once said, “Satisfied customers buy from you, but delighted customers sell for you.” If your existing customers aren’t satisfied with your services, they will not only stop buying from you but also stop others from doing so. Customer referral is a sole indicator which clearly depicts where a business stands regarding customer satisfaction.

    1. Your ignorance isn’t bliss

Another sign that your customer service is in need of help is when you are ignoring what the customers want and instead pressuring them to try more services and products. Not only does this agitate your customer, but it also mentally prepares him never to reach out to you again. If someone is in need, give them what they want even if it is a refund or cancellation.

6.5 There aren’t enough complaints against you

At first glance, it may seem like a good sign that your phone isn’t always buzzing with complaints – suggesting your product or services satisfy your customers. But that is not always the case. While many customers do complain, many more don’t, resulting in customers walking away without you realizing there is a problem. Validating customer experiences through follow-up calls and feedback requests are a great way to stay on top of underlying issues customers aren’t reporting.


customer value

‘Customer is always right’ is probably one of the most common clichés in the history of consumer services. Apple’s customer services are always regarded as extraordinary and exemplary. However, the brand has to go several extra miles to achieve this success.

Following are some easy and quick ways to give value to your customers and show them that they are always right.

  1. Establish Customer Support System

Many brands design their personal apps for convenient communication with the customers. The apps anticipate the customer queries and automate the brand responsiveness.

  1. Share Information with Your Customers

Most of the brands share positive updates and brand progress with their customers. Asking for ideas and opinions of the customers not only helps generate great customer feedback but it also makes the customers feel valued. Social media, emails, and short service messages are good sources for sending out the information to your customers.

  1. Include the Customer-Favorite Phrases in Your CSR Policy

While training your social media and customer service representatives, make sure to educate them about the customer-favorite phrases. Some of the phrases include these.

  • I can surely solve this problem.
  • How can I help you?
  • Don’t worry! I will take care of this problem.
  • I am taking the responsibility of this problem.
  • It will be definitely according to your requirement/demand.
  • I really appreciate your responsibility.

When customers issue their problems, they expect you to solve them at any cost. Phrases like but, however, I guess, and such create a negative impact. If you feel that you may not be able to solve the issue then don’t say ‘I can’t’. You can address such problems in a different way.

For example, ‘I am sure I will solve this very soon. For best services, I request you to give me a little time to sort this out.’

  1. Let Customers Know When You Do More

You might already be marketing your services and appreciating your employees. However, it is highly important to let your customers know when you are going an extra mile for them. The key is to make your customers realize that you are the ‘one’ who will do extra to provide excellent services in a competitive market.

  1. Surprise Your Customers

An old an inactive customer would love to receive a hand-written note from your brand. Similarly, giving gifts with celebrity signatures is also an expression of gratitude. The customers love to see your brand personalized for them and feel valued.

Along with these tips, never say ‘no’ to a customer. Keep the options open to make the customer realize that they are always right.


attract customers

Nowadays, businesses are more inclined towards giving their branding strategies a personalized touch, as personal branding has proved to be an excellent way to attract customers and boost sales. Personal branding comes with a few keystrokes purposed to switch a job or profession, seeking promotion or new clients, or attracting new customers. Personalizing your brand helps retain your existing customers, along with attracting new ones. Here are some tips in this regard.

Use Social Media to Build an Image Like a Pro

Your online brand presence greatly depends on your social media communication strategies, as they must focus on establishing a positive public image. For example, posting videos like public speaking helps establish a leader’s image. Similarly, sharing your personal life on social networks like Facebook and Twitter helps build the public’s trust in you.

Communicate Directly

Giving value to your customers and clients strengthens the foundations of your personal brand. Direct communication includes relating your personal brand with your customers, their cultures, and stereotypes.

  • In order to relate with the customers, post your social media comments and views by individualizing the customers. For example, “The respectful citizens of…”.
  • There are a number of ways to relate with the cultures. Angelina Jolie wears the traditional clothes of the countries she visits. Justin Trudeau celebrates the special occasions and traditions with people belonging to different cultures and posts the pictures on social media. Customize your messages according to the occasions, traditions, cultures, accomplishments, and people.
  • In order to relate with the victims of stereotyping, you can raise your voice against such social stereotypes.

Share Authentically

While Roger Ebert was fighting his crippling cancer, he was also consumed with fear over losing his battle. He won more public trust and love when he started sharing his fear with the public because of his authenticity and honesty. The act of sharing aspects of your personal life including happiness, accomplishments, fears, vulnerabilities, and such creates a bond between you and the customers.

Hire a Social Media Publicist and Visual Artist

A social media publicist is a professional who helps you co-create your personal brand. The specialty of a social media publicist lies in the fact that they help craft a public image based on how you want the world to see you. The effectiveness of their services increase when you hire a visual artist – a professional who knows the tactics of adding impact and emotion to simple images.

The combined effect of both, helps you design text and visual content that is imperative for building positive digital persona, attracting customers, and associating your personal brand with the audiences.

Establish a Direct Network

You can use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to establish direct networking channels. The customers feel bonded with personal brands when they realize that their message directly approaches the brands. Make sure to always be available for advice and help. Be prepared to respond to clients individually.

Apart from these tips, try to maintain online and offline integrity and keep yourself safe from negative imagery. The content of the text and the body language displayed in the pictures should always align with the image you wish to convey. You should always be positive and open with your customers.




In the third quarter of 2015, Hewlett-Packard laid off 10% of its employees, cutting 30,000 jobs in the workforce. According to the Fortune report, most of the layoffs have been reported in customer service and consulting and call center departments. According to HP’s CEO, Meg Whitman, the company may continue firing employees as it moves forward. Whitman took charge in 2011 and since then, the company has downsized by almost 88,000 jobs.

However, if you are also planning to cut jobs like HP, then have a look on these possible side effects.

Loss of Market Credibility

Downsizing is never a desired option for companies. However, the pitfalls of downsizing are way bigger and more today than in the past. As private organizations are choosing ‘blind recruitment’ and ‘recruitment without a university degree’ techniques for hiring new employees, downsizing your customer services could badly affect not only your customers but also your talent pool. This phenomenon could lead to shortage of talent for your company.

Loss of Customers’ Loyalty

You might have spent thousands of dollars to win customers’ loyalty, but cutting thousands of jobs from customer service could result in loss of loyal customers. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the customers start believing that your company is living on the edge and may not survive in the long run. Secondly, your brand starts losing its positive market reputation.

Instability in the Services

One of the most obvious pitfalls of cutting jobs in customer services is instability in the services. Laying off employees to manage your budgetary concerns may lead to reduced services on the scale. You may easily lose your customers if you fail to provide need-based services. Ultimately, the loss of customers will lead to reduced profits. In contrast, downsizing due to shrinking customer base is ideal to maintain your budget.

Weighing the Pros of Downsizing with Cons

Most of the people believe that financial restrictions are solely responsible for downsizing. However, there are numerous reasons for downsizing a company that sometimes lead to effective, productive and better customer services. Some other reasons of downsizing include:

  • Decreased customer base
  • Mismanagement due to imbalanced managerial and employee ratio
  • Reorganizing workforce to improve efficiency
  • Converting employee based organization into a leaner, better-managed enterprise
  • Switching jobs by downsizing one department and expanding the other
  • Shuffling resources by saving on recruitment and service costs to invest the money in productivity costs

When a company downsizes for a specific goal, it is called reengineering or reorganizing, and this is exactly what HP did. The concept of strategic downsizing evolved in 1980s. However, it is essential to remember that your company may suffer miserably if your strategic downsizing plan is miscalculated, or if it fails.




……….and you will deliver world-class customer service.

Popular belief suggests that customers are the reason problems begin in any organization. That’s far from the case in reality; problems begin with the company and its employees. Customers expect a top-notch experience but receive a bad one instead. As a result, the company loses them forever.  Excellent customer service starts with employees, and if the employees aren’t happy with your company, how can you expect them to make your customers happy?

In my book  Fresh Customer Service- Treat the Employee as #1 and the Customer as #2 and you will get customers for life – I explain that the best way to make your customers happy is to ensure  your employees are happy with their job and empowered and equipped to deliver a world-class customer service experience.  The first two steps of the 6.5 steps  are Side by Side Walking and Smart Tasking.

  1. Side By Side Walking

The first fresh step towards understanding your employees is side by side walking. This essentially means stepping into your employees’ shoes, enabling you to identify the gaps in your company’s operations and helping you determine which areas need improvement. All you have to do is engage in the same activities as your employees for one day to understand where your company stands.

Steps to Effective Side by Side Walking

Following are the main steps for side by side walking:

  • Make safety a priority
  • Jobs should be described in written documents which outline the tasks and desired outcomes
  • Mentally prepare yourself and realize the significance and purpose of this strategy
  • Ensure you adopt same dress code, gear, and use the same equipment as your employees
  • Perform all pre-work tasks your employees have to perform like clocking in, preparing shift register, reading the task board, etc.
  • Do all the tasks as per the existing processes and procedures the employees follow
  • Observe all the tasks and process being followed during the shift
  • Ensure that you complete the entire shift
  • Reflect and assess the tasks you did, the problems that occurred, and compare it to the job description of your employees
  • Determine where the problems are and where improvements are needed.

2.    Smart Tasking

The second fresh step towards understanding your customers is Smart Tasking. It helps in setting up clear priorities and expectations for your employees which would assist them in offering the best customer support to your customers. Train your employees to smart task effectively and encourage them to speak up if they are assigned tasks that they deem ineffective and unnecessary. This helps in eliminating unnecessary work for the employees and makes their tasks more manageable and enjoyable for them.

Steps for Smart Tasking

Following are the main steps for smart tasking:

  • Understand the processes and operations
  • Identify the right tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones
  • Recommend specific time duration for each task
  • Never sacrifice safety of your employees
  • Ensure you provide easy step-by-step instructions for all tasks
  • Determine if the tasks adds to the customers’ experience and to what degree
  • Make adjustments where necessary
  • Review all tasks to ensure they are necessary for the overall process
  • Offer appropriate training of smart tasking for your employees

Understanding the problems your employees face and the environment they work in will help you in making their work experience better. Training them to prioritize and eliminating complex and unnecessary tasks will enhance their work satisfaction and make tasks easy for them. As a result, they will be able to offer a world-class customer service experience  to your customers.


I have long been a proponent of “Fresh Customer Service,” or putting your employees first and customers second to ensure a customer experience that maximizes satisfaction and repeat visits, ensuring higher sales. And I still stand behind it. But the way customers engage with your brand is changing due to technology, and you need to use the same technology to change how you engage with them.

I’d like to briefly review a few ways you can use cutting-edge technology to ensure that your brand is engaging customers in the way they want to be engaged, with personal and professional success as a result.

Mobile Devices

Consumers of all ages are now “constantly connected,” using smartphones, tablet computers and even smart watches to maintain Internet access everywhere they go. Especially among younger consumers, there is a sense that the “virtual” and “physical” worlds are blended, with the mobile device serving as a continual bridge between the digital realm and everyday life.

You must respond by offering your customers the same experience through their mobile devices as you do in your physical place of business or PC-based website. Responsive design is a Web development strategy that lets you develop your customer website with a single code base and have it automatically optimize itself for whatever device accesses it. No more clunky or incomplete mobile websites!

In addition, customer-facing employees should be armed with mobile devices and well-trained in how to use them to immediately respond to customer requests for information, alternate sources of goods and services, etc. Modern customers will not wait for an employee to run and check on something, they want the answer immediately!




Despite low levels of inflation and unemployment, most Americans still consider themselves living in an economic recession, and with good reason. High-paying, secure jobs with benefits have been replaced by low-paying, uncertain jobs with little or no benefits, leaving people with little money to spread around even as prices remain stable. In this financial climate, the average consumer is buying what they need to get by and little else. Clearly, it’s not the best environment for attracting paying customers to your business.

But despite these obstacles, you can still attract and retain paying customers in the current consumer landscape. How? By using 6.5 steps drawn from my Fresh Customer Service methodology that I developed over years of working in customer-oriented settings, starting as a child handyman. Fresh Customer Service brought me from childhood poverty to exponential success as an executive with several major companies and now as a motivational speaker and career coach. Let’s examine how you can start using Fresh Customer Service today to draw in customers.

Step 1. Make Your Customer Number Two. Since most customer service strategies are partially or wholly based on making the customer number one, then obviously customer service levels must be at an all-time high, right? Everywhere you go, people are raving about how great their daily customer service experiences are, and customer satisfaction polls back this affirmation up with hard data.

I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing before I continue. Hopefully you didn’t snort any of your morning coffee out your nose. We all realize that in far too many cases, the one word that best sums up the state of customer service today is “disaster.” Yet especially in an era where prices have already been slashed, customer service is more important than ever as a competitive differentiator.

The key to running a successful operation is believing and practicing the concept that customers should always come second—employees matter more in the immediate sense and should therefore come first. After all, happy employees unleash their enthusiasm and passion from within, and that passion is contagious. It infects everyone around them, including customers.

And happy employees naturally provide superior customer service. They smile. So thank your employees every day, let them be involved in the planning of the work affecting them, and treat them with the utmost respect and courtesy. Even in times when consumers are looking to do things quickly and cheaply, they will notice… and come back for more!



How to Avoid Brand Scares Part  2

How Slammed Is Your Door?

Following is a test to help determine whether your door (so to speak) is wide open to securing your brand, partially open, or slammed shut. Again, remember that all brands are experienced by some form of “customer,” even if that customer is a boss or co-worker! Rate how strongly you agree that each of the following fresh statements applies to you today from 1-5, with 1 equaling strongly disagree and 5 equaling strongly agree:


5Wait, that’s really, really true about me- Strongly agree

4That would be me- Agree

350/50 sometimes, sometimes not- somewhat agree

2That absolutely has nothing to do with me-Disagree

1Let me take the fifth on this- Strongly disagree

1.   I make customer satisfaction my number one priority, even if the customer makes what seem to be unreasonable demands.

2.   I actively monitor social media networks for commentary about my brand, or use a third-party service to do so.

3.  I have a qualified attorney on retainer to quickly resolve any brand-related legal disputes before they attract attention.

4.  I maintain Facebook and Twitter pages to spread positive word about my brand, including customer testimonials.

5.  Even when customers seem satisfied, I always go the extra mile to satisfy their requests.

6.  I engage in active dialogue with my customers and demonstrate through actions as well as words that I always listen to criticisms and complaints and take them seriously.

6.5. No matter how insulting or unreasonable a customer may become, I always maintain a calm, professional demeanor and never stoop to their level.


Now that you’ve taken the test, let’s analyze how well you are securing your brand image:

If you scored from 7 to 13, your door is slammed shut. You are ripe for negative publicity from dissatisfied customers, and are exposing yourself to lawsuits that could cause significant monetary as well as image damage.

If you scored from 14 to 20, your door is open a crack. You make basic efforts to ensure customer satisfaction, but aren’t doing the necessary follow-up.

If you scored from 21 to 26, your door is open halfway. You take a “the customer is always right” approach and follow up with customers to ensure they remain satisfied, but are not vigilant about looking for other signs of trouble, such as negative social media comments.

If you scored from 27 to 33, your door is open three-quarters. You provide excellent customer service during and after transactions and perform vigilant follow-up, but still are not going “the extra mile.”

If you scored a 34 or 35, your door is wide open. You make sure customers (and even former customers) are happy with your products and/or services and actively monitor social media and other public forums for any signs of trouble. When problems do arise, you immediately take the necessary steps to resolve them before they attract attention. No matter what the situation, you always maintain a professional demeanor and image.

GAP – The Great Action Plan

I will conclude today’s look at securing your brand against things that go bump in the night with a Great Action Plan aimed at helping you secure your personal brand image. To truly secure your brand image, you must determine exactly what steps you must take to satisfy existing customers both during and after transactions and maintain awareness of what is being said about you in public.

Now using the information above, what will you do to close the GAP?  What’s your Great Action Plan for nailing a brand that will yield personal, economic and professional success?

What will you do today? _______________________________________

What will you do this week? _______________________________________

What will you do this month?______________________________________

For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.


For some reason I think I have “tell me about your company” written on my forehead.  Soon after I meet people and tell them what I do for a living, they feel compelled to pour their souls out to me about their jobs or businesses. I’m not sure if it’s a method of crying out for help or if my demeanor is too serious for talk about the weather or what one ate for lunch. Be that as it may, I am glad people feel comfortable telling me their stories—it makes for great book-writing material.

Some time ago, I was working out in the gym alongside a guy who appeared to be in the same predicament as I. Namely, deciding whether to just stare at the weights and hope that they lifted themselves out of the cradle, pick up the weights and start working out, or go to the store and have a low-fat doughnut.

This guy, who was named Kelvin, seemed to be in his mid-twenties. After finally picking up the weights and completing a few sets, Kelvin started to ask the gym ego question, “How much can you lift?”

Not your average gym rat, my reply was: “So where do you work?”

Kelvin told me he worked at a very well-known home do-it-yourself (DIY) store that I’ll call “House Headquarters.” I didn’t hesitate to mention to Kelvin that I thought House Headquarters’ customer service had gone downhill in recent years and their chief competitor had become much better at customer service than they.

“I agree, our customer service is shabby,” Kelvin said, exhaling mightily while 75-pound dumbbells slammed to the gym’s cushioned floor. “I’ll tell you a story.

“I was recently working with a customer who became extremely upset with us. This customer purchased a brand name, side-by-side, built-in refrigerator for almost $8,000. Once it was delivered, he called back, stating that the install had a gap in between the walls and the refrigerator of about three inches, whereas the model in the store was flush together. He was right. This refrigerator has a true built-in appearance and looks very flush with the wall in the store. I told him I’d look into it.

“So I called the regional installation supervisor, and he said he would check out the situation,” Kelvin said, his arms shaking from the heavy dumbbell. (There goes my gym ego again.) “You know, we always have problems and complaints with this installer, but we still have to use them because they’re our national contractor. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this customer, but I feel really badly for him.

“I sent the installer back out on Saturday,” Kelvin continued. “But I won’t be able to get back with the customer until Monday because I have to see what the regional installation supervisor, who doesn’t work on weekends, says. The customer sent me pictures of the install, and it is really bad. I just don’t know why we keep using this installer. We’ve all gotten complaints about this particular installation company.”

The lesson here: The entire organization needs to be focused on providing a World-Class customer service experience. I would think that someone should have been in contact with this customer throughout the weekend to ensure that his problem was solved. House Headquarters likely does a large chunk of their business on the weekend, as this is when people are doing home projects. This type of weekend service is even more important for a customer who has just spent a lot of money with the company.

The quicker you solve the problem, the greater the opportunity for making the customer happy and keeping him or her coming back. If the front line is not empowered or it does not have immediate access to someone who is empowered (as in Kelvin’s case) to provide an instant solution to the problem, the problem will remain with the customer longer and fester into something greater and cause him or her to be even more dissatisfied with the experience.

Question: Is this just an isolated incident for House Headquarters, or is my view and the employee’s view true, that their customer service is substandard? Is it really impossible for Kelvin or his colleagues to provide a good customer experience with an incompetent contractor? A review by the leadership team is in order.

Kelvin seems to have been focused on delivering a good customer experience—his heart was indeed as big as the biceps that we both aspired to have after working out (yes, I am still aspiring as I sit here explaining Fresh Customer Service). However, the weekend unavailability of the regional installation supervisor made it impossible to deliver a World-Class customer service experience.

The regional installation supervisor’s availability—or a designee’s—would have provided Kelvin with the important missing link needed to deliver an instant solution to the customer’s problem (remember this is the foundation of Fresh Customer Service—solving the problem now, making it right now for the customer).

In addition, the person in charge of the independent contractors appears to have not responded to the negative feedback voiced by both customers and Frontline Employees. After all, it seems that this shoddy contractor is the root cause of current and previous problems.


For leadership coachingprofessional development training, customer service trainingcustomer service tips, college success tips, or to learn how to build a personal brand, how to improve customer service, or  how to succeed in college, contact Michael D Brown, a premier leadership speaker, customer service speaker, and college motivational speaker at http://www.myfreshbrand.com, http://www.freshcustomerservice.com, or http://www.52collegesuccesstips.com.