Customer Experience Is The New Brand

The race to own customer experience is on! Companies are recognizing the importance of delivering an experience that makes them stand out from their competition. Some are learning the hard way. Last year United Airlines had a brand crisis, in which $1.4 billion in value was wiped out overnight when a passenger’s experience went viral on social media. And, you may not have heard about Juicero, but it fell victim to brand crisis when it was discovered the proprietary juice packets needed for its $699 juicer weren’t so proprietary, resulting in the company dropping the price of the juicer to $200, and then ultimately going out of business.

Be it customer service, product quality or just the way the customers feel about the companies they do business with, customer experience rises to the top of whether or not the customer will decide to keep doing business with a brand.

Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010. But while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree. In other words, companies have a long way to go.

It used to be that customers could communicate with companies in only three ways. They could visit the business in person, write a letter or call customer support. Then came faxing, and then email. Today there are even more ways customers connect. They use Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and more. And, when customers do connect with you, they expect to be known and served “on demand” regardless of the channel they are using.

And, there are some customers who, when they don’t get the service they feel they deserve, complain. But, not to you. To the rest of the world on the aforementioned social channels. The good news is that some of the customers who are happy will share that across the social channels, too.

Customers want the same things they’ve always wanted, and that is to be taken care of. They may be more demanding. They may want problems resolved faster. But that’s understandable because technology has given us the tools to provide that kind of speed.

They go through the channel that’s easiest and most convenient for them. It could be a phone, a desktop computer, a tablet – whatever communication method they are most comfortable with.

To the customer, it’s all one big team: Customers don’t care which department they talk to when they need help. They just want to get their questions answered and their problems resolved. A company may have different teams, but the customer doesn’t care.

The company may define its brand promise, but it is the customer who decides whether or not the company delivered on its promise. There’s a lot riding on delivering a positive customer experience.

Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, keynote speaker and NYT bestselling author. Learn about his latest book The Convenience Revolution at

Permanent Impressions

Very seldom do you come across someone in sales who will consciously work on their brand, for the short-term remembrance or long-term benefit.

Tapping into that natural drive—to be remembered—is key for a successful sales or customer service career.

No two people are exactly the same, and no two people ever will be. Knowing that you are a one-of-a-kind is very empowering. Perhaps it motivates you to become well known and recognized for all the things that make you who you are.

Do you want to be known as more than just another passerby, or just another person a customer smiles and interacts with? Are you just another person they follow on social media?

Are you a permanent marker in your customer’s world or are you erasable?

I love the word “Indelible.” It’s the definition of a successful Customer Service Representative. It should be the goal of every salesperson.

So how do you make your permanent mark in a customer’s ledger? How do you keep them coming back for more?

The other day, I picked up a permanent marker and examined it from all angles. This is what I’ve come away with.

How to create permanent impressions:

  1. Work on all surfaces:

A permanent marker is capable of writing on most materials like paper, metal or stone…

  • Be just as flexible, open enough to work with all customers. Adapt to their personalities. If they’re in a rush, help them to get out of the door. If they seem upset, use empathy to connect and solve their issues. Listen to their needs.
  • Go the extra mile. Share product videos, or use social media to brand yourself as a product ambassador. Make your brand unforgettable. Join networking groups or look to meet others with similar interests. Use those opportunities to promote your brand as a sales or customer service specialist.
  • Grade your performance and look for ways to improve. Work through obstacles and continually be proactive in your pursuit. Aim for shorter response times.
  1. Saturate layers:

Permanent markers have a bleed through, seeping through to additional pages.

Apply that concept to your customer base—make a non-erasable impression.

  • Get to know your customer. Not just on the surface level, build deeper relationships. I haven’t phoned or seen my chiropractor for over a year now. I called them the other day and the assistant—Carly—at the front desk recognized my voice, the minute I greeted her. She remembered my name and even asked if I’d finished writing my first novel yet? That’s impressive.
  • Remember names.
  • What are your customer’s interests?
  • What do they value? What matters to your customer?
  • What products are they interested in and why?
  • If you do a great job, your customer will spread the word, creating new business. That’s a bleed through into other pages of their lives.
  1. Make an Impression:

A permanent marker is bold and stands out on the page. The saturated color makes a statement. Back in the sixties and seventies, many celebrities and rock stars used permanent markers to sign autographs, for this very reason.

Be deliberate in your interactions and be aware of your delivery.

  • Use positive language – utilize buzzwords from your industry to get your customer excited about product.
  • Have good product knowledge. Many customers have already done their online research. Be an informative partner that assists them throughout the process.
  • Be aware of any bad habits or repetitive phrases you might use. Ask your colleagues for constructive feedback on your greeting, delivery or appearance. Be open to criticism.

Instead of focusing on closing, focus on helping new customers. Become that permanent fixture in their lives. It’s time to make an impression. Developing your own stamp will build collaborative relationships with your customer.

What’s your permanent mark?


September 6th, 2018 – by Bridget Perrin


The 8 Worst Ways to Handle Angry Customers


Interacting with customers, you know that not every interaction is going to go smoothly. It comes with the territory – having thick skin is essential. Sometimes it’s easy to maintain your composure while dealing with a customer complaint, other times it’s more difficult. Whether the customer is entitled to their anger is not worth debating, the only thing you can do is try not to escalate the situation any further. We’ve all been there, we put our ego before the situation, and things get out of control. A lot of people talk about HOW to handle customer rage correctly, but are we doing things to enable this behavior?
Be aware of these eight horrible habits that can sometimes manifest without realizing it; we are humans after all:

1. Getting Defensive
One of the worst ways to calm a frustrated customer down is by trying to explain why something went wrong. They don’t want to know WHY it went wrong; they just want it fixed. Your priority should be to address that an issue has occurred and let them know you will fix it. Don’t waste time on explanations and digging yourself a deeper hole.
2. Taking it Too Personally
It’s hard not to react when someone is shouting at you, but you need to be aware that the customer is not mad at YOU, they are mad at the overall experience. By understanding that something, most likely out of your control, has caused this person to become enraged the better off you’ll be. Instead, put yourself in their position and tell them how you would be equally upset if this happened to you.
3. Raising Your Voice
An absolute no-no. The worst thing you can do if a person is screaming at you, or giving you attitude, is replying with the same forceful tone. If you address someone who is upset in an even-tempered way, they will eventually come down to your level. They’ll soon realize how irrational they are behaving, in comparison to your disposition. Otherwise, you’ll end up escalating the situation even further.
4. Ignoring Their Concerns
Maybe they’re worried about the wrong thing, and maybe you know that, so you step over their nattering to reach a solution. It might sound like the quickest way to resolve the problem, but they might feel shut out from the conversation, which could stress them out even more. You need to address what they are contacting you about first, and explain the necessary line of action to ensure it’s fixed. Walk them through your thought process as you aim to resolve the problem, this way they aren’t left in the dark.
5. Showing Lack of Empathy
Empathy is the number one reason why customers report low satisfaction scores. You must always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If they are extremely irrational, and you can’t find common ground, try at the very least to remain tolerant. If empathy and accuracy still don’t make them feel better, know when to escalate a conversation to your manager. The customer wants to feel validated and important, and maybe you just aren’t the one to do this.
6. Being Slow to Respond
Besides empathy, the speed of response is the second most crucial customer service target, and depending on the channel of resolution, speed can rise above empathy. If hold times are too long, offering a call-back can reduce customer frustration well before they reach an agent. In other channels, such as social media, the response is critical to ensuring a customer does not lose their cool. If a customer sends an angry tweet, e-mail, or chat, the best thing to do is reply immediately to let them know you are available to them. It’s not about knowing all the answers right away, but showing concern as quickly as possible.
7. Acting Aloof
This is in the same vein as being slow to respond; showing lack of urgency for someone’s issue could set them off even more. It may be a simple request, but to the customer, it’s extremely important for them to have it resolved. Their time is important to them, and nothing is worse than speaking to an entitled agent talk about how worse things could have happened. Give each customer the attention they crave; it’s important to know that some need more than others.
8. Not Asking for Feedback
After resolving an issue, especially one where the customer seemed upset, and on edge, it’s extremely important to see how they are feeling after the experience. This is a great way to smooth out any hiccups that occurred over the call and show them you care about how they feel. This could be the difference between a lost customer, and a brand advocate.


Disney Happiness


“There is no magic in magic, it’s all in the details.”

Walt Disney


At Disney, every contact with a customer offers a chance to shine. Disney calls these contacts “Moments of Truth” … the opportunities to create everlasting positive impressions! And because the company demands excellence as an organizational absolute, even its fiercest competitors acknowledge that Disney is simply the best customer-centric company on the planet! 

Over a series of articles posted once a week, we’re going to be focusing on some of the details that creates Disney Magic. 

Disney Detail #1: Happiness

Disney’s main goal is to make people happy and preserve the impression that the Disney is a place where dreams come true. 

The Disney mantra:

We create happiness by providing the finest in family entertainment.”

It’s common knowledge that emotions are often more powerful than logic when it comes to buying decisions. That’s why it’s always important to tap into what makes your customers or clients feel good about buying from you and focus on that in your delivery and fulfillment systems.

Below are the service guidelines that Disney used in the 1960’s. Even though these Guidelines don’t exist in this form anymore, the spirit of the Guidelines are very much in practice by Disney employees to this day.

Disney’s Seven Service Guidelines:

Disney Detail #1

12 Ways to Make People Smile Everyday

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight” – Phyllis Diller

Because adding some cheer to someone else’s day will lift your spirits, too

You don’t have to be a comedian to get someone to crack a smile. And since smiles are contagious, putting one on someone else’s face will almost always brighten your day, too. So try one (or more) of these 12 easy ways to get someone to grin today.

  1. Hold the door for someone instead of rushing to get to your workspace faster.
  2. Say “hi” to a customer as you pass them by.
  3. Treat the person behind you at the coffee shop to whatever they were planning to order.
  4. Have good manners. Although this may seem obvious, it’s often overlooked. Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome  Get into the habit of being polite. A meaningful “you’re welcome” goes a long way towards cultivating positive feelings, and your customers will remember that you treated them well.
  5. Offer up your seat in a crowded place.
  6. Compliment a co-worker or friend on how well they pulled off a project they’ve been working hard on (as opposed to just complimenting them on their looks).
  7. Bring smiles into your phone conversations. You may not realize how much the tone of your voice changes when you smile, but it’s actually very noticeable – people can hear smiles even if they can’t see them.
  8. Treat your teammates well. Speaking of good feelings…Don’t forget to spread smiles among the people who work with you. If you do, they’ll treat your customers the way you treat them. If you’re always smiling, happy, and glad to talk with your teammates, you’ll find they’ll also carry that attitude towards people who buy from the business.
  9. Text or e-mail a friend a throwback photo of the two of you.
  10. Really laugh out loud. (It’s totally contagious!)
  11. Smile at someone. Chances are, they’ll smile back—but even if they don’t, at least you’ll be smiling!
  12. Tell a customer he or she is special. This is so easy to do, and it costs nothing to boost someone’s morale. People love to feel accepted and liked, so telling someone she is a special customer can go a long way towards making her feel awesome about herself – and that’s definitely going to make her feel good about you as well.

Want to add some extra punch to that last tip? Tell someone else that you think someone is special, while that person is standing right there listening. Think about how you’d feel if you heard someone you’ve hired or bought something from, tell another person that you’re a great person. You can’t help but smile when you hear compliments like that!

Extracts from

Christmas Customer Service Tips!

‘Tis the season to put a massive smile on your customer’s face and make sure they keep coming back for more!

Retailers love the holiday shopping season, and with good reason. It’s the time of year when many businesses take in a large portion of their overall revenue — national holiday sales last year alone surpassed $600 billion.

While an increase in sales is great for the bottom line, the holiday season also means an increase in customer interactions, which unfortunately doesn’t always result in glad tidings or great joy. A recent survey found that more than two-thirds (69 percent) of consumers said customer service was worse during the holiday season than the rest of the year.

Christmas time is no time to let your customer service slide. During the busy holiday season, your customers need you more than ever, and you can turn this to your advantage.

Use these simple customer service tips to boost your business this Christmas and keep your customers coming back long into the New Year.

Give more than just goodwill

Tis the season for giving, and your while your customers may not expect any gifts from you, it doesn’t take much to inspire their loyalty. Get personal and send each customer a holiday greeting in the form of a card. You can give gift cards, exclusive coupons, or other ‘gifts,’ and your customers will have a great reason to continue doing business with you throughout the holiday season.

Be clear about your dates

Good customer service means being available when your customers need you, but that can be tricky during the holidays. If your business will be closed on a day during the holiday season, be sure you make it clear when your customers can expect to reach you again.

Shorten hold times

Hold times are often triggered by issues such as inflexible phone systems that can’t scale to handle fluctuating call volumes, improper staffing or utilization of staff, or poorly structured call menus. By decreasing hold times, customers will feel better serviced and may even spread the news about how impressed they were with the experience.

Embrace the season

Who knew? Underneath that Grinch-like exterior is a real person who actually likes holiday music. About half (48 percent) of consumers said they prefer holiday music when placed on hold. Just make sure they don’t have to hear it for more than a few minutes — one-third (32 percent) indicated they would hang up when on hold for more than five minutes.

Be of good cheer 

It turns out your customers are in the holiday spirit after all. In fact, one-third (35 percent) of survey respondents voted “Happy Holidays” as the number-one phrase that warms their heart.

Make sure your staff has smiles on their faces (and in their voices) by equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. These improved interactions will, in turn, give your customers a new attitude about holiday customer service, resulting in good tidings for you and your company.

Send customers a specially designed Christmas card

Personalized Christmas cards are an ideal way to say thanks to your customers for their business. It makes customers feel appreciated and not just ‘another sale’, especially if it was a highly involved purchase where you built a personal relationship.

Help Customers Learn Something New

How cool would it be to hold an event where you bring in experts to talk about vehicles/ technology and have some free snacks and hot chocolate? The more educated your customers become, the more they will appreciate the car business, thus the more valuable they are to your business.

Wow One Customer

Spring for it, throw rational thought out the window and WOW one customer. Stories of amazing customer service overtures fill the air—it’s time to let your company be the story of the day.

Give a customer service experience so delightfully over-the-top that one lucky customer will have a great story to tell. If you’re creative enough, that customer’s family, friends, and social media acquaintances will be retelling the story for days and weeks to come.

Give a Great Read

Take a gander at the books that have been most influential to your company. Give one as a gift to customers. This gesture offers customers insight into your company culture and opens the lines of communication for future discussion about the book.

Make sure to write a personalized note that goes with or inside the book so your customer knows this is a thank you meant just for them.

Spotlight Customers

Call out customers via Twitter/ Facebook to let them know how much they mean to you. The 140-character challenge: make it personal, be sincere and leave them smiling.

Another way to profess your love: feature customers on your website. This makes customers feel valued and gives them a sense of pride in doing business with you.

Send a Treat

Cookies are a winning idea—liked by all and easy to share. But consider your audience: if your customer is a fitness guru, brighten their healthy day with a fruit bouquet instead.

If you choose cookies, some places to order from include Christie Cookies (they do custom tins).

  • Various Sources

A Quote From The Sysco Wall…

“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. 

He is not dependent on us.  We are dependent on him. 

He is not an interruption in our work.  He is the purpose of it.

He is not an outsider in our business.  He is a part of it.

We are not doing him a favor by serving him.

He is doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.”

The Goldfish vs. The Brocolli

How do we assist our customers needs? Our capacity to see the world from another person’s perspective develops early in life. When we look at how little children gain the perspective-taking skill, we can see the two tendencies observable in adults: 

  1. Being closed
  2. Being open to the other’s perspective.

In one experiment, psychologists from Berkeley University studied fourteen-month-old and eighteen-month-old toddlers. The toddlers were sitting in front of two bowls: One with goldfish crackers and one with broccoli.

The toddlers tasted the food from both bowls. They all liked goldfish more than broccoli. Later, the toddlers watched a researcher express disgust while tasting the crackers and delight while tasting the broccoli. Then, the researcher held out her hand and asked for some food. The toddlers could offer either the crackers or the broccoli to the researcher. What did they do?

Most of the fourteen-month-olds shared what they liked themselves – the goldfish crackers. The toddlers didn’t understand that the other person had her own want, which is different from their own. However, most of the eighteen-month-olds, handed broccoli to the researcher. These kids understood that they like goldfish crackers themselves but the researcher likes something else.

The behavior of the fourteen-month-olds can rear its tiny head when you focus too much on your own viewpoint and ignore how others react to your ideas, products and services. You remain blind to other perspectives, which leads to giving goldfish crackers to those who are longing for broccoli. You simply don’t see and don’t know what other people want from you.

In contrast, the behavior of the eighteen-month-olds is when you open up to the perspectives of other people; you observe how they react to your work or whatever you do for them. You keep your perspective as your own and see the other view as the other view.

So ask yourselves next time a customer expresses frustration through body language or tone: Are you giving them the broccoli? Are you giving them what they want?

Customer Service Skills List

There are a few universal skills that you can master that will dramatically improve your conversations with customers. Are there some areas you may be weaker in? Don’t be afraid – Embrace these skills like a Rock Star! Practice makes Perfect!

  1. Patience

Patience is important to customers, who often reach out to support when they are confused and frustrated: Great service beats fast service every single time. 

If you deal with customers on a daily basis, be sure to stay patient when they come to you stumped and frustrated, but also be sure to take the time to truly figure out what they want — they’d rather get competent service than be rushed out the door!

  1. Attentiveness

The ability to really listen to customers is so crucial. Not only is it important to pay attention to individual customer interactions (watching the language/terms that they use to describe their problems), but it’s also important to be mindful and attentive to the feedback that you receive at large. Take time to truly listen to customer’s concerns. 

  1. Knowledge of the Product

The best forward-facing need to have a deep knowledge of how the product works. Without knowing your product from front-to-back, you won’t know how to help customers when they run into problems. Keep abreast of the latest automotive news and product developments.

  1. Acting Skills

Sometimes you’re going to have a bad day come across customers who have had a bad day that you’ll never be able to make happy.

Situations outside of your control will sometimes creep into your usual support routine, and you’ll be greeted with challenging situations.

Having those basic acting skills necessary to maintain your usual cheery persona in spite of dealing with customers who are upset or surprise issues is essential. 

  1. Ability to “Read” Customers

You won’t always be able to see customers face-to-face, and in many instances (nowadays) you won’t even hear a customer’s voice, if you see them from across the room (i.e. In a waiting area)

This skill is essential because you don’t want to mis-read a customer and end up losing them due to confusion and miscommunication or ignoring them while they visit your dealership.

Look and listen for subtle clues and watch body language for their current mood, patience level, personality, etc., and you’ll go far in keeping your customer interactions positive.

  1. A Calming Presence

The ability that some people have to stay calm and even influence others when things get a little hectic is an important skill. To know that you cannot let a heated customer force you to lose their cool; You need to try to be the “rock” for a customer who thinks the world is falling down due to their current problem.

  1. Persuasion Skills

Oftentimes, you will get customers who are simply curious about your company’s product, rather than having problems with it. To truly take your customer service skills to the next level, you need to have some mastery of persuasion so that you can convince interested customers that your product is right for them.

It’s all about not letting potential customers slip away because you couldn’t create a compelling message that your company’s product is worth purchasing!

  1. Tenacity

Call it what you want, but a great work ethic and a willingness to do what needs to be done (and not take shortcuts) is a key skill when providing the kind of service that people talk about – It’s about refusing to just do the “status quo” when it comes to helping someone out.

Remembering that your customers are people too –  Never “cheat” your customers with lazy service.