richard branson | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Same Place, Different Experiences - 9/26/23


Meredith was getting discharged from the clinic, when the nurse came in, gave her a packet of information including the discharge instructions, explained the next steps, and asked if Meredith had any questions.  Freida, across the hall, was told that she could leave when ready.  However, Freida had to Read more

What Annoys the Customer? - 9/19/23


Domino’s Pizza had TV commercials years ago where they promoted how they trained their employees to “Avoid the Noid.”  The “Noid” was basically an annoying person or thing that would disrupt the delivery driver, possibly making the driver drop the pizza on the way to your door.  The goal Read more

Lift It Up - 9/12/23


I worked with a great client for several years who was in a leadership role in the education industry, and she was the executive champion for a culture-strengthening initiative.  We were the outside firm helping to develop the overall strategy and facilitate the teams addressing the various aspects of Read more

Addressing the Horror Story that Wasn’t - 9/5/23


You may have seen the commercials for one of those garden hoses that fits in your pocket.  When you put it on the valve outside your home and turn on the water, it expands to 50 feet.  When you’re done and turn off the water, it contracts and fits Read more

Be There ALWAYS for the Customer - 8/29/23


In healthcare, the patient experience mantras often include the phrase Always, such as: We have an always culture.  This gets at frequency of action.  Instead of service excellence being a most-of-the-time occurrence, some-of-the-time occurrence, an occasional or rare occurrence, the idea in an Always Culture is that the organization Read more

Respect, Regardless of Rank - 8/22/23


I was reading a management book written by a former naval officer.  He was given a leadership role over a ship that had been underperforming and had low morale.  One thing he did to turn around the performance, to improve morale, was instill in everyone onboard the principle that Read more

Move on to the Next One - 8/15/23


The ultimate game in professional American football is the Super Bowl.  In this past year’s Super Bowl, James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles was called for a penalty with less than two minutes to go in the game.  The penalty gave the other team a first down; the other Read more

How to Rise to the Occasion - 8/8/23


In the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Mr. Magorium – played by Dustin Hoffman – tells his protégé that “Your life is an occasion.  Rise to it.” He’s conveying a big picture life lesson – don’t let fear and apprehension keep you from living. Rising to the occasion is also something Read more

Thanks for Reading - 8/1/23


My company, Customer Service Solutions, Inc., just celebrated our 25th Anniversary!  We love the work we do for our clients, and we definitely love our clients.  We’ve developed many friendships over the years, and we’ve tried to provide consistently high quality and personal support for whatever may be their Read more

Share the Why to Value the Customer - 7/25/23


We encourage our clients to explain “The Why behind the What” to the customer.  Usually we suggest that staff explain Why so that the customer understands the reason for a change or can buy-in to a particular solution. However, explaining the Why is also effective when you’re doing some very Read more

Make a Great Second Impression – 8/27/13 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder, has been in the press a lot this year because of the relatively high customer satisfaction his companies create with clients. In a recent interview, Branson stated “In business, creating a favorable impression at the first point of customer contact is an absolute imperative. But what isn’t widely understood is. . .the customer’s second impression of the brand can be even more important than his first. The second interaction a customer has with your business usually involves something that has gone wrong — they’re having trouble using the product or service. Handled correctly, this is a situation in which a company can create a very positive impression. Sadly, it’s where things often go terribly wrong.”

When Branson talks about “second impression,” he’s talking about how you handle things when something goes wrong. I was in a store this weekend picking up some lumber for a project, I went to the far end of the store of the “Lumber” section, and they said that the lumber I needed was in the Garden Center – the exact opposite end of the store. When I got to the Garden Center, I started loading up some of the beams I needed, but the quality was pretty poor. However, there was good quality on a rack just above the floor rack, but it was secured with ties.

So I went to a group of three employees working in the dirt/mulch area, and the first employee told me to talk to the manager nearby. I asked the manager to cut the ties so I could load some of the better looking lumber, and he said they had two pallets of the lumber that were outside in the Lumber section. I told him I came from there, and they told me to go to the Garden Center; I again asked if he could cut the ties. He said “well that’s where they’re supposed to be.” After pausing for several seconds to give him to the opportunity to say “Sure! I’d be happy to cut those ties for you! I’ll even help you load them!” Instead he said, “they’re outside the doors at Lumber.”

I again went to Lumber – on the other side of the store – only to have the employee tell me that they don’t keep any outside anymore. She showed me that none were available, and told me that “They should just cut the ties for you. If they don’t, let me know.”

After I returned to the Garden Center, the manager looked at me and – as I approached said – “How many do you need?” I replied “Thirteen more.”

He proceeded to walk toward the lumber without saying a word to me. When he got there, he said “Oh! It’s just those ties.” I guess he thought it was going to be more effort than just cutting three ties with a pocket knife.

I said “Thanks. I’ll go get my cart.” When I returned about 15 second later, he was gone.

My second impression of the experience? They’d rather the customer walk than they walk. They’d rather inconvenience the customer than to call a co-worker. They’d rather not smile. They’d rather not apologize when they got something wrong (this is a HUGE issue in many companies). They’d rather go back to moving mulch than helping a customer.

Instead of focusing purely on how to deliver a core service or answer a question about products/processes/policies, focus on how you’ll answer the question differently and deal with the customer differently when things have obviously gone wrong.

Make a great second impression.