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What’s the Best Way to Improve Customer Service? 63 Influencers Weigh In


October 6, 2015

What’s the Best Way to Improve Customer Service? 63 Influencers Weigh In

Home > Blog > What’s the Best Way to Improve Customer Service? 63 Influencers Weigh In

What’s the best way to improve customer service?

It’s a great question, and perhaps one of the most difficult to figure out. That’s why we asked 63 industry experts for their take on the best way to improve customer service. When we took a look at all the answers, we found that the most frequently suggestion to customer service was to improve the employee experience.

Each expert provided us with thoughtful, well-reason insight, and we would like to express our profound thanks to each of them for contributing to this report. Following is a summary of the answers that they provided. If you’d like to see their full remarks, you can download the report here.

Peter Shankman

The best way for a company to improve their customer service is surprisingly simple: Every employee needs to understand that they’re all responsible for the customer experience.

Peter Shankman is a customer experience futurist and the author of Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans. Follow him on Twitter at @petershankman or visit www.petershankman.com.


Shep Hyken

02_shep_hykenThe number one way for a company to improve their customer service is to clearly define what customer service is for the company. That is where it all starts; at the top with leadership defining the customer service vision.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, business speaker & New York Times bestselling author. Follow him on Twitter at @Hyken or visit www.Hyken.com.


Kate Nasser

The #1 way to improve customer service is to trust customers and build their trust in you. If you treat them all as potential bad apples, they will give their loyalty to businesses who appreciate them.

Kate Nasser is The People Skills Coach™ and is the CEO of CAS, Inc. Workshops & Consulting. Follow her on Twitter at @KateNasser or visit www.katenasser.com.


Bill Quiseng


The #1 way to improve your customer service is to first CARE for your employees: Communicate. Appreciate. Recognize. Empower. Truly CARE for your employees and they will do the same for your customers.

Bill Quiseng is an award-winning blogger and writer. Follow him on Twitter at @billquiseng or visit www.billquiseng.com.


Blake Morgan

The first step to improving customer service is a walk through the customer’s journey. Walk yourself through the same steps the customer would take to get help from your company. Run through the many scenarios.

Blake Morgan is the founder of Flight Digital. Follow her on Twitter at @BlakeMichelleM or visit www.flight-digital.com.


Matt McConnell

First of all, you have to recognize the fact that customers hate to wait. And they really only want two things: a speedy response, and accuracy in the answer.

Matt McConnell is the CEO of Intradiem. Follow him on Twitter at @Intradiem or visit www.intradiem.com.



Gregory Yankelovich

07_gregory_yankelovichCustomer service is in most cases the safety net for mediocre responses and services, so my advice is to improve your product/service. When you market, design and execute right, your customers will very rarely need to contact customer service.

Gregory Yankelovich is a Customer Experience Management Strategist at Customer Experience IQ. Follow him on Twitter at @piplzchoice or visit www.cx-iq.com.


Micah Solomon

08_micah_solomonNo matter how large or small your company, have every department at the start of its shift spend ten minutes–no more than ten minutes–discussing one of your service values.

Micah Solomon is a customer service consultant, author & keynote speaker. Email him at micah@micahsolomon.com or visit www.micahsolomon.com.


Jeff Toister

09_jeff_toisterThe #1 way for any company to improve customer service is to define what great service looks like. Without this definition, you’ll wander around aimlessly.

Jeff Toister is the CEO of Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @toister or visit www.insidecustomerservice.com.



Steve Curtin

10_steve_curtinAsk employees, individually, this question: “Would you describe for me, from your perspective, what you do ­and what your job entails?” By having this conversation with their employees, supervisors can create the awareness needed for employees to be intentional about providing exceptional customer service.

Steve Curtin is the author of Delight Your Customers. Follow him on Twitter at @enthused or visit www.stevecurtin.com.


Justin Robbins

11_justin_robbinsRather than planning and forecasting to delight customers and make their experience easier, companies take efficiency to preposterous levels. If we genuinely focus on improving customer service (over costs) it will happen.

Justin Robbins is the Community Manager at the International Customer Management Institute. Follow him on Twitter at @justinmrobbins or visit www.icmi.com.


Annette Franz


It’s a fact that employee experience drives the customer experience. If your employees aren’t happy and engaged, it will be very difficult for them to delight your customers and to deliver the experience that you expect them to.

Annette Franz, CCXP is a CX expert and mentor at CX Journey. Follow her on Twitter at @annettefranz or visit www.cx-journey.com.

Greg Meyer


The #1 way for any company to improve their customer service is: “Respond to customers with a human voice and not a bot – you decide if you want to call, type, chat, or send a care package – and you’ll get a more loyal customer.

Greg Meyer is the Customer Champion at Rival IQ. Follow him on Twitter at @grmeyer or visit www.rivaliq.com.



Jeremy Watkin


Companies wanting to improve customer service must focus on making meaningful, human connections with their customers and must constantly work to equip those serving the customers with the tools and training necessary to solve problems.

Jeremy Watkin is the Head of Quality at FCR. Follow him on Twitter at @jtwatkin or visit www.GoFCR.com.


Michel Falcon


The entire company, from the C-suite all the way down to the newest frontline employee, must understand how world-class customer service looks, acts and feels like.

Michel Falcon is a customer experience consultant and keynote speaker. Foll0w him on Twitter at @michelfalcon or visit www.michelfalcon.com.


Chip Bell


Make it a practice of regularly talking to the front line about what they believe matters most to customers. The more you listen and act on their insights, the more they will learn making them increasingly more astute.

Chip Bell is a keynote speaker and best-selling author of Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service. Follow him on Twitter at @chiprbell or visit www.chipbell.com.


John DiJulius


The quality of your customer service, and the level of your organization’s customer service, comes down to one thing and one thing only: the Service Aptitude of every employee you have. Service Aptitude is a person’s ability to recognize opportunities to exceed customers’ expectations, regardless of the circumstances.

John DiJulius is the Chief Revolution Officer at The DiJulius Group. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnDiJulius or visit www.thedijuliusgroup.com.

Doug Sandler

18_doug_sandlerCustomer service is about people and relationships. We are all in the PR business, people and relationships, every single person in your organization should have one common goal: Make the customer happy.

Doug Sandler is a best-selling author, speaker, and Huffington Post blogger. Follow him on Twitter at @djdoug or visit www.dougsandler.com.


Luke Porter

19_luke_porterWe must be ready to offer an excellent level of customer service across all channels, at any time. Companies must now look to proactively monitor, analyse and engage across all digital channels!

Luke Porter is the Co-Founder of DigiDesk. Follow him on Twitter at @Digi_Desk or visit https://mws-digidesk.com.


Rosetta Lue

20_rosetta_lueThe number one way for any organization to improve their customer service is to make it a cultural priority. Having a mission and vision that align with your customers’ needs, and keeping those priorities at the forefront of your processes, reinforce purpose.

Rosetta Lue is the Director of the Philly311 Contact Center. Follow her on Twitter at @rosettalue or visit www.rosettalue.com.


Lisa Ford

21_lisa_fordDo it right consistently. Reliable and responsive customer service creates value and deepens the customer relationship. Great customer service means competent employees delivering the basics consistently.

Lisa Ford is an author and Hall of Fame speaker. Follow her on Twitter at @Lisa_A_Ford or visit www.lisaford.com.


Neil Davey

22_neil_daveyIn order to improve your service you require the best possible understanding of your customers’ wants and needs – and how well you are presently meeting these requirements.

Neil Davey is the editor of MyCustomer. Follow him on Twitter at @neilcdavey or visit www.MyCustomer.com.



Al Hopper

23_al_hopperAny company can improve their Customer service by changing the way they view spending on contact center employees. Invest more in your employees who service Customers and your Customers will reward the cost with more loyalty and repeat business.

Al Hopper is the Co-Founder and Director of Operations at SocialPath Solutions. Follow him on Twitter at @AlHopper_ or visit www.socialpathsolutions.com.


Erica Strother Marois

24_erica_strother_maroisYou can’t deliver great customer service without empowered employees. If you expect your employees to treat your customers with respect, then you must start by treating your employees with respect.

Erica Strother Marois is the Community Specialist at the International Customer Management Institute. Follow her on Twitter at @ens0204 or visit www.icmi.com.


Michael Pace

25_michael_paceThe #1 way to improve your customer service comes down to 1 word: Priorities. Every service organization has the opportunity to prioritize the quality of experience, cost, risk, and time. When you choose quality of experience first everything else falls in line – Culture, Talent, Training, Technology choices, Process, and Customer Centric Metrics/KPIs.

Michael Pace is the Principal and Owner of The Pace of Service, LLC. Follow him on Twitter at @micpace or visit www.thepaceofservice.com.


Sandra Dunne

26_sandra_dunneConsider your customers; what do you want them to be saying about their experiences with you, your product and your team? From this work you will have your model of excellence.

Sandra Dunne is the owner of Customer Central. Follow her on Twitter at @customergenie or visit www.customercentral.ie.



Ralph Capocci

27_ralph_capocciIn mapping out your customer service experience, identify who your customers are, then focus in particular on those individuals who face the greatest challenges on their customer service journey.

Ralph Capocci is the founder & CEO of Danjus Public Affairs. Follow him on Twitter at @RalphCapocci or visit www.ralphcapocci.com.



Andrew McFarland


In our imperfect world, wide gaps exist between expectations and reality. So the #1 way for any company to improve customer service is to bridge these chasms. It stands to reason then that the #1 way to improve the customer experience is to close the gaps before they become customer service calls/complaints.

Andrew McFarland is the Principal at Pivot Point Solutions. Follow him on Twitter at @andy_mcf or visit www.pivotpointsolutions.net.


Diana Oreck

29_diana_oreckThe #1 way for any company to improve their service is to hard wire consistency into their operation and execute the basics flawlessly. That is price of entry today. If that does not happen, your customers will not give you the opportunity to delight them.

Diana Oreck is the Vice President of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. Follow her on Twitter at @dianaoreck or @RitzCarltonLC, or visit www.ritzcarltonleadershipcenter.com.



Brad Cleveland

30_brad_clevelandInteraction by interaction, your customer-facing services provide immediate visibility on the effectiveness of the organization’s products, services and processes. When captured and shared, this intelligence can boost R&D and help every part of the organization improve.

Brad Cleveland is an author, speaker, consultant and Senior Advisor at the International Customer Management Institute. Follow him on Twitter at @bradcleveland or visit www.bradcleveland.com.



Tony Johnson

31_tony_johnsonThe best way for any business to improve their Customer service quickly is to focus on the basics. A consistently great product, a warm welcome, and a heartfelt thank you will absolutely drive satisfaction and loyalty.

Tony Johnson is a customer service speaker and consultant. Follow him on Twitter at @ServiceRecipe or visit www.thetonyjohnson.com.



Adam Toporek

32_adam_toporekThe #1 way for a company to improve its customer service is to take a fresh look at its customers and the experience being provided to them.

Adam Toporek is the founder of CTS Service Solutions. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtoporek or visit www.customersthatstick.com.



Kirk Weisler

33_kirk_weislerBut an occasional presentation on customer service is like an occasional visit to LA Fitness. It’s a nice gesture but even if you spend a full day pumping iron and doing yoga stretches, if you only go once or twice a year you will not see any positive results.  For customer service to improve it must become a part of the culture, a part of our daily routine…

Kirk Weisler is a Chief Morale Officer and speaker. Follow him on Twitter at @kirkweisler or visit www.kirkweisler.com.


Colin Taylor

34_colin_taylorAny organization can improve the Customer Service by improving their customer centricity. It isn’t just about the call center or customer service department, but every department in the organization.

Colin Taylor is the CEO and Chief Chaos Officer at The Taylor Reach Group. Follow him on Twitter at @colinsataylor or visit www.thetaylorreachgroup.com.


Jess Greene-Pierson

35_jess_greene_piersonMake providing an awesome customer experience a company-wide endeavor – not just something your support team manages. Everyone from your office administrator to your CEO should understand how they individually affect the customer experience.

Jess Greene-Pierson is the Senior Customer Experience Manager at Insightly. Follow her on Twitter at @jgpierson or visit www.insightly.com.


Russel Lolacher

36_russel_lolacherBy putting themselves in the customer’s shoes, showing some humanity and compassion, they will build relationships that will last, trust that matters and loyalty that is the envy of the competition.

Russel Lolacher is a speaker, Coach, Strategist and runs The Upsell: Podcast and Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @RussLoL or visit www.theupsellpodcast.com.



Jeanne Bliss

37_jeanne_blissMake every business decision through the lens of asking yourselves, “does this improve customers’ lives?” or “does this improve employees’ lives?”

Jeanne Bliss is the President and Founder of Customer Bliss. Follow her on Twitter at @jeannebliss or visit www.customerbliss.com.



Justin Flitter

38_justin_flitterTypically solving customer issues are a pain-point for staff. To solve this, change the company culture by making every employees KPIs connected to customer satisfaction.

Justin Flitter is a digital strategist. Follow him on Twitter at @JustinFlitter or visit www.justinflitter.com. 



Roy Atkinson

39_roy_atkinsonIt’s simple, really, though not easy: Make up your mind to improve customer service. Once you really do that, you will hire the right customer service people, train them properly, measure the right things (satisfaction, repeat business), and get better at listening to customers.

Roy Atkinson is a customer service advocate and co-founder of the #custserv chat on Twitter. Follow him on Twitter at @RoyAtkinson or visit royatkinson.blogspot.com.



Mitch Lieberman


[Customer service] is now about all the touchpoints along the journey starting at a time before there is even a transaction to through and including product use – the duration of the company/customer relationship. This is not about technology.

Mitch Lieberman is an expert in the areas of customer relationship management (CRM), customer service, and customer experience. Follow him on Twitter at @mjayliebs or visit sugarcrm.com.


Kate Leggett


I believe that the #1 way to improve customer service is to invest in knowledge management for web self service and agent assisted service. This allows customers to get effortless answers to their questions.

Kate Leggett is the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Follow her on Twitter at @kateleggett or visit https://blogs.forrester.com/kate_leggett.


Debbie Szumylo


The #1 way for any company to improve their customer service is to empower, engage and nurture their employees. An empowered, engaged and nurtured employee is passionate about and committed to the company, the vision, and most importantly, the customer.

Debbie Szumylo is the Manager of Customer Experience at Thomson Reuters Elite. Follow her on Twitter at @DebbieSzumylo or visit www.elite.com.


Mike Aoki

43_mike_aokiTrain employees in customer service skills! Offer post-new hire customer service training to all Agents – both new and veteran.

Mike Aoki is a speaker and trainer at Reflective Keynotes Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeaoki or visit www.reflectivekeynotes.com.



Ty Sullivan

44_ty_sullivanInvest the time into having bi-monthly meetings to review, engage in customer service drills, have some fun and use that time to also identify team members who have excelled and celebrate them.

Ty Sullivan is the Director of Marketing and Social Media at Fresh & Co. Follow him on Twitter at @TheTySullivan or visit www.tysullivan.com.



Dr. Joseph Michelli

45_joseph_michelliNail the basics – drive product knowledge throughout your organization, fix processes that create pain for your customers, design service processes such that customers get their needs met the first time, and “make it right” for affected customers when you inevitably have a breakdown.

Dr. Joseph Michelli is the CEO of The Michelli Experience, Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @josephmichelli or visit www.josephmichelli.com.



Jeannie Walters


What’s the #1 way for any company to improve their customer service? Advocate. Understand WHY they are your customers, and then advocate for them in every meeting, during every design session, and each time you innovate.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP is a writer, speaker and the CEO of 360Connext. Follow her on Twitter at @jeanniecw or visit www.360connext.com.


Dan Moriarty


What customers care about today is authenticity and effort – be your human self, not a robot, and show the customer that you’re genuinely trying to find a solution, not just telling them why you’d love to help but can’t.

Dan Moriarty is the Director of  Social Strategy & Activation at Hyatt Hotels, as well as the co-host of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @iamdanmoriarty or visit https://soundcloud.com/focus-on-customer-service.


Teresa Allen


The #1 way to improve service in any organization is to map the customer journey and take all necessary steps to consistently meet and exceed customer expectations on that journey.

Teresa Allen is the owner of Common Sense Solutions. Follow her on Twitter at @TeresaAllen, email her at tallen@AllenSpeaks.com or visit www.AllenSpeaks.com.


Marsha Collier


Give your customer the option to reach you via their preferred communication platform. Perceptions of a brand occur daily in our online world. Be first to reach out and act on any customer interaction.

Marsha Collier is a Forbes Top 20 Women Social Media Influencer and #Custserv chat founder. Follow her on Twitter at @MarshaCollier or visit www.coolebaytools.com.


Martin Hill-Wilson


The route to being the best: listen to customers, identify the top irritants, remove them, listen again, identify the top things that matter to them as experiences, embed them, repeat the cycle, [and] each time get closer to it being a real-time response.

Martin Hill-Wilson is a customer engagement and digital business strategist. Follow him on Twitter at @martinhw or visit www.brainfoodextra.com.


Dan Gingiss


Make it easy for your customers to interact with you! Acknowledge and embrace the fact that customers have different needs and will use different channels to either self-serve or ask for help.

Dan Gingiss is the the co-host of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @dgingiss or visit https://soundcloud.com/focus-on-customer-service/ (also on iTunes & Stitcher).


Leslie O’Flahavan

52_leslie_oflahavanThe most important way to improve customer service? Cultivate true empathy for the customer and let that empathy flow through all your interactions. See your world through your customer’s eyes.

Leslie O’Flahavan is the Principal at E-WRITE. Follow her on Twitter at @LeslieO or visit www.ewriteonline.com.



Randi Busse

53_randi_busseSince your employees are customers too, although not necessarily of your company, they have their own customer service experiences. Facilitate a conversation with your employees and ask them to share some of their great customer service experiences.

Randi Busse is the President of the Workforce Development Group. Follow her on Twitter at @RandiBusse or visit www.workdevgroup.com



Guy Stephens

54_guy_stephensThe last few years has seen the continued decentralisation of the traditional service model in favour of one that is increasingly cognitive, mobile and highly contextual; social has been a catalyst for this shift. For customer-activated enterprises the challenge is not just how to adapt to this change, but how to adapt to it, at speed.

Guy Stephens is the Managing Consultant and Comms Lead UK&I for Salesforce & Social Customer Care/Social CRM Lead, iX, IBM. Follow him on Twitter at @guy1067 or visit https://beingguy1067.com.


Holly Chessman

55_holly_chessmanIf your business can conquer all three of these channels – self, responsive, and live service – you will truly have reached customer service nirvana.

Holly Chessman is the Vice President of Marketing at Glance Networks. Follow her on Twitter at @hollychessman or @glancenetworks, or visit www.glance.net.



Mark Bernhardt

56_mark_bernhardtThe #1 way for any company to improve their customer service is to listen (more) intently to customers who have an issue, a question or positive feedback. There’s a difference between hearing and listening.

Mark Bernhardt is a partner at GS Marketing Group, Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @ImMarkBernhardt or visit https://about.me/immarkbernhardt.



Tema Frank

57_tema_frankThe best way for a company to improve its customer service is by taking a walk in the customer’s shoes. We make too many assumptions about what our customers want and how they interpret the things we present to them.

Tema Frank is a customer experience & usability expert, podcast host, Author, international speaker, and the CEO of Frank Reactions. Follow her on Twitter at @temafrank, or visit https://frankreactions.com.


Matt Hooper

58_matt_hooperCustomer Service starts with understanding limitations. Cheap, petty customers will come and go, but to sustain loyalty, helping customer know the limits of support and the reasonable explanations for those limits, build an emotional partnership.

Matt Hooper is the Product Evangelist and Digital Transformentalist at LANDESK. Follow him on Twitter at @VigilantGuy or @LANDESK, or visit https://www.landesk.com/.



Flavio Martins

59_flavio_martinsReally get to know your customers. Once you know your customers then you can create your customer experiences that focus on the three elements of service: results-focused processes, empowered service agents, and data-driven technology.

Flavio Martins is the Vice President of Operations and Customer Service at DigiCert, Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @flavmartins or visit www.winthecustomer.com.



Lon Hendrickson

60_lon_hendricksonEmpower, educate and support your employees so they can successfully carry out the mission (on-going training, emphasis on employee satisfaction, and efficient agent desktops and contact center technology).

Lon Hendrickson is the Executive Director of the CCNG Magnet Program. Follow him on Twitter at @LonHendrickson or visit www.ccng.com.



Sean Hawkins

61_sean_hawkinsThe most important thing a company can do to improve their service short term, is to properly evaluate, hire, and adequately train staff. This is something any company can start doing now!

Sean Hawkins is the Sr. Manager of Customer Support at LeadPages. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanBHawkins or visit www.leadpages.com.



Randy Rubingh


If you want to improve service, one of the most important things you can do is improve your contact center culture by creating a learning culture, one that will lower attrition and lead to more engaged reps.

Randy Rubingh is the author of Call Center Rocket Science:  110 Tips to Creating a World Class Customer Service Organization. Follow him on Twitter at @rrubingh, or visit www.callcenterrocketscience.com.


Kevin Fredrick

63_kevin_fredrickThe #1 way to improve customer service is to know your customers so well that you can pre-empt their service needs. The future of customer service isn’t finding new ways to engage your agents or reduce average handle time- it’s using data to predict what each individual customer needs before they even realize it. 

Kevin Fredrick is a Managing Partner at OneReach. Follow him on Twitter at @kevinfredrick or visit www.onereach.com.

If you’d like to see the experts’ full remarks, download the full report here. Again, we would like to express our profound thanks to each of them for contributing to this report.

Happy Customer Service Week!

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