Customer Turnaround Artist

Who Is Your Customer Turnaround Artist?

In business parlance, a turnaround artist is a person who can go into a failing or floundering company and make the changes necessary to turn it around and get it back on a track to organizational success.

Turnaround artists possess a wealth of multidisciplinary skills and are good at seeing not only the big picture but also how the smaller details interact and depend upon one another.

Good turnaround artists are few and far between.

Customer Turnaround Artists (CTA’s) are not that rare, but they are not exactly growing on trees either. In fact, most smaller organizations or departments are lucky if they have just one.

Finding the Customer Turnaround Artist in your organization and utilizing them as effectively as possible can have a significant impact on your delivery of customer service.

Start with these steps:

Identify Your Customer Turnaround Artist

Identifying your CTA is as easy as answering a simple question: Who would I want handling a difficult customer service situation if I am not available?

Most of us know who the go-to person is in our organization for resolving sticky customer complaints. That person is your CTA.

If your answer is no one, then you do not have a CTA in your organization.

Maximize the Value of Your Customer Turnaround Artist

Customer Turnaround ArtistAre you using your resources as effectively as possible? Is your CTA spending half their time performing non-customer facing duties while less-skilled team members are working with challenging customer situations?

If so, it might be time to look at your organizational structure. Utilize your CTA where their exceptional skill set can have the most impact.

Clone Your Customer Turnaround Artist

Of course, we want all of our people to be Customer Turnaround Artists, but in reality, there will always be one or two who are just exceptional — who just get it.

How can we get a little of the magic from our CTA to rub off on our entire team? There are three ways:

1. Training

Often your CTA will have a natural set of skills or training from a previous experience. While some parts of service greatness — attitude and personality, for instance — are not as easy to duplicate, customer service techniques are eminently teachable.

Start with making sure all of your people are developing an ever-improving base set of customer service skills.

2. Shadowing

We can universally assume that if you have a CTA in your organization that person has a degree of self-confidence in their interactions with customers. Allowing your other team members to shadow your CTA can help them gain some of this confidence.

It can can be empowering for your team to observe someone at their level in the organization handling customers with confidence and skill.

3. Mentoring

If resources and scheduling allow, mentoring takes the shadowing concept to the next level. Here your CTA takes another team member under their wing in a more formal program of real-world instruction and guidance. A good mentoring program can be gold — but it is almost always a significant investment in resources.

Identifying your customer turnaround artist is easy. Creating an entire team of CTA’s is more difficult.

Once you know who your Customer Turnaround Artist is, don’t just sit back and talk about how you wish everyone on your team could “talk to customers like Jenny.” Put Jenny’s skills to work for you and let her help you create a team full of Customer Turnaround Artists.

Who are the Customer Turnaround Artists in your organizations? How can you replicate them?


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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