Baseline Customer Service Communication | Tennis Ball on Baseline

Monthly Mash and Baseline Communication

Welcome to the Monthly Mash, a mashup of tools, tales and tips on customer service and the customer experience from around the blogosphere.

VOLUME 33: July 2014

Thoughts on the Customer: Baseline Communication

Baseline Customer Service Communication | Tennis Ball on BaselineOne of the great challenges of customer service is that each customer expects and requires different types and levels of communication. Some customers wish to be embraced with regular, focused communication; others just desire pleasant, courteous communication that is kept to a minimum. No matter what an individual’s specific expectations, there is a baseline that applies to virtually all customers, and it is determined by the context of the situation.

I was at a major sports retailer on Saturday and had an interesting experience at the cash wrap. After the cashier returned my credit card, she immediately turned away from me to speak to someone who had just walked over. As she spoke, I waited for for her to turn back around and complete my transaction. Did I need to sign something? Do I get a receipt? But she just kept talking. Right as I was about to say something, I noticed the receipt hanging out of the register. It had come out towards me. Maybe it was self-serve? I grabbed the receipt and my merchandise and left.

The cashier’s problem was not that she was a rude person overall, as she was pleasant during the initial part of the transaction. Her problem was that the last words she said to me were “here you go” when she handed me my credit card, then she turned around without saying another word.

At a retail cash wrap, there is baseline communication that is expected by the customer. Pointing out the receipt would have been one, as it was not super obvious. More importantly, some sort of closing line should have been delivered. “Have a great day” or “thank you for shopping with us” would have been enough to make the transaction one that, while not standing out for being positive, did not stand out for being negative. Of course, unremarkable is not the goal, but it is preferable to the result she got, which was ending a very good overall experience (the floor staff had been great) with a poor final experience.

The baseline is never something to strive for, but all customer-facing reps should always be trained to know what it is and that it is considered a basic responsibility of their positions.

The Month in Customer Service Blogging

A collection of the best posts about customer service and the customer experience we read this past month.

·      Three Simple Tactics to Increase Customer Loyalty – Loyalty tactics can be simple but hard to stay consistent. Here are three ways to strengthen your resolve.

·      Three Actions to Earn Back Customer Trust – Everyone makes mistakes. Here are three ways to earn back your customer’s trust after making one.

·      Don’t Let Tone Ruin Your Support Interactions – Like our moms taught us, it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. A great article analyzing our customer service words and tone.

·      3 Tips To Help You Define Your Own Customer Service Slogan  – Giving yourself a customer service slogan can help put you in the right mindset for every interaction.

·      How Hampton Hotels Built And Sustains Its Customer-Obsessed Culture – Service innovation worked, when product innovation didn’t. Learn how one company is using customer obsession for competitive advantage.

·      7 Signs That Your Executive Team is Not on Board with Your Customer Experience Agenda – A good follow up to the above article. You need your executive team on board to create a customer-obsessed culture. Great tips on how to get there.

·      Facebook is the number one channel for customer service- are you getting more likes or hates? – Statistics show that Facebook is the number one social media channel for customer service. This piece will help you evaluate the importance of your organization’s own Facebook presence.

·      Lack of Knowledge Hurting Customer Self-Service Success – Is it time to take an honest look at customer self-service? Was it built to save the company money or to produce happy customers? 

·      Putting Customers First: If Not You, Who? – Getting everyone in the same room to create a customer-centric company can be difficult. Be prepared once you get there with these 4 tips. 

·      20 kinds of people who do the best Customer Service – The Listener, The Optomist, The Geek or The Thinker. Learn what traits to look for in your next customer service hire. 

·      How to Lose a Customer in 10 Days – “In this post, the focus is on companies and the things they are knowingly or unknowingly doing to sabotage their customer relationships.”

·      How Successful Contact Center Teams Live The Customer Experience – Be the Customer, See the Customer, Hear the Customer. 

·      Nordstrom’s Acquisition of Trunk Club is a Win for Shareholders, Employees, and CustomersAn insightful analysis of the recent joining of two great customer-centric brands.

Someone Was Listening

Sometimes the most popular post from the previous month; sometimes just the one I liked best.

A Well Trained Staff Shows at Marriott Courtyard Pioneer Square – This experience at the Marriott Courtyard in Pioneer Square demonstrates the impact of training and culture on delivering Hero-ClassTM customer experiences consistently across all touch points.

Photo Credit:


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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