The Best Customer Experiences Are All About Heart with Phil Gerbyshak | Picture of hands holding plastic heart

The Best Customer Experiences Are All About Heart

The Best Customer Experiences Are All About Heart with Phil Gerbyshak | Picture of hands holding plastic heart

Phil Gerbyshak, social selling expert and host of Conversations with Phil

Phil Gerbyshak

Guest Poster: Phil Gerbyshak

The following is a guest post from Phil Gerbyshak.

Phil Gerbyshak teaches sales people and leaders to position themselves as an expert in their niche to up their influence, impact and income. If you’re looking to be more effective using LinkedIn, get your complimentary copy of LinkedIn Daily Dozen and tune in to Conversations with Phil, where Phil interviews today’s business leaders to find out the straight talk on the latest business issues affecting you.

Adam’s Note: The article below began as a Facebook post by my friend Phil Gerbyshak. When I first read the post, I thought to myself “wow, what a great story,” but when I thought about it further (how often does a post on Facebook make you do that?), I realized what a powerful lesson the story had to teach people at all organizational levels. In this brief story are lessons about the importance of focusing on the person in front of you, the impact of making human connections, and, of course, the value of having heart.

And now, Phil…

I’ve got a heart condition

This morning I splurged and got my shoes shined before my first meeting. I had an hour to spare and when I have the extra time and cash, it’s a nice treat for me.

I love to learn the story behind the person who has chosen to shine shoes for their vocation. Today I met Jimmie – with an IE, not a Y. Jimmie has been shining shoes for the past 15 years, the past 4 at Oxford Exchange in Tampa. He admits he’s not a 5 minute shine, and that’s what some people want. Instead, he’s a craftsman and it takes a full 30 minutes to shine a pair of shoes, at least it did with my pair. That’s what I want. Read more

Customer Loyalty: Winning Hearts and Minds

Customer Loyalty: Winning Hearts and Minds

Joseph Michelli, author of Driven to Delight

Joseph Michelli, author

Guest Poster: Joseph Michelli

The following is a guest post from Joseph Michelli.

Joseph A Michelli, PhD, CSP, is an internationally sought-after speaker, consultant, and New York Times No. 1 best-selling author. You can find more information about him at

In this post, Joseph explores how important hearts and minds are to earning customer loyalty. He also touches on some of our favorite themes — such as reducing customer effort and empowering team members.

And now, Joseph…

When it comes to new customer acquisition, advertisers and marketers strive to position a brand so that it becomes “top of mind.” However, if you want to improve customer engagement, increase loyalty, and drive referrals, the challenge is to connect with both the “mind” and “heart” of your customer. Read more

5 Millennial Traits to Improve Customer Service

5 Millennial Traits to Improve Customer Service

Alleli Aspili of Infinit-O

Alleli Aspili

Guest Poster: Alleli Aspili

The following is a guest post from Alleli Aspili, a Senior Specialist for Business Development in Infinit Outsourcing, Inc. (Infinit-O), an ISO-certified BPO company that caters inbound call center, finance and accounting and healthcare outsourcing to SMEs and who is also responsible for maintaining online brand and content for Infinit Contact, Infinit Healthcare and other Infinit properties.

Alleli explores how the traits common to the Millennial generation can provide a roadmap for providing these consumers the experiences they desire and collects the trends we’ve all been seeing into a handy list.

And now, Alleli…


Businesses looking to have continuous success must learn more about Generation Y, also known as Millennials. This group’s behaviors, beliefs, interests and shopping habits are shaping the global marketplace. Understanding them will help brands improve how they provide customer service to this highly important market.

5 Millennial Traits to Improve Customer ServiceTo do this, businesses must take note of these following Millennial traits.

#1 Millennials use multiple channels and devices

Millennials grew up in a world of technology so it’s not surprising that they are a tech-savvy generation. They are on multiple platforms, use multiple web-enabled gadgets and are online 24/7. They are so addicted to their devices that one study reveals 53% of Millennials said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology. Read more

Luke Rees of Accuracast Headshot

Omnichannel Customer Service with the Human Touch

Luke Rees of Accuracast headshot

Luke Rees

Guest Poster: Luke Rees

The following is a guest post from Luke Rees, a digital marketing executive at AccuraCast who writes extensively about technology, ecommerce, and trends in the search market industry.

Luke explores the importance of not only omnichannel alignment but also of considering human-to-human interactions as part of an omnichannel strategy. Also, he does so in British English (recognise), which adds a little European flavor to the blog!

And now, Luke…


The age of digital retail still presents a number of challenges for businesses, and especially for customer service teams. Greater insight into online behaviour means we can understand our customers’ needs in depth – plus, we can track and engage with them in real time. But what about the human touch? It would be a mistake to assume all customer interactions only happen online.

Despite ever growing trends in digital, the best businesses still recognise the value of the human voice. Research from ResponseTap, a call-based marketing automation company, found that 64% of people get frustrated when they are only able to interact with a company online, and 70% find that speaking to an operator on the phone gives them peace of mind and confidence that they are getting exactly what they want.

These findings support the notion that the human voice offers a vital element in the formation of brand identity, as a reassuring and helpful voice helps to develop and strengthen loyalty between business and customer. Life is about human interactions and the business that masters this today, wins.

The Importance of Choice

The main thing marketing in the digital age needs to offer consumers, is choice. Selling has become more informal, sociable, and subject to change, and as a result the customer purchasing path has never been more complex. Read more

Loyalty Programs Millennials | Group of students looking at their phones

Improve Millennials’ Experience with a Targeted Loyalty Program

Guest Poster: Kristen Gramigna

BlueKristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm, and also serves on its Board of Directors. She has more than 15 years experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing.


Building a base of loyal customers can be one of the most effective ways to increase your profitability and optimize your customer acquisition costs, but what does it take to win the favor of Millennials (consumers who are currently between 18 to 34 years old)? Here’s a look at how to target Millennials effectively through loyalty programs.

Know what they really value.

A recent study by Bond Brand Loyalty found that nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they’d change where they shop because of the presence of a quality loyalty program, indicating that Millennials are highly responsive to retailer loyalty programs. However, they’re not attracted for the same reasons as the general population, which tends to value loyalty program discounts first and foremost. Instead, the degree to which the loyalty program includes components of social sharing and acknowledges the Millennial consumer in a way that gives them the opportunity to feel a part of a business matters more than money-saving offers.

Incorporate social sharing elements into Millennial loyalty programs with tactics like VIP sales that acknowledge the consumer’s participation in the event on social media, campaigns that invite customers to create their own images and content and share them on social channels like Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest, and social media contests that invite participation in product development and marketing concepts. Read More

5 Ways to Improve Your Team's Product Knowledge | Office worker point at screen

5 Ways to Improve Your Team’s Product Knowledge

5 Ways to Improve Your Team's Product Knowledge | Office worker point at screen

When it comes down to it, a company’s thorough knowledge of its own products has the ability to make or break customer relationships, both individually and organisationally. A company that is knowledgeable of both changing market conditions and the evolving nature of its own products gives customers a sense of trustworthiness and competence. These feelings translate into customers perceiving that company or brand to be less risky than others.

More specifically, having a knowledgeable team of both sales and customer service staff inevitably leads to:

  • Enhanced customer trust on a one-to-one level
  • Empowered employees who feel ready to tackle problems without referring to a higher authority
  • Faster resolution rate for customer issues and complaints
  • Improved sales
  • Positive customer reviews when a member of staff has been particularly helpful

Read more

USB Cable | Effortless Big Kahuna of Customer Experience

Effortless: The Big Kahuna of Customer Experience

Chip BellGuest Poster: Chip R. Bell

Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker, customer loyalty consultant and best-selling author. His newest book is The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service ( He can be reached at


One Sunday evening at my computer, I was online ordering promotional visors from Stitch America in Bremen, Georgia. I had selected the visor color, style, and words to be stitched in a particular font and thread color. After loading in my credit card information, I sent the order off into cyberspace. I was about to turn out the light when I received a text message on my smartphone.

“Mr. Bell, may I call you about the order you just placed?” I responded, “Yes.” Within less than a minute, the phone rang. “This is Tonya. Thanks for your order. I want to make sure you get exactly what you wanted.” I was thrilled! Someone cared on a Sunday night about an online order.

USB Cable | Effortless Big Kahuna of Customer Experience“The font size you’ve chosen will be too hard to read.” She continued, “May I suggest doubling it? I can send you a PDF photo showing the front of the visor in the actual size.” I agreed and hung up the phone.

When I turned on my computer the next morning, there was the promised PDF from Tonya. With it came a short email note, “As soon as you give me the word that this is the best-looking visor you have ever seen, I will get it into production.” Two days later I got an email and text message from the production department that the visors were finished and being packaged for shipment. Later that day, I got an email with a photocopy of the tracking order. Two days later a follow-up e-mail came indicating that their system showed the order had been delivered.

Then Tonya called again. “Are you totally thrilled with your order?” I totally was! And the Stitch America service made me want to give up shopping centers forever. Read More

Speedometer with Reviews and Ratings

To Earn Social Proof, Focus on Stellar Customer Service

Guest Poster: Daniel Tay

Daniel Tay | Zopim

Daniel Tay is a Content Strategist at Zopim, Editor-in-Chief of We Are Spaces, and sometimes freelance writer / editor. His byline can be found all over the web, but his home is at


Have you ever seen a long queue in front of a restaurant and instantly concluded that the food there must be excellent, so you decided to join it? Have you ever found yourself laughing along to the canned laughter on your favorite TV shows even though the scene wasn’t actually that funny? If you answered yes to either question, you are one of the many people who have been influenced by social proof.

Speedometer with Reviews and RatingsSocial proof is defined by Hubspot as “the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.” Other names for it include the bandwagon effect, the herd mentality, conformity, and so on.

Marketers and advertisers are throwing this phrase around because social proof is the new currency of credibility.

Purchase Influences Have Changed

In the past, customers were content to watch advertisements and read posters about products and services, and they accepted that information as a given. However, with massive search engines such as Google springing up in the past decade, objective information has become far more accessible to the everyday person. People would rather trust the opinions of their neighbors rather than what the company has to say about their own product. Read More

How to Keep Employees from Becomeing Double Agents | Man with Mask

How to Keep Employees from Becoming Double Agents

Guest Poster: Jeff Toister

Jeff Toister | Toister SolutionsJeff Toister is the author of Service Failure: The Real Reasons Employees Struggle with Customer Service and What You Can Do About It. His company, Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. helps clients identify the obstacles keeping them from achieving customer service success.


The double agent looked around nervously to see if anyone was watching. The coast was clear. He saw his two contacts seated in the back of the restaurant and quietly approached.

“Don’t order the profiteroles. The beignets are much better.”

No, this double agent wasn’t a spy engaged in international espionage. He was a waiter in a restaurant. He served as an agent for his boss, the restaurant manager, who wanted him to push the profiterole dessert special.

How to Keep Employees from Becomeing Double Agents | Man with MaskHe also served as an agent for his two guests who he knew would be much happier with the beignets. The profiteroles weren’t very good.

Employees in double agent situations risk making someone unhappy no matter what they do. They can align themselves with their employer, but their customer will get upset. They can align themselves with their customer, but then they risk getting into trouble for violating a company policy.

How do you avoid having your employees become double agents? Find ways to align the company’s interests with customers’ interests whenever possible. Make it easy to say “Yes” to customers.

Here are some common double agent examples along with some suggested solutions.

Example #1

A call center agent is listening to a customer vent about a problem. Should the agent hurry up the call to meet the talk time standard? If she does, she’ll avoid possible sanctions from her boss but might risk alienating the upset customer. If she ignores the standard and patiently helps the customer, she may earn the customer’s gratitude but risk getting in trouble with her boss.

The Solution: Prioritize customer satisfaction

Efficiency is an important aspect of every profitable business but over-emphasizing short-term efficiency can be dangerous. Alienated customers are much more likely to take their business elsewhere and share negative word of mouth about the company. The resulting loss of business is often much larger than any short-term efficiency gains.

The call center manager could avoid the double agent problem by emphasizing first contact resolution rather than talk time. The customer will appreciate a resolution, and the employee won’t feel pressured to end the call prematurely. Read More

Social Contract Guest Post

Customers and Support: A Social Contract

Guest Poster: Miguel Perez

Miguel Perez of Media TempleIt is my pleasure to introduce Miguel Perez, (mt) Media Temple Engagement Supervisor. Miguel has spent 15 years in customer service. Since coming to (mt) Media Temple in 2008 he’s done front line support, lead a support team, served as a supervisor and now leads the Media Temple customer engagement effort.


I invite you to give thought to some ideas I am going to share about the implied, unspoken, unwritten, and (in some ways) unconscious contract that exists between a customer and a support organization. I call it a “social contract.”

I’ll break it down for you a little and show some interesting statistics and observations that apply. Finally, I’ll present some strategies to help derive value from this “social contract.”

I borrowed the term “Social Contract” from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who wrote “Of The Social Contract, Or Principles of Political Right” in 1762, a work that influenced both the French and American revolutions. Here is a key quote:

“Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law”

What does Rousseau’s quote mean to us in the web hosting industry?

It means that, in the mind of the customer, all the TOS’s, SLA’s and Statements of Support are trumped by this unspoken social contract. It means that the customer and the support rep can sometimes begin a support encounter with entirely different expectations.

CRM guru Paul Greenberg tells us that:

“40% of people calling customer service for assistance, call with no expectation of having their problem resolved.”  (BPT Partners Social CRM Summit, Atlanta, GA. Feb. 2010.)

That is an amazing statistic. 4 out of 10 callers are phoning, writing, tweeting or chatting with no expectation of a solution. So why are they doing it? What do they want if they do not even expect a solution? What is the expectation they bring that derives from that “Social Contract”? Read More