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Next Level Customer Service Blog

News, tips, and trends to help you reach that next level of customer service.

Entries in social media (9)


They have a job, so why do they blog?

There are a lot of people who actively share their thoughts about customer service via blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other online platforms. Most of them, including me, are consultants, speakers, or authors. It stands to reason that people like us would actively share our voice online. After all, we’re trying to get the word out.

But what motivates people who already have a job working for someone else?

To learn the answer, I reached out to four internal employees who are all prolific contributors to the online discussion about customer service.


Jenny Dempsey and Jeremy Watkin

Jenny and Jeremy are part of the customer service team at Jenny is the Customer Service Supervisor and self-described mascot while Jeremy is the Director of Customer Service. 

The two of them embody the spirit of customer service on their fabulous Communicate Better Blog. It features insights into the service they provide their own customers at plus examples from other companies and frequent guest posts. They also Tweet from @commbetterblog.

Jenny and Jeremy told me they are active online because it helps them learn, it adds purpose to their work, and helps them define their service culture at


Jeremy: “When you stop and think about it, everyone has customers and there is customer service both good and bad going on all around us. What an amazing opportunity to learn! Selfishly, this exercise helps me be a better husband, father, employee, coworker, boss and friend to my customers as I learn to serve better.“

Jenny: "I do this because I want to help others in the best way I possibly can. I want to learn and grow and be totally awesome at helping others!"


Jenny: “Writing this blog gives me a sense of purpose at my job and in life (sounds cheesy, but it does). It opens my eyes to the fact I’m doing something bigger than just answering a call or writing an email. I am ridiculously inspired on a daily basis.”


Jeremy: “I do want to help build a customer-centric culture at and find that this is a fantastic way to inspire our customer service team. I talk a lot about "awesome" customer service. Still others on our team are excited to contribute guest posts and comments about what they are learning about customer service. Even more exciting is when people in other departments in our company read our blog and talk about how they are changing the way they approach their customers.”


Annette Franz (Gleneicki)

Annette serves as Director, Customer Experience Management Strategy at Confirmit.

Her entertaining and informative CX Journey blog focuses on customer experience. She’s not afraid to be provocative and I like that I agree with her perspective most of the time, but not always. She often uses personal stories backed by research to make her point and also includes guest bloggers on a regular basis. Annette also Tweets from @cxjourney and @annettefranz.

I wasn’t surprised to learn Annette’s top two reasons for sharing her thoughts online since it’s evident in her style, but she has several more great reasons too.

  • I love to write!
  • I’m passionate about what I do.
  • I’m building my personal brand.
  • Blogging is a way to share my learnings and experiences from the last 20+ years.
  • While there are many of us who do what I do, I think there is power in numbers. The more of us who try to get the message out, the better.
  • It allows me to help others that I might not otherwise meet through my corporate role/position; from students to start-ups to corporate practitioners, I’ve met, answered questions for, and provided guidance one-on-one to people who follow me on social media and are regular readers of my blog.
  • It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals and to learn from others.


Bill Quiseng

Bill is the Resort Manager at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club in Oahu, Hawaii.

If you wanted to use Twitter as tool for keeping up with the latest customer service trends, you could follow Bill Quiseng (@billquiseng) and do quite well. That’s because Bill is constantly sharing and re-Tweeting great customer service ideas and content. He also does an amazing job populating his Facebook page with interesting topics and discussions too.

Bill views sharing customer service lessons with others as a way of paying it forward for the all the great mentoring he’s received in his career.

“I really have enjoyed my 35 years in the hospitality industry, almost all of that time in the luxury resort segment. I have been mentored by some of the very best general managers of luxury resorts. And those GM's all taught the same key lesson:

With only slight differences in the product or setting between our resort and our competitors, the key differentiators are in the personalized service our front line associates deliver and the overall guest experience we create through their collective guest interactions.

I write to serve as a mentor to those who want to perfect their delivery of the customer experience. As a person reads each blog post, they learn a little more, until over time, they become masters of customer service. And that is how I'd like to "pay it forward" for a lifetime career of having learned from some of the very best in delivering an exceptional customer experience. 


These people are real pros

Writing a blog post like this is often a numbers game. You ask a lot of people you’d like to hear from knowing only a handful will respond.

This group is different. These four are the only people I reached out to because I knew they’d reply quickly and thoughtfully. They’re all true customer service professionals whose passion for sharing and helping others is authentic, and I truly appreciate their contributions.


Why you're training customers to complain via Twitter

An increasing number of companies are starting to do a great job of serving their customers via Twitter. That’s great news for service, right?

Well, it may also be a problem.

Companies that master the art of serving their customers via Twitter may be training their customers to skip traditional service channels like face-to-face, phone, and email so they can do all their complaining in public.

Here are three reasons why:

Broken Channels

Consumers generally want to address customer service issues directly with the company without resorting to Twitter.

A 2012 American Express study found that only 7 percent of customers look to social networking sites such as Twitter as their primary method of contacting customer service. Most customers prefer more traditional channels such as face-to-face, phone, email, or even a company website. Only 17 percent of consumers reported contacting a company via social media at least once in the past year.

Things change when the problem doesn’t get resolved. The SQM group estimates that the average call center fails to resolve 30 percent of problems on the first call. Customers who experience lingering customer service issues may be more likely to vent their frustrations on Twitter.

Executive Attention

I recently attended ICMI’s ACCE conference for call center professionals. Quite a few attendees told me that Twitter has gained prominence in their companies because it’s more visible to executives than other channels. These executives are also understandably worried about the negative word of mouth associated with customers ranting on Twitter.

More executive attention can lead to Twitter complaints getting top priority. This means the Twitter team gets better staffing levels so they can respond faster. They are more empowered so they can be more generous. It also means that fewer resources are devoted to improving other service channels.

Customers catch on quickly.

Elite Service

The first two factors are reinforced by Twitter teams that do a really good job.

I recently Tweeted a complaint to American Airlines after being told it would take 8 weeks to get reimbursed for clothes I had to buy when my suitcase was delayed. Their Twitter team responded almost instantly to request additional information and then promised me they’d get on it.

The American Airlines Twitter team evidently pulled some strings that other customer service reps wouldn't or couldn't pull because my check ended up arriving in just 4 weeks.

Given these results, why wouldn’t I automatically tweet American Airlines the next time I experience a customer service issue of any kind?


Perhaps the solutions seem obvious. Fix broken channels so customers get amazing service no matter how they choose to contact your company. Prioritize problems that cause your customers the biggest headaches, rather than your marketing and PR folks. Fix more problems on the first contact.

I have one additional suggestion: Spread some of that Twitter moxie to other channels.

Companies often infuse their Twitter customer service with a little personality because they know anyone can listen in. What if every call center representative answered the phone like the whole world was listening? Why not write customer service emails that we would be proud to see posted on the internet? 


What I learned on my social media vacation

My wife, Sally, and I recently went on a road trip throughout California to pursue several of our passions: wine, Scotch, and California’s natural beauty. I wanted to make sure I really relaxed, so I decided to take a social media vacation too.

My self-imposed social media hiatus caused me to more fully engage with the people and the world around me rather than habitually pull out my smart phone to Tweet, Like, or Share. This ultimately led to better service, a better experience, and much high levels of satisfaction. 

The bar at the Albion River Inn

Social media allows you to connect with people who share similar interests, but real connections are often more rich and interesting.

We met Megan, a bartender at the Albion River Inn near Mendocino, who shares our passion for Scotch and knows much more about it than we do. The Inn has approximately 150 varieties in their restaurant and Megan helped us expand our knowledge. She even let us taste a few old and rare Scotches we’d never before seen.

A few days later we shared a communal table with some locals at the Bounty Hunter in Napa. One of our companions was Justin, who turned out to be the Bounty Hunter’s spirits manager. Not surprisingly, Justin is a huge fan of Scotch too, which made for a fun dinner conversation. Justin even told us he might be able to help us find some of those rare Scotches that Megan had introduced us to.

A secluded beach in Northern California, near MendocinoSocial media can help you make new discoveries, but the real-world is full of discoveries if you keep your eyes open.

We found a hidden trail that led to a secluded beach without reading any reviews on Trip Advisor or downloading a trail finder app. The only clues we had were a car parked on the side of the road and a small sign reminding people to keep their dogs on a leash. 

Sally spotted the trailhead while we were taking a leisurely drive along the coast near Mendocino in Northern California. I doubt she would have seen it if she was engrossed in Facebook updates.

We felt a sense of adventure as we pulled over near the other car and got out. The trail wound through a sparse grove of trees before meandering through a rolling pasture. After less than a mile we came to a small, secluded beach that offered gorgeous views of the California coast.

The view from my new favorite chair

Social media is an escape for many people, but really escaping can be so much more rewarding.

I spent nearly a full day sitting in an adirondack chair overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I read, solved sudoku puzzles, and took in the view. It also turned out to be the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the late afternoon sun slowly start its descent.

I’ll admit there were times throughout the trip when I had to fight the urge to check online. For example, one day Sally posted a funny picture on Facebook that I wanted to see. Then I remembered that I had taken the picture and had seen the real thing.

I really hope I can remember these lessons now that I'm back to work.


My personal policy for identifying companies via social media

I gave a lot of thought to how I would identify companies and individual employees by name while writing my book, Service Failure. Through the help of my editors and a little trial and error, I came up with what I think is a fair and reasonable way to approach this issue.

As my audience for this blog continues to grow, I think it's time to apply this personal policy here as well. My goal is to use examples of good and bad customer service to inform and perhaps entertain, while recognizing that customer service is difficult, mistakes can and will happen, and sometimes even the best companies and employees fall a little short.

Here's my policy:

  • When I receive poor customer service, I won't mention the company by name unless I've first attempted to address my grievance with a company representative.
  • I will mention companies by name if I am commenting on a news story (rather than my own experience as a customer).
  • I won't hesitate to identify companies by name when I receive exceptional service.
  • When discussing individual customer service employees, I will only use their first names unless I've been given permission to quote them by name. 

Like all policies, it may get broken or stretched from time to time, but I'll do my best to be faithful to it.


New social media stats: helping is better than entertaining

An article in the latest issue of Fast Company magazine provides some great lessons on effectively engaging customers through social media. It uses real data and real companies to highlight each of the key points. The first comparision was Dunkin' Donuts vs. Starbucks.  Dunkin' Donuts has approximately 80% fewer Facebook and Twitter followers, but those people are 35% more likely to recommend the brand. Quality clearly seems to work better than quantity in this case.

Read the article from Fast Company

The common themes from this study support the findings from my social media experiment. Here are a few of my take-aways from the article:

  • Engaging your customers leads to better results than just generating buzz
  • Not every company needs to use social media
  • The key is communicating with your customers and not just at them

Success stories wanted... It is sometimes easier to identify what isn't working than to see what does work well. If you know of a social media success story, please share it by commenting below.