Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Take a Turn for Better Customer Service

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Russel Lolacher shares effective strategies for pleasing the customer. I like his T.U.R.N. acronym for providing a better customer service experience. Shep Hyken

E.L.A.A. = Everybody loves an acronym.

When it comes to providing a better customer service experience, try a T.U.R.N.

Recently I was thinking about my various conversations around customer service. Whether it’s individual experiences or companies themselves, I’ve noticed that it can be a very complicated process, sometimes revamping a whole philosophy or trying to be all things to all people.

It can include…

  • Building lasting relationships.
  • Listening to concerns.
  • Addressing issues.
  • Helping where we can.
  • Being available.
  • Being human.
  • Guiding repeat purchases.
  • Providing a positive experience.
  • Linking directly to business goals.

Yeah, you really could go on and on. And believe me, all these have sub-headings and partitions as well. But simple and straight forward can work, or at least be a great place to build from. Whether in government, business or non-profit, it doesn’t matter…it’s about that customer and that customer’s feeling about their experience with your business.

T.U.R.N. to the customer. It’s a straight forward way of thinking.
Be Timely, Useful, Relevant and Nearby. Hey, we do love our acronyms…

  • Be Timely – Your customers want a reply, information or even someone to talk to as soon as possible. Regardless of how busy you may be, response time is critical in showing you care about what they want and what they have to say or share. Do you have to have an answer right away? No. But timely also includes just acknowledging the issue or question. There’s an enormous amount of value in a customer feeling listened to.
  • Be Useful – Is your advice/product/service/content applicable to the customer’s situation or resolve a problem? Are you able to help your customer, providing advice and direction Or are you just trying to make that sale? Being useful is one of the most effective ways to build trust and long-term relationships with customers. You were the one that helped them. And they know they can rely on you when they come back again, seeing you as a trusted resource and someone they could recommend to others.
  • Be Relevant – The information you share or the insight you provide when engaging with a customer has to matter to them. Understanding your consumers and the situations that would bring them into contact with you will only better help you to solve their problem. Or, at the very least help you to provide a better customer experience.
  • Be Nearby (OK “accessible” is better, but “nearby” works for the acronym) – Social media and Google are where your customers, past, present and future, are looking for answers their questions or solutions to their problems. Are you there? On social, you need to engage where your customers want to be engaged. Online, make sure your information is as easy to find as possible, and that your contact information is readily available. Don’t hide. Your customers hate that. Or they’ll find your competition.

You can certainly go down the rabbit hole, trying to think of all the ways to please your customers, but the really effective, straight forward strategy is the customer-centric one that works for them.

And all the best ones are simple:

What’s your simple service strategy? Remember, acronyms are cool.

And, remember to take that T.U.R.N….

Russel Lolacher is the Director of Web and Social Media for the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, a professional speaker for large conferences and post-secondary institutions, a communications and PR consultant for small to national organizations and is internationally recognized as an influential customer service expert through his blog The Upsell by the Huffington Post, CallCentre UK and

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