Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Guest Blog: Good Customer Service Is More than Good PR

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my friend and colleague, Patricia Fripp shares a story that demonstrates why everyone in any business can make a difference. Please join Patricia and me June 8 when we discuss how good customer service drives sales. – Shep Hyken

Perhaps you agree that every customer counts and that we must never forget our customers’ perceptions of us. One single negative contact can ruin your reputation in the eyes of not only that one customer but also those of everyone else he or she knows. After all, word of mouth can work both for or against you.

Are you confident that everybody in your organization believes that they play an important role?  Each department depends upon and dovetails into the other to produce quality service or product. Everyone makes a difference. The sales force, the service technicians, the clerical staff, the PR department all work together toward the same goal — keeping the customers satisfied.

A perfect example of how everyone makes a difference occurred when I was in a Nashville hotel attending the Board of Directors meeting for the National Speakers Association. After the meeting, several of us went to the coffee shop to continue our deliberations. Each of us asked for exceptions or additions to the menu items; we wanted separate checks, and, to make things even more confusing, speakers that we are, we also talked to each other the whole time the waitress was patiently taking our orders.

I said, “My dear, all this confusion is going to be worthwhile; these guys are big tippers.”

She said, “I’m not being nice for a tip. It doesn’t matter if you tip or not. If we give you good service, your group will bring its business back here and not to the competition.”

Isn’t that a marvelous attitude from someone on the frontlines? I was so impressed, I wrote a letter to the hotel manager saying, “Congratulations on your customer service training and expectations. Your staff was superb, especially Mary, the waitress at the coffee shop.” I related my conversation with Mary.

I never received a reply. Mary wowed me with her service and her attitude, but the manager’s lack of response almost nullified her customer service savvy. Everyone makes a difference. I think the manager and the waitress should change places for a couple of weeks. She knows more about good PR than he does.

As the late, great radio personality Paul Harvey said when we spoke on the same platform at a convention in Las Vegas, “For a company’s advertising strategy to work, it has to be handled corporately and also individually.”

Mary knew that. Do your associates?

Patricia Fripp is a Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills trainer, and on-line training expert.

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For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to

Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: Man Versus Machine — The Self-Service Customer Service Revolution



  1. Kelechi Okeke says:

    Wow, Mary’s attitude to service is amazing, it is every employer’s dream that staff have such an attitude. Great post Shep.

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