8 Simple Steps to a Better Customer Service Experience


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Here is How We Earned a Net Promoter Score of 85+ And Kept It Going for Four Years. 8 Simple Steps.

The finance people won’t like these because they cost more. Most finance people can’t quantify what brand equity is all about and should’t be engaged in customer service.

We answer all calls by the 3rd ring. OUCH! says the bean counter. Keep the customers on hold for a minute or two. We turned off all the fancy features on our state of the art managed IP VOIP phone system. The only high tech we employ is that which enhances the high touch.

Each of our calls are answered by a highly trained Product Specialist. OUCH! says the bean counter … “training is costly”. I say, not if your turnover is low.

She does whatever she feels makes the most sense to treat the customer with respect and dignity. We have been purposeful about not writing procedures and policies. We treat our customers as we would like to be treated. OUCH! says the bean counter – “they could give away the store”. Not if you hire good people and truly delegate. Don’t chain them to the computer and a script like most credit card company call centers I’ve been to do.

We sell home medical supplies and 90% of our calls are from women. So, our call center is staffed by women who are 55+ and have been or are currently caregivers themselves. Our name? The CareGiver Partnership. OUCH! says HR, “that’s not practicing diversity.” No, its giving your customer what they want. In our case our customers (many whom are female caregivers) told us they strongly preferred to speak to a woman who is knows her business.

All our Product Specialists work in large, high profile work stations to minimize distracting background noise. Quite a few of our customers are hard of hearing. OUCH! says the bean counter. “I could get 2 people in the same space and really cut overhead costs. Pack them in like rats”. Sure, and all your customers hear are other conversations and phones ringing — very annoying and distracting. What does that say about your brand?

We write down all orders on paper and enter them into our state of the art ERP system after the call. This allows us to focus on the customer, not the computer. OUCH! says the finance person — “that results in double entry and room for transposition and errors”. Sure does, but it keeps the conversation focused and personal — and our customers appreciate it.

Use use returning customers names when they call.

We take whatever time necessary to meet the customers needs. OUCH! says the bean counter. “I need to keep calls to an average of 2:30, so rush them off if they linger or don’t buy”.

Our Net Promoter Score of 85+ is worth its weight in gold and has helped drive our brand equity and no cost word of mouth.

Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson, former global Sector President at Kimberly-Clark Corporation spent 30 years in consumer products, started up two companies, one manufacturing underground coal mining equipment (Wilson Manufacturing Company, Inc.) and in 2004, The Caregiver Partnership, a national direct to consumer retailer of home medical supplies to the more than 66 million caregivers in the U.S. He is also co-author of Negotiate Anything!, a 30-year longitudinal study of customer service in the U.S., the first of its kind.


  1. Tom,

    I’m glad for your increases in NPS and hopefully that translates into better experience for customers, service providers and the bottom line. And at the same time I’m a bit concerned about the lack of alignment in the company you describe — finance and customer service are depicted as polarized functions. I know you want respect from them toward customer service function and it’s objectives, but referring to them as bean counters (even if they refer to themselves that way) also demonstrates a lack of respect for what they have been charged to do within the firm.

    Keeping your scores at this level for 4 years is an accomplishment to be sure. How have you also been able to foster a more customer centric culture across the functions of the business at the same time?


  2. Marc,

    Thanks for your comments.

    A high NPS doesn’t result in good customer service… providing good customer service results in a high net promoter score. Do you know that most financial institutions, cell phone companies and cable providers actually have negative NPS’s.

    I purposely used the term bean counters to describe anyone in an organization who worries more about the ‘cost’ of customer service than the equity to be gained by developing a highly differentiated level of customer service. Anyone can cut costs, creating sustainable, differentiated service is hard and has been proven time to result in stronger growth and higher margins.

    We are a small organization, but at the center of everything we do is providing Personalized Attention service to our customers.

    Thank you again for your comments.


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