5 Ways To Be Your Customer’s Hero


Share on LinkedIn

customerherobookI recently had the opportunity to read the brand new customer service and experience book, Be Your Customer’s Hero, by Adam Toporek.  Having reviewed many customer service books on this blog, one begins to wonder if there is anything new to learn about customer service.

As I dove into the book it became apparent that this is a book chock-full of everything one needs to know in order to deliver AWESOME, or as Adam calls it, Hero-Class customer service.  I want to take a few moments to share some of my favorite lessons from the book.

Winning is not a customer service goal

Adam talks about the difference between a transactional view of customers where we try to extract as much value and profit from the customer and a relational view where we focus on a lasting relationship with the customer.  In the transactional view, the focus is on winning each interaction.  He goes on to say of a relational approach:

Your goal is to create a healthy, profitable long-term relationship with customers that provides value to both parties.  The only winning that works in customer service is win-win.

Put on your game face

It’s so easy to bring the difficult circumstances of life to work.  It’s almost inevitable depending on how difficult those circumstances are.  Toporek reminds us of the importance of putting on our game faces when we show up to work.  He talks about the way employees at Disneyland are called cast members.  When they are on the clock, they are a part of a huge production.  There is no room for them to be any less than professional.

Become the customer’s personal detective

I work with some fantastic detectives and this is a great reminder that it is our goal to dig, search and investigate any way possible to solve of customer’s problem.  Sometimes the solution will be creative and not quite look exactly like what the customer specifically described.  This will make some customers happy and others not so happy.  This quote from Adam is essential:

Remember, a Hero-Class rep never comes back empty-handed, even if the only thing she brings back to the customer is an explanation of how hard she tried.

The art of the pivot

The pivot is all about taking a situation where you would normally have to say no to a customer and shifting the conversation to what you can do for the customer.  It is so easy to get stuck on what we can’t do and dig our heels in, but that never ends well.  This is a brilliant technique that I had never heard of before.  It should be a staple in your customer service training.

Let upset customers punch themselves out

This was by far the most entertaining part of the book.  The concept is simple.  When a customer calls to vent about a problem, let them!  They can go off for a while but they will eventually get tired and leave space for you to speak and work toward a solution.  So many times I’ve chosen to go toe to toe with a customer, causing the issue to escalate, when I should have just let them go off for a while.  Still, the thought of customers punching themselves out cracks me up!

There are dozens more extremely valuable customer service tips packed into this book.  I’ll let you discover the rest for yourself.  I highly recommend that anyone who is intent on delivering awesome customer service, pick up a copy of Be Your Customer’s Hero!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


  1. Thank you recommending this book, Jeremy. I remember an employee of mine who used to work as a CSR for a satellite company. She told me that some of her customers just needed someone who will listen to their problems. If you know how to listen, escalation issues can be easily avoided. On one occasion, a customer refused to pay her bill. But after several minutes of digging, it was actually because she was having financial issues. She eventually struck an agreement and felt satisfied. Based on her stories and from your examples above, being your ‘customer’s hero’ is understanding their needs and providing a solution.

  2. You’re spot on, Al and thanks for the comment! Of course, there will always be those customers that abuse the front line agent and treat a supervisor with respect because the believe they have power to do something. But most times, hearing the customer out will ultimately end in a resolution.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here