7 Customer Service Rules from Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin


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Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, is known for success and customer service. Branson owns over four hundred companies and is estimated to be worth $4.2 billion dollars. Now in his sixties, Branson’s business ventures range from airlines, telecommunications, formula one, cosmetics and space exploration just to name a few.

What’s not well known is Branson’s keen eye for customer service success.

With billions of dollars in profit and businesses that stretch into nearly every aspect of the human experience, it’s plain to see that Richard Branson knows a thing or two about achieving success.

Branson’s 7 success tips to live by can be an excellent template for an exceptional customer service vision for any organization.

Richard Branson’s 7 Customer Service Success Rules To Live By

1. In Customer Service, Saying “Yes!” is Fun

Branson didn’t achieve the success he has today by saying “no” at opportunities to do new things, be bold in how to approach projects, and meet the needs and wants of customers. He often defies the conventional wisdom, pushes the envelope and decides to say “yes” and try new approaches to how to do business when others would simple say “no”.

Too often we treat our customer interacting teams as gatekeepers, deciders of the yes or the no when it comes to customer needs. Rather we should be helping our people be a concierge to customers, assisting and caring for customer needs.

2. If You Are Going to Dream Up Customer Service, Dream Big!

No matter what the project, Branson’s companies are created around saying “yes” to what other companies don’t. He wins customers by making customer service, value, and experience the focus on his organization. He then sets the bar high, higher than what others are doing or think is possible of achieving. Customer service isn’t just for phone, Internet, or TV companies.

Whatever type of business you’re in, exceptional customer service is an opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd.

3. Having Fun in Customer Service is Fun

As with most successful individual, Branson is constantly asked for “the secret” to his success. His response? There’s no secret. Hard work, smart work, and above all have fun while working. Branson’s been known to say that if you have fun, work hard, that money will eventually come. He’s also shared that when you stop having fun with what you’re doing, it’s time to move on.

Ultimately, we all have a choice. You can endure work, or you can work and have fun while doing it. It’s really up to you do decide. Choose to have fun. Choose to relax. Choose to loosen up and enjoy the moment, it only lasts once.

4. Always Take Risks – Calculated Customer Service Risks

Irresponsible? Reckless? Branson’s been called this…and not a few times. But it’s best to see Branson as visionary at always seeking to push the envelope. One time success can be attributed to luck. Multiple successes come from evaluating risks, then putting all your energy into making your vision happen.

Great success doesn’t come without taking risks. The key is taking the right risks.

5. Live for Each Customer Service Moment

We need goals. We need aspirations. Both inside work and out. Branson says that even dedicating 80 hours a week to a business still allows for a few hours of fun. Don’t forget, people can have fun at work too. Great customer service is making personal connections. Encourage people to have fun, be themselves. Making personal connections requires us to be personal. What better way to connect with customers than to learn about your customers, what they like, what they do, find similarities and build on that.

Some of the best customer service professionals I’ve worked with were never the most experienced or the most knowledgable. But they were the best and personally connecting with customers, each and every time.

6. Always Give Respect to Customer Service

An early lesson Branson learned is that in business, everyone commands respect. Any person could be a potential future customer or partner. The way you treat them could affect your business future. Give people respect and your reputation will thank you.

7. Give Back in Customer Service

Success in business means money. Money is the bottom line. But satisfaction doesn’t come from money. To feel the ultimate satisfaction from the work you do, you’ll need more than money. You’ll need to have a worthwhile, positive, emotional connection with what you do.

Give back, remember that no matter what we achieve, we all received some help along the way.

Imagine a Customer Focused World

In Branson’s book, Screw it, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life and Business, Branson shares life experiences that show that attitude and daring to try when others just accept the status quo is a key to achieving greatness.

What would our lives be like if all customer service teams were centered around being bold, trying new approaches, and connecting with customers in a different way?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


  1. I’ve been a Richard Branson fan for a long time – and for a number of reasons. He’s an amazing business man. He gets how to deliver great service. One of his strategies has been to look for large companies taking advantage (he refers this as them giving the customer the “mickey”) of the customer, and then takes them on, head-to-head, on behalf of the customer. He sets out to compete, make a better product and pass the benefits onto the customer. Thanks for a great article!
    — Shep Hyken, author of “The Amazement Revolution” (http://www.hyken.com)

  2. Thanks Shep! I agree completely.

    One additional thing that I love about Branson’s style is that he’s himself. He doesn’t take on some corporate persona in business. He’s himself and incorporates the rules to success while being himself. It goes to show that you don’t need to be someone or something you’re not. Focus on the customer, put out a great product that people want, produce great value to your customers and you’re on your way.

  3. Good customer service can only come from the people who enjoys being nice to their customers and when it is accompanied by dedication, smart work and talent, it differentiates you from the competitors. And, definitely, Branson is one who has used his good judgment in all situations.
    —– Original Message —–

  4. Great point Maneet. Great service, real service, is genuine. Customers see through fake, and fake service is worse than no service at all. Customers want real, customers want to connect, customer want to feel cared for. I’m a big advocate of basing service teams on people who genuinely want to make a difference and have a passion for service.

    I can teach the technology. I can train on the business processes. But creating passion for service? Hard to do.

  5. I think that Branson’s approach is to take the dry, corporate-ness out of the process of creating a customer experience. Sure, you have to run a business, but when it comes to connecting with people, whether employees or customers, it’s about making a personal connection.

  6. I’m a customer of Virgin (several of the companies, actually), I’ve read those rules and I found them very irritating … or, at least, I find the insinuation that they’re followed well by the Branson companies to be far from the truth.

    VirginMedia, for example, regularly falls way below average for Internet operators in the UK (and my experience with them has been energy-sapping and utterly miserable).

    VirginMoney, another example, has failed to display to me any characteristics of a customer service department that follows rules like the ones above.

    Branson is a genius at bluster and hype – and his companies make a lot of money – but they absolutely fail to deliver good customer service.

  7. Great tips. Richard Branson loves his work. Richard loves to take higher risks than others and enjoy the challenge to setup the rules for his success. A great inspiration to see what get be achieved when you love your work.

    As group of founders that love customer service, we invented new technology for customer service growing into the cloud. We convert customer support activity into a new source of revenue while decreasing their cost. Visit us at http://www.nanorep.com

  8. Business these days is all about making yours customers happy. If your customers are happy, you can be sure that they’ll recommend others i.e. friends or neighbors your business. So ! enhanced sales and rise in revenues.


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